Saturday, September 23, 2006


Iceland is like no other place I have ever been to. From the moment I got off the plane I realised that this place on the edge of the world was a kind of 'lost world', a hyperborean landscape where the normal conditions of light, shadow, sky and earth are subtly transmuted. Although the island is largely a product of countless volcanic eruptions and large tracts are solidified lava fields, the place feels surprisingly light and radiant. The lava is covered by a thin layer of green moss that transforms the dark and amorphous rock into something alive and luminous. This is enhanced by the ethereal quality of the sunlight passing through the very thin atmosphere.

A day's exploring was not enough, and I could easily have spent weeks travelling the island contemplating its mysterious beauty. It was a deeply refreshing experience to feel so far away from Europe's big polluted cities and so close to nature, albeit a side of nature that I have never experienced before.

The near total absence of trees, due to the predominance of lava fields, combined with the many rivers, waterfalls, mountains glaciers and volcanoes makes for the feeling of being on a different planet, or perhaps Tolken's 'Middle Earth' (but without the orcs!)

In places the red earth made it feel like I was on Mars! I was not surprised to hear the the Apollo astronauts actually used a remote part of Iceland to train for the lunar landing.

The famous Gulfoss waterfall is truly astounding, with a large river crashing through a series of rapids and then literally disappearing into a deep crevice. The amazing thing is that as one stands beside this incredible marvel of nature, there are no touristic, comercial shops or kiosks peddling souveniers or anything to distract from the full presence of the falls. There weren't even any real safety barriers or warning signs beside the rushing water and deep crevice. This was a common feature of all the beautiful places we visited, suggesting a deep respect on behalf of the Icelandic people for their natural environment.


Blogger Saffa said...

Mashallah Omar YOur pictures are truly stunning!!!!!!

Looks like an amazing place!!

Keep them coming!


8:24 pm  
Blogger Tanya said...

Your photography evokes such a romantic and incredible landscape - I'm inspired to travel to places I ordinarilly wouldn't think to travel to. It's great to keep in touch and see what you're up to in this creative forum.

Take care and have fun!


3:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right about no touristic stuff. I had to pee, and there were no public toilets, and so I peed directly into the waterfall, from a small shelf below the top of the falls. Immediately, the majority of the dozen or so men at the falls - Americans, Brits, Germans, Swedes - scrambled to the shelf and joined in. Natural and respectful and communal and fun.

2:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Blog!

4:44 pm  
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5:35 pm  

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