Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Invasion of the gnomes


Depending on your tastes, this might be called either awful or awesome:
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The word kitsch comes to mind:
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As does tacky:
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Don't get me wrong, I love this kind of stuff, but that doesn't mean I necessarily admire it. It just appeals to my sense of humour.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Letting nature do the cleaning


Someone has hung a number of reindeer antlers under this small jetty in order to let the sea creatures clean them:
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Road sign


It's good to be able to know in which direction you should start walking to get to Moscow...
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mjóeyri við Eskifjörð


This is where I sought shelter on a rainy night when I didn't fancy pitching my tent in the rain:
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I stayed in a small side-building of the main house, and had a 12 person dormitory all to myself. Very cosy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Helgustaðanáman


When you get to Eskifjörður, if you drive through the town and along the gravel road that leads up the coast, you will come to a signboard with some information about the Helgustaðir mine. Drive only a little further, and you will see this:
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Follow the rubble up the mountainside for a short while, and you will come to the mine.

For about 200 years the mine yielded large quantities of calcite crystals that came to be known as "Iceland spar".
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The mine is now protected, and it is forbidden to remove crystals from it, but there are still plenty of them around:
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Most are not clear enough to show the crystal's ability to refract light.

A short history of the mine in English.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Petra's garden


There are not only rocks in Petra's garden, but also flowers and all sorts of garden decorations and sculptures. While this one may be rather tacky looking, you must admire the artist for his or her ingenuity:
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Petra's rock collection


Petra Sveinsdóttir has been collecting rocks and minerals for more than sixty years, most of them in the neighbourhood of her home town, Stöðvarfjörður. Her house and garden has been turned into a museum dedicated to her collection:
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A wooden statue of Petra in the garden:
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A piece of volcanic glass in the garden:
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For a modest fee you can enter the house and garden and explore her collection, which is thought to be one of largest privately owned rock and mineral collections in the world. The collection is the single most popular tourist destination in the east fjords.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Still water


You will not often see the sea so still in Iceland.
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Actually this is an enclosed fjord or lagoon, and on the other side of the narrow isthmus that separates it from the ocean, the sea was quite rough. Even so, the fjord's waters would usually be ruffled by the wind, but on that day, there was no wind, a rare occurrence in Iceland.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Is that a hitch-hiker?


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No, just a piece of stencil graffiti. Pretty cool to see such sophisticated graffiti out in the middle of the countryside.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Þórbergssetur

Þórbergur Þórðarson was one of Iceland's best loved authors. He wrote mostly biographies, memoirs, autobiographical novels, essays and poetry.
He grew up on the farm Hali in Suðursveit, where there is a museum dedicated to him. This is the museum building, painted to look like a bookcase:

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jökulsárlón

Here are some photos from the third and most famous glacier lagoon I visited on my journey:


You really need sunshine to see all the glorious colour variations in the ice, but it was unfortunately overcast that day. Still, you could see icebergs of blue, white, silver and black drifting slowly in the lake:
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The bridge was being repaired - you can see the cage hanging under it where the bridge repair crew were working:
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A rubber dinghy that is presumably used to ferry tourists on the lake:
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Svartifoss


Svartifoss is situated in the Skaftafell national park. I had planned to go on a hike up to Svínafellsjökull, one of the glaciers that are part of the park, but the weather was rainy and there was cloud cover up there, so I took the shorter hike up to Svartifoss instead.
There are good paths in the park, well maintained and marked. The one I took begins at a farm that is inside the park boundaries and winds through a verdant wooded area. Suddenly you see something black in the distance, and as you come closer, you see how a river has carried away rock and soil to reveal a wall of basalt columns. In the center of the rock wall is this waterfall:

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The name Svartifoss means "the black waterfall", from the black appearance of the wet rock walls.
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