Can't remember the name of the exhibition but it was surprisingly good. This was installed so it right out divided a kind of alleyway.
I love how modern video equipment can make just about anything look awesome.
on a smoother tip this time
Part of Wrocław's market square and the western part of the city. If I remember correctly, that is.
Mask of Sorrow, built to honor victims of the Gulag prison camps in Magadan, Russia. Its innards hold a replicated prison cell. Designed by Ernst Neizvestny, 1996.
First things first: Forgot to tell you about the nightly ride to Sellfoss. The pilot said we were to expect nice weather. Stepped out of the aircraft (after a five minute power outage) - rain. Couldn't see for shit, at least the full moon was up to spend some light. As I drove past Reykjavík I noticed several peaks popping up of the surrounding darkness, it wasn't possible to gather more than their black silhouettes against the deep blue background, really magical - like a small foretaste of things to come. It was so surreal. I think I saw a volcano but it was impossible to tell. Halfway to Sellfoss I suddenly noticed fog rising up besides the road. No wait, that wasn't fog, it was smoke. Coming out of the ground and reeking of sulfur. That was when I fully realised that I made it here.
Most people don't know it but I'm the luckiest guy walking this planet. The whole night I wondered how to put this experience in words and I think clipping-the-apex-of-what-the-fuck-is-going-on-here fits best. We started out with an awesome breakfast with homemade Icelandic bread (it's like Knæckebrot but not dry) with cuts of lamb and black bread not baked in a regular oven but on hot ground. Go figure. The place I stayed at wasn't really a hostel but a guest house where the old couple lived in. It was really cosy and strongly reminded my of the old school building in my village. Both of them were the kindest persons. She took out lots of maps and told us quite a bit about the island, the road conditions, natural hazards and whatnot. I stayed a bit longer than the French guys and she suggested a small detour of my route to Höfn. I would've missed out on several tremendous sights if it weren't for her and it would've cost me at least a hundred Euros to go there by bus later on.
So I took off northwards to the town of Geysir and stopped halfway to climb around a small crater lake and a minor waterfall. It's hard to resist stopping every ten minutes to take some photos of the overwhelming landscape that surrounds one. The southern region still is quite flat but you've got oddly shaped mountains and such everywhere. The colour palette is amazing, it looks just like man forced it upon the land. Sometimes I thought that I got used to the otherworldy surroundings but every half and hour I find myself in the car actually yelling out loud:"WAS? AUF KEINEN!". When I drove further on, almost forgetting where I was heading I saw a sudden burst of water shooting up behind a mountain. What the fuck? It turned out to be the famous Geysir whose name is now used for every active thermal spring around the globe. I took an hour to explore the surroundings that are steaming with hot water, again smelling like foul eggs n shit. The Geysir went off every couple of minutes but still was very unpredictable, an awe-inspiring sight.
From there I headed south again to get to Höfn where I'm sitting on the computer right now. I underestimated the distance a bit and drove over four hours down here. But I can surely say that the ride was the most intense I've ever done. The first half up to the town of Vík was dominated by stopping every now and then to explore several huge waterfalls. Each of those was higher than 50 meters, some even had caves behind them but some douche tried to steal the whole treasure chest and it disappeared altogether :/ Had a decent lasagne and Carlsberg (main ingridient: íslenskt vatn ;D) before I went on.
Night came and had me by the balls. It's generally very safe to drive on the Road 1 that goes around the island but it took me some time to get used to it being at least a meter above ground level everywhere. I learned to trust the road, if there's a uneasy section ahead, there's always signs. The three hour trip from Vík to Höfn was so mind-bugging, a friend of mine would describe it as:"Du machst dir keinen Begriff!". If you look it up at Google Maps you can see that it took me across hundreds of small glacial rivers that swell in summertime when the glaciers melt.
Interlude: Oh yeah, glaciers. Lots of times I found myself seeing a large band of clouds behind the mountain peaks until I realised that it was actually a glacier. Can you imagine looking at a mountain range that is like a hundred kilometers away and having a glacier ranging from one end of the horizon to the other? It's not like there's ice in the valleys of the mountain or such, it's rather a mountain of ice towering on top of the actual mountain!
So it was already completely dark at like 6:00PM and I had some three hours worth of drive ahead of me. I couldn't see what's going on to the left or right of me besides the cliffs to the far left and the Atlantic Ocean to the far right but up until those it was just pitch black volcanic soil. You can't fathom how strange that is. Like driving over a giant pit of tar, no contours whatsoever. Every ten minutes or so there's a small one-laned bridge going over the rivers and every twenty minutes I came across some other cars. The route also took me through vast bog like lands ruled by swamp trolls. They usually are asleep but some were alerted by the large trucks passing by and were really grumpy about it, I could sense. When they rest they seem like small bushes or massive chunks of mossy tephra and when theyr're awake they try to deceive you into letting your eyes wander off the road and hunch at their moving shadows that intertwine with the surrounding darkness. Good thing I have the troll cross my friend M gave me, otherwise it could've gotten a bit dangerous. Thanks buddy ;)
Sometimes I had to consciously shut my jaw again for I couldn't believe what I experienced there. Luckily every house in Iceland is illuminated at night so I always could see some flickering lights in the far distance and didn't feel completely out of this world. At some point the road took a turn and headed directly towards the tongue of a massive glacier.
It was only then that I realized that the gray specks on my GPS are actually glaciers. I had been driving on top of or through some small ones all the time!* The fuck? This fucker truly got me and I stopped at the next resting area just two kilometers away from the ice, and took a long-time exposure shot right before the battery died - it's the one I uploaded with this post. I could see more on the photo than actually standing there and had to take some five minutes before driving onwards. I don't want to imagine what it would've been like without the moonshine. This country, man...
So I managed to arrive in Höfn alive and kicking. I'm going to head back to the glacial lagoon I passed by last night to see those icebergs again (ah, right, I drove right across a lake full of them and saw some for the very first time :D) And then drive through the eastern fjords up to Seðysfjörður. Please don't wake me up.
P.S.: Can somebody check if my hard drive is still there? I fear the guys from X-Iþ FM have stolen it, so much good music. When they played Deftones - around the fur I almost jumped right out my car's window :D Hopefully the rental guys don't check if the speakers are still working when I return the car :P
P.P.S.: A biiig shoutout to my brother for lending me all the without-it-I'd-be-freezing-my-bloody-balls-off-gear! It's 1°C outside, doesn't feel nearly as cold as in Germany but with all my clothes I feel like it's 15°C.
*Weren't galciers. Actually those have been end moraines.