Diamond dust and the North Road

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** I write these last blog posts whilst I am back in sunny Australia, having said a sad and final goodbye to the Viking. Unfortunately there will be no fairy tale ending to this romance, and the vast distance between us will remain. I will forever be thankful to him for sharing his beautiful country with me and for so many wonderful experiences, and I am so excited about the large paintings that will be the result of these adventures… there will always be a little bit of the Viking in these paintings.**

The Viking and I were invited back to Hrisey where I did my first artist residency in September/October 2015 for the  yearly Þorrablót feast (for more details of the delicious and not so delicious delights served here, check my previous blog on the experience!! click here) by my lovely local friends. The drive is always incredibly beautiful, albeit quite a long one. As always it is much more fun to take the road less travelled… sometimes these less travelled roads are helped by the fact they have large “road closed” signs… which seem to be obeyed by tourists and treated with disdain by Vikings.

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Temptation to a Viking….
The morning we left for the North was an incredibly sparkling morning… and the landscape was glistening with ice forms on every surface. An usual set of climatic conditions meant rime ice had formed. Rime ice forms when liquid water droplets in the air freeze onto a surface, growing into combs, needles, or feathery forms. A freezing fog is needed for rime ice and this occurs when a low-lying cloud is cooled to temperatures below the freezing point 0ºC.  Without anything solid to nucleate around, the tiny, suspended water droplets remain liquid, even as they cool to temperatures where you’d expect them to be frozen. Water droplets can remain in this supercooled state until they bump into something solid, and then they freeze on contact. If there’s a gentle wind blowing, the first supercooled water droplets to bump into a tree branch will be deposited on its windward side.  Later deposition continues on the same surface, so that needles or combs of ice grow outward, into the wind.  Rime ice generally won’t form an even coating all the way around a tree branch.
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Rime Ice on a birch tree (shrub!)

We were in the Þingvellir National Park travelling along the shore of lake Þingvallavatn, Þingvellir  is a key location in Icelandic history as the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Þingvallavatn lake in has a surface of 84 km² and is the largest natural lake in Iceland. Its greatest depth is at 114 m.

 We continued up more back roads until we can to Hvalfjörður (Icelandic: Whalefjord) situated in the west of Iceland. The fjord is approximately 30 km long and 5 km wide. Until the late 1990s, those travelling by car north from Reyjkavik had to make a long detour around the fjord on the hringvegur (road no.1). There is now the tunnel Hvalfjarðargöngin, which shortens the trip considerably… but we were sticking above ground and admiring the view!

The Viking took a little detour to show me another of Iceland’s wonderful waterfalls, Barnafoss. Barnafoss is on the river Hvítá in Borgarfjörður. Hraunfossar flows out of a lava field into Hvítá near Barnafoss, creating a stunning scenery. Our timing wasn’t ideal with the light, but nonetheless it was still beautiful!!!

Following google maps, proved entertaining… with us heading down some unchartered roads- (more road closed signs) which clearly hadn’t been used as a road anytime recently! As always the views were incredible and worth the more adventurous route….. and we made it to Akureyri in the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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