I spent my first three weeks in Iceland (in August) up in the beautiful Ísafjörður for an Icelandic language course. One weekend while I was there, several friends from the course and I rented a car to drive around the western half of the Westfjords. We left at 10am and didn’t return until almost midnight. We started with a visit to Dynjandi, the largest of a stunning series of waterfalls:
We stopped at a heitur potter (a geothermal hot spring) overlooking a fjord, and went for a swim.
We drove winding roads around gorgeous fjords, stopping in Bíldudalur (population 166) for fish and chips on our way to Látrabjarg. Látrabjarg is the westernmost point in Iceland and, depending on whether or not you count some islands off Portugal, the westernmost point in Europe. In the summer, it’s where you can see a large puffin population nesting among wildflowers growing inexplicably along the edge of breathtaking cliffs.
We walked along the cliffs till the edge tilted upwards like the rim of a bowl, laid down at the edge, stared down at the birds circling, watched the waves crashing, wiped the cold rain from our eyes so we could better see the cold Atlantic, and talked about where in the world we could go next. It was overcast and wet, but the sun managed to push through the cloud cover as it set, flickering gold on the water. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
At the end of the day, we drove back to Ísafjörður. Everyone was quiet and those in the backseat were nodding off to sleep. The high beams bounced off the little stakes on the side of the road for several kilometers ahead, outlining the curves of the road with what looked like little lanterns, uninterrupted except for the occasional green eyes of a sheep standing by the road. As we were making our way around a large fjord, the clouds shifted, and a full moon beam shone down on the deep, cold blue.