3 Apr 2013

Iceland Highlights 2013 - Day 2: Reykjavik

I recently returned from my fifth visit to Iceland. I had planned to write a daily blog as I went along, but what with all the early mornings hoping for decent sunrises (got a couple) and late nights hoping for northern lights (barely a glimpse) as well as days full of driving and photography, I really didn't have the time or energy.

So I'm putting together a collection of my favourite places and photographs from my nine-day trip. I did a similar trip last year, but took in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west as well. This year I decided to concentrate on the southern coast, starting in Reykjavik and going as far east as Jökulsárlón, which allowed me more time in Jökulsárlón and Vik, and a lot less driving.

Reykjavik is a wonderful little city, full of amazing architecture and sculptures. My favourite sculpture, and probably the best known is the Sólfar, or Sun Voyager, by Jón Gunnar Árnason. I stayed very close by which was convenient for nipping down there to capture it under different lighting conditions. I think it looked the best during the sunrise of my first morning there, although it seems to look good in any light.

I spent the morning having a little wander around the chilly town, stopping for some porridge and fantastic coffee in Kaffismidjan (reputedly the best coffee in Iceland, and comes personally recommended), taking in the mighty Hallgrimskírkja and wandering around the atria in awe at the recently-built Harpa. I didn't realise that you can actually go into the concert hall too - will have to take that it on my next visit.

I was a little rushed as I'd arranged to meet my friend JP and join him for a walk along the coast with his pack of cocker spaniels and labradors. He lives near another amazing sculpture-park out on Grafarvogur, with wonderful views across to the Snaefellsjökull mountain on a clear day.

After a spot of lunch and a quick trip to a Bonus supermarket to stock up on provisions for the week it was back to the apartment, Sólfar for sunset (it had clouded over by this point) and then manicly checking the aurora and weather forecast for northern lights. I went out for a rather disappointing noodle dish in a fast-food joint (wasn't feeling well so the thought of chicken noodle soup appealed, sadly it didn't quite live up to expectations!). Later on I popped down to the harbour when the aurora forecast was "active", but only got a glimpse through pretty dense cloud-cover. As it happens, they were barely perceptible to the naked eye, but with an 8-second exposure I could actually see something!

The ambient light from the city didn't help, but I didn't see any point in getting into the car and driving out to somewhere dark if all I was going to see was cloud anyway (and it was getting cloudier - not to mention colder - by the minute). Besides, I had plenty of further opportunities to see those elusive lights (or so I thought!).


  1. Your pic of the Sólfar Sun Voyager Viking ship sculpture is one of the best I have seen ; this Sunrise in winter version is beautiful

    1. It was worth getting up early for, clearly! Thanks JP!

  2. I love your photos