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reykjavik *iceland*

16 March 2014

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.

10 Responses
  1. March 17, 2014

    Ah such a beautiful post. Your photos are amazing, they really make my heart happy. Do you know what the story is behind the knitting on the tree?
    I am amazed at your ability to challenge yourself and move forward with your limitations. I admire your strength and courage. It has long been a dream of my husband to see the Northern Lights too. I hope it is a dream achieved someday.

  2. March 17, 2014

    I’m damned happy you can see those 25 stars too! It’s wonderfully indicative of your positivity that statement, but I like that you also acknowledge the sadness of not seeing the Northern Lights…I learn a lot from you Lucent. Thank you.

    Do you think Banksy visits Reykjavik?

  3. March 17, 2014

    Such beautiful sentiments. How wonderful you are to be happy enough that your husband got see them. I’d love to see his photos. Someone I know recently went to Iceland & he mentioned that it was the lowest activity in 100 years so he didn’t get to see anything himself.

    Clare x

  4. March 17, 2014

    These are beautiful, beautiful photos of your rambles in the city. Your description of your night on the mountain, seeing twenty-five stars made me cry too, for the joy you had in being there with your husband and for the sadness of being in and feeling the darkness. I admire your courage in being there on that mountain and in sharing the experience so openly here. Hugs!

  5. Megan permalink
    March 17, 2014

    Lucent your photos are absolutely stunning! You have captured that pure, crisp , cold air and the beautiful but spare landscape and charming houses – and it’s always good to see some local furry friends :)
    Your bravery and generosity in joining the expedition to see the Northern Lights takes my breath away. You may not have seen the lights but you share a love that surpasses all other experiences.

  6. March 18, 2014

    Iceland’s capital city feels more look a small town. I enjoyed seeing your urban exploring. It must have been terrifying standing there being unable to see anything. You are so brave sharing with us your disappointment and also the joy for your husband. Sarah x

  7. March 19, 2014

    What incredible pictures! I have read a lot of Arnaldur Indridason books, crime novels taking place in Reyjavik, it is quite nice to see what the city actually looks like from your perspective :)

  8. March 19, 2014

    The soft, clear colours in your photos are just stunning Lucent. You describe a special moment between you and your husband. The Northern Lights must be incredible.

  9. March 21, 2014

    This is just beautiful Lucent, the words and the photos. What a precious moment, bittersweet. It’s a long held dream of mine to see the Northern Lights too, and my gosh little towns on the water edge hemmed in by mountains are also my fav (I studied in Aberystwyth in Wales, which is so similar!). I know who I’ll be contacting for the lo-down on an Iceland holiday next year ;)

  10. April 6, 2014

    I’ve kind of gone backwards but what a beautiful set of photos Lucent. It looks like you had a wonderful trip. And how quaint does Reykjavik look?! I admire ability to stay positive and enjoy the moments you live in regardless of what you can physically see. You do explain a very beautiful and intimate moment with your husband in this post and it is a good reminder to us all that sharing moments and experiences, and supporting our loved ones is hugely important. Hugs and kisses.

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