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Iceland: From The Eyes of the Traveler

The potent mixture of salty air and million-year-old volcanic ash hits like a train within seconds of getting off the airliner. Observing the surrounding area, one finds the small airport rather quaint and inviting. No bustling crowds, no distracting PA’s, just a few handfuls of pedestrians making their way home from a trip abroad.

         Slightly above the designated gate stand the tips of misty mountains, slowly fading in and out of view with the weather patterns this moonscape has to offer. These weather patterns play into the slightly moisture-filled air, with rain coming in 20-minute stints accompanied by dark clouds rolling off the towering plateaus south towards the northern Atlantic Ocean.

         In the moments where weather stays friendly and the misty mountains lose their mist, one finds that countless waterfalls staple them like an overdue book report. These waterfalls are jagged, disorganized, rushed. Whichever god you follow undoubtedly procrastinated their creation.

         After the awe settles in, you make your way towards the designated gate. The first steps on the rather unworn asphalt breath adventure. The desolate land separated from you by the empty terminal is some of the most beautiful land home to planet earth. Desolate in man, unending in natural wonder and sheer magnitude.

         After exiting the terminal, one is greeted by a rather elderly city. The roads are old but devoid of cracks. The buildings stand just tall enough to symbolize a human presence without being ignorant enough to challenge nature’s dominance in this land. The city smells of grass, sheep and ocean, again symbolizing mankind’s insignificant impact on one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.

         Immediately after leaving the city, there is no imprint of mankind’s footprint besides an 800-mile, two-lane highway that eventually returns right back to wherever you started.

         Driving along this highway, one is greeted by countless fjords, waterfalls, glaciers, volcanic algae fields, black sand beaches, crippling valleys and monstrous cliffs. The highway bends just to the right of a several-hundred-mile cliffside that extends across the southern coast of the country.

         At every curve, the driver is greeted by another unbelievably distinct cliffside, often accompanied by a waterfall. To his right stands a never-ending coastline, always accompanied by black sand beaches.

         Every hour or so, the driver finds another glacier with size enough to carve a mountain range bordering its sides. These glaciers often span several square miles, sometimes upwards of 10.

         No matter the size, the impact is the same. When standing upon a massive glacier, with a towering mountain range to your back, a lasting algae field born on volcanic rock just in front and the Atlantic Coast just miles beyond that, the land truly showcases its undying beauty.


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