I have a thing for cities by the water with mountains in the background. Reykjavik was a perfect interlude between our countryside adventures. It was a calm 4 degrees Celsius but it felt warm compared to some of the spots we had been visiting in the days before! It was good to spend a whole day on our feet, doing what we love to do – urban exploring. This charming city is small enough to see in a day and we adored our mix of cafes, street art, cultural buildings, expensive and evolving residential areas. It all felt so cosy and intimate, a sometimes random tapestry of homes interwoven among the backyards, shared fences, bare trees, hedges, propped up bikes and roaming cats. I think the cats were attracted to our bag of goodies from a deli where a lovely lady gave us her time and many samples to expand our tastebuds. On the shaded sides of the streets the ice made for some slippery parts – we noted that runners went past on the sunny side. This kind of forethought is so foreign for us Australians!
This day in the city was precious. (Will share the cafes we visited in another post)
That evening we watched the stunning sunset over the city from our hotel before rugging up for a Northern Lights tour. With the cloudy weather the first few days we were yet to see them and we wanted to increase our chances. Some months before our trip I had a rather momentous letting go when I decided that I would not do night photography of the Lights. I knew that the environment would be challenging for me, so I had decided I would just relax beside my husband who was excited to capture them. On my auntie and uncle’s farm before the trip I had sat on the ground hugging my dog while he practised. Even after a long time in the darkness I could only count 25 stars, while my husband could not even begin to count the huge number he saw. From this I knew there was a chance I might not see the Northern Lights, but damn I’m grateful for those 25 stars. I decided I would live the Northern Lights through his photos and words and my other senses.
It was a bitterly cold and windy night up on that mountain. I held the tripod steady and tried to stop my teeth from chattering. The tour guides handed out hot chocolates and our guide soon learnt that I needed a little extra assistance and was very kind. I listened to the movements and laughter of other tourists weaving among our convey of parked 4WD jeeps. For me, it was pitch black and I found it amazing that everyone could run so freely while my body was very tense and still. I couldn’t see my hand waving in front of my face. How could they see? Where was the edge of the mountain? Wow, I really am that legally blind. My husband showed me a photo in the back of the camera to give me an idea of our surroundings. I learnt then that we were on a large flat mountain top, not standing on the edge of a cliff like the wind made me feel! Sometimes, in my photography and love for the small things, I can almost forget how little I see physically. It was a big reminder up there on that mountain and was quite a hard emotional experience for me. My husband saw the Northern Lights, low intensity but there all the same. I was by his side. He lovingly comforted me as I choked back tears.
My husband’s long-held dream came true. And that was gift enough for me.