Iceland in Winter mist

True Iceland: Húsavík in Winter

Every now and then, you need to pack your stuff and hit the road. Find some new spots you have never been before, go and explore . Disclose the unexpected. I got hit between the eyes by Húsavík and Melrakkaslétta winter beauty.

Why? Because Húsavík and Melrakkaslétta region revealed the true Iceland to me. Totally unexpected, as this area is probably most popular for tourists to flock there during summer season for whale watching and therefore is quite packed between June and September. But as we arrived there, most shops, restaurants and accommodations were still closed due to winter break. Everything appeared a bit sleepy, what I recently miss in more and more touristy Reykjavík.

Goðafoss in twilight (www.500px.com/benzin, Ben Simon Rehn)
Goðafoss waterfall in winterly twilight

So, if you want to experience the rather authentic Iceland, if there still is such thing at all, head as far North as possible. The dailylight already has such a length at this time of the year, that you can easily travel 500 km and still have plenty of time to go for a waterfall photo session, as we did. As icy road conditions didn’t allow us to go all the way to a more hidden waterfall we were actually planning to visit, we sticked to the frozen Goðafoss and got to see it in a, literally, whole different light – twilight with already disclosing starry night sky. The day has been freezing cold, but therefore perfectly clear and very nice to shoot some nice pictures.

Incredible Night Sky with Northern Lights
A night sky I never in my life will forget – full of stars, shooting stars and Northern Lights

On our way back to Húsavík, where we stayed in Húsavík Cape Hótel, the night sky all of a sudden tore open and offered us an amazing show starring dancing Northern Lights, shooting stars and an endless deepness of the whole universe. It was ultimatively peaceful, downright overwhelming. I had to cry, it was just too beautiful. The universe seemed to reach out for us and presented itself in the perfect beauty which only inheres in nature. It might have been the most magnificient moment in my life. I have worked in the middle of nowhere for over half a year and I have never seen such a deep firmament.

Viking Stone-Hedges in Raufarhöfn
Stonehenge of the Vikings in Raufarhöfn

On the next day, conditions weren’t as perfect as the previous day, but this didn’t stop us from hitting the road. In fact, there was low visibility due to some snow flurry and slippery road conditions. Every now and then we felt like driving in the construct room scene of „Matrix“ as there was almost no contrast between horizon and earth. Especially the closer we got to Melrakkaslétta peninsula, the more everthing was merging together and road conditions got worse. Be aware to check road conditions at Vegagerðin before you start driving each day as there might roads be closed or in difficult condition.

White-out while driving (www.500px.com/benzin, Ben Simon Rehn)
A complete white-out while driving in the middle of nowhere in the very North of Iceland

But exactly this gave us the chance to be almost totally on our own. Especially in remote Melrakkaslétta peninsula where we didn’t even get the chance to find us some lunch, because everything was closed down. This is how I imagine Iceland: remote, deserted, free. In areas like the South Coast, Golden Circle or Snæfellsnes peninsula this feeling is already lost. At the driftwood covered shores around Raufarhöfn I had the chance to restore my dream in this deserted, wild and free Iceland.

Ásbyrgi canyon in winter
Most pictures show Ásbyrgi canyon in a bright green hue covered in rich, fresh moss. But also in its winter coat it is a beauty – if you’re not in a snowy flurry having trouble to see anything like me in this picture

Once again big thanks to Ben for his gorgeous pictures. Check out his pictures on http://www.500px.com/benzin

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