What would a human explorer feel when setting foot on an alien world, where everything looks and feels different from everything in his memory? The only reference I have is a recent trip on a remote island up north, in the middle of the ocean, where fire meets ice and the land is still being born.
Iceland is so different from Patagonia (see my other article: here) and yet they have so many things in common. You don’t have the trees (at all), and you don’t have the 3000m+ prominent peaks, and you don’t have the varied fauna, but you have the glaciers, you have the rivers, you have the colorful lichens, and most of all.. you have the wind…
I saw a t-shirt in the airport shops and it said: “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait 5 minutes.” This permanent change is the thing that I most vividly remember looking back. This and the incredible diversity of the landscape from one place to another. You drive inland and you see nothing but a barren land around you and then you get to wildly colored hills and mountains and glaciers and lava fields, some black as night, others vividly colored in green, with spots of orange or red. And then you have so many types of rocks, from different eruptions, looking totally bizarre. And if you get to a place that seems devoid of life, just look at your feet and you’ll find a staggering variety of little plants, living among pebbles. Crazy place, you could shoot forever here.
Iceland will probably remain the closest thing to visiting another world that I will ever experience. The Land of Fire and Ice (also of wind, rain, rainbows and rocks… oh, and sheep too) still has a lot to offer and I’ll be back one day.
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