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Old 19th July 2015, 20:43   #106
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Default Day 7 #6 : Lux glacias

The sky grows darker, the Aurora dies down, and the moon hides behind a cloud. But its not the end. Its the lull before the storm.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_01020_lrx2.jpg

And what a storm it is. Green curtains fall from the sky, bathing everything in the green glow
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_01017_lrx2.jpg

The still waters reflect the light. I guess, I can safely say that Jokusarlon lagoon is probably one of the best places to watch an auroral display in the world!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7_01022_lrx2.jpg

This is ICELAND!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a701022x2.jpg

With fire down below, and fire high above
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a701026x2.jpg

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a701028x2.jpg

Like no other. No wonder, in the frigid cold, there are quite a few photographers camped, ready to shoot!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a701030x2.jpg

Slowly and slowly it starts winding down. But, then... what are powerful flashlights for?
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01038_dxox2.jpg

We could have spent the entire night here. But its almost 11pm. Our main destination for tonight is about 3 hours away, and we want to have atleast a couple of hours before the astronomical twilight. Yes, a volcano is waiting. far way, in the highlands, under millions of tonnes of ice, the fire is waiting. We don't know how far we will go, which road we will take. For all I have are GPS coordinates. They will be our destination. Now, its time for the road, before the final parting shot of course!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a701040x2.jpg
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Old 20th July 2015, 13:30   #107
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Those shots just don't look like to be from our planet - they seem to be from another one. Splendid photography.
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Old 20th July 2015, 14:10   #108
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Simply wow! Very tempted to make the trip now.
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Old 22nd September 2015, 22:48   #109
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Default Day 8 #1: A volcano called Bardarbunga

In April 2010 Eyjafjallajokull sneezed and Europe caught a cold. Well for something hot and molten "cold" is not the right word, but you get the picture. Well it was a tiny volcano. And it brought air traffic over Europe to a standstill.

And now, a similar event was happening. Well not happening, about to happen, or so the scientists though. The troublemaker was Bardarbunga. A volcanic reservoir so massive that if it erupts that it will cause an event like the Laki eruption in 1780s.

At that time about 25% of the population died and over 80% of the sheep also died due to flourosis. About 8 million tonnes of Hydrogen Sulfide was released in that eruption.

It caused famines in Europe and altered rainfall patterns in Asia/Africa. Even North America got an unusually long winter.

So, the scientists were worried. Bardarbunga was rumbling and leaking, creating the massive lava field of Holahorun. Lava fissure eruptions are pretty tame events as compared to violent eruptions, but still, they are quite spectacular.

And this is what we were going to witness tonight. So, what's the plan? Drive to the viewpoint. This looks very simple on paper.

But really, it wasn't. A large part of the planning was to "find the viewpoint".
Due to risk of poisoning, the area had been cordoned off and all entry was banned. So we had to find a "legal" location from where the volcano will be visible. After over a month of research, and a lot of help from locals, we actually got a set of GPS coordinates.

And now, we were going to drive there. These coordinates were on a proper road and not an F road(small mercies), and frankly speaking I was expecting atleast some traffic.

But for hours we drove from Jokusarlon, and did not encounter a single living thing barring a few horses.

Iceland is very sparsely populated, but we never expected this level of isolation. Even in remote ladakh, you pass more vehicles.

Over four hours we drove. I worried if we had overstayed at Jokusarlon, after all 4:30am Astronomical twilight will break, and so "goodbye Aurora".

Thankfully, it was around 3:30am we reached the coordinates. And there was no volcano visible. Only an orange glow on the horizon.

And so the hunt began. We drove around, going up hills, and driving left, driving right on every dirt road we could find. And everywhere, we hit the barrier saying "Warning/Closed/No entry".

But finally, we saw a short 100 meter diversion towards a viewpoint on the main road itself. As we drove the track rose, and there it was. The lava fields of Holaharun. Burning like the sun.

This is the first time either of us had seen a volcano, and we just stood and stared. The camera was forgotten. Heck everything was forgotten. This was a sight to behold.

Right in front of us burned the fires of mordor.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01042_dxo1x2.jpg

In the skies the Aurora shone bright. It was the show of a lifetime, and we had the front seat.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01048_dxo1x2.jpg

It came in waves, curtains falling from the sky. On the ground the fissure hissed spewing out hot lava.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01052_dxo1x2.jpg

By 4am the Aurora also peaked, and everything, including our duster was bathed in green
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01057_dxo1x2.jpg

We spend an hour here, three quarters of which were spent napping. Come to think of it, we now had been awake for 20 hours!

Time to head north I guess. To our next destination!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01515_dxo1x2.jpg

We bid goodbye, and started our long drive north. Akyureri was 346kms, and all we could think of now, was a warm warm bed.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 19:53   #110
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

And he is back..

Now that was a scene to behold. Arctic lights and an active volcano at the same time. Amazing Tanveer.
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Old 24th March 2016, 19:02   #111
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Default Day 8 #2 : A new dawn

Its almost 5am as we bid goodbye to bardarbunga. Fire in the skies, fire on the ground, and we had the front row. And guess what, for all these hours we had been here, there were no other visitors. Iceland is a very popular destination, but few venture away from the big name attractions. Majority of the population actually just lives in Reykjavik.

Right now we were somewhere in the east, and as we started our journey northwards, it was still the lonely road.

And then came a fork. A promise of 60kms saved. Only problem. F road. Sunrise was still some time away, and doing an unknown F road in the darkness would be risky. But there were no signs saying "Impassable" and we decided to proceed. Barely a km later, a deep snow stretch challenged us. Rather than get stuck in the middle of nowhere, we decided to backtrack and take the normal route.

As dawn broke, it revealed the elephant in the room.
Sleep.

We had been awake for 24 hours now. On the lonely icelandic roads, we had driven all the way from Vik, done shooting at Jokulsarlon, seen the volcano and now heading towards the other side of the country. Plus side? Well no hotel bill for tonight. Downside? No sleep.

With Akureyri still being hundreds of kms away we decided to do the sensible thing. Find a safe place to park and conk off. Sleep did not take a long time to come and soon, it was la la land.

However, in Iceland, you cannot stay in la la land for long. Esp in the countryside. Because Iceland is Ba Ba land. Black sheep, white sheep brown sheep. Barely an hour later the cacophony of foreign language baba woke us up from our slumber.

I would have communicated with them, but then the sheep speak iceland, and we do not. However one thing they communicated very well, that they shall not let us sleep.

But then, a power nap can be refreshing, and with the sun out, we decided not to miss out the gorgeous scenery. After all, we had a nice warm cottage waiting near Akureyri, and we should be there by early afternoon.

In the light of the rising sun, the entire landscape looked ethreal.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01516_dxox2.jpg

The morning glow
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01517_dxox2.jpg


The young landscape, forged of fire and ice
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01519_dxox2.jpg

Towards south lay bardarbunga.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01520_dxox2.jpg


Our destination lay towards Northwest, with the smooth black tar of the ring road for company
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01521_dxox2.jpg


Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01522_dxo_1x2.jpg


We took lot of stops and detours
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01524_dxox2.jpg

Progress was slow but the distance, not so much.
Akureyri afternoon was still doable. Till we saw the signboard rushing by.

It said “Dettifoss” and pointed towards the right.
I hit the brakes and we wondered. Did we really need to sleep by afternoon?
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Old 24th March 2016, 19:07   #112
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Cool. You are back.
Seems like you too got busy somewhere like me

Thanks for the update.
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Old 24th March 2016, 19:34   #113
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

tsk1979, going through this T-log for the first time. Just spellbound by the pictures.
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Old 25th March 2016, 09:50   #114
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Ah finally, tsk saar is back with a bang.

Dettifoss, Husavik, Myvatn, Isafjordur, Snaesfellsnes...I'm sure a lot of these are going to come.
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Old 27th March 2016, 19:31   #115
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Default Day 8 #3 : A waterfall called Dettifoss

Dettifoss is considered the most powerful waterfall in Europe. With a flow rate of almost two hundred cubic meters a second, I do not have much doubt that it is.

There are two approaches to Dettifoss. The eastern and western. The eastern approach road leads to a viewpoint with better views. Western road, not so much. Due to the eruption, western road was closed. However I had no idea about all this at all.

I just turned right, and it turned out to be the Eastern approach road. Barely a kilometer in, the road turned into an ice road.

Fortunately with the AWD and studded tires(we had lost quite a few by now), there was no issue, but barely halfway in we found our way blocked.

Almost one foot deep snow covered the road. However that was not the problem. The real problem was the thing parked bang in the middle.

A two wheel drive hatchback. The genius behind the wheel had seen the 40 meter long patch, and gunned for it, and barely 20 in, she had just dug in.

We parked behind at a safe distance and walked toward them. The air was ripe with the fresh flavor of winter, the subtle hint of sulfur, the morning aroma of autumn grass and….. Clutch. Crisp, ready to eat, oil flavored clutch.

The couple inside(from the land of that big iron tower thingy in a city where people go to procreate), looked at us sheepishly, and said help.

With no tow ropes I could do nothing, so I asked them to call emergency rescue services. But then were not willing too much.

So I just offered to help. Engaged reverse and the clutch had bite. Switched off the traction control and just gunned back. We could go back 3-4 meters, but that’s about it.

Another rental came by, a jimny this time, and they also did not have a rope. But as they all started to chat in French, I figured they will figure something out. Those few meters of reversing meant now there was a fighting chance to get through.

With 4WD on lock, I gunned it with the duster, and with little drama, we were clear.
Hurray. We were going to Dettifoss!

But before that, lets see the Ice road
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01525_dxox2.jpg

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc01526_dxox2.jpg

The cool frigid air definitely pushed back sleep, and whatever was left was scared away by large quantities of Coke Zero. Yes, in Iceland we discovered something called coke zero and wondered why not in India. But now, that complaint is no longer valid.

That said, you are totally not interested in coke inspired burps, we will continue with Dettifoss,
We parked at the lot, and there was a rather large hilux parked there, owned by rescue services. We informed them about the beached pug, and headed down the slippery steps. Snowfall and sleet had rendered it pretty dangerous.

But then, what’s beauty without a little danger?

This is the view from the top
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01527_dxox2.jpg

But up close and personal… You feel the power.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01528_dxox2.jpg

Unlike Gulfoss down south, there is hardly anybody here.
When you have such a powerful waterfall, the ND filter is a must have.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01532x2.jpg

A wider view
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-a7dsc01535x2.jpg

We loitered around for some time more, and the time now was past 11am. The time we were supposed to be at our cottage and enjoy a nice well deserved nap.

Well what the heck, lets explore a nearby canyon too!
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Old 27th March 2016, 19:32   #116
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Wow, those waterfalls are mighty big. We can feel the pounding and rushing of the waters in the pictures.
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:48   #117
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Wow, those waterfalls are mighty big. We can feel the pounding and rushing of the waters in the pictures.
Yup, Icelandic waterfalls are a sight to behold. Himalayan waterfalls are often tall and narrow, but here they are often tall wide and very very powerful.

I guess having those massive glaciers feeding them helps quite a bit.
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:52   #118
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Iceland is supposedly the most explored country in the world for landscape photography. Also most the top ten surveys for best waterfalls again throw up many from this country.
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