I marvel at the extremes in Iceland. Sheer cliffs that drop more than 1000’ (300 meters) into the sea, joined to wind-swept and unforgiving mossy hills. Stormy gray skies that turn to baby-blue at sometimes a rapid pace.
I left California on a 100 degree F (38 C) summer day. My already temperature-sensitive physical equilibrium went on hyper-alert, struggling to adapt to a sudden world of 45 degrees F (7 C), including some wind and light rain. The man in the store cheerfully said, “Nice summer we’re having!” The lightbulb inside my head went off: This IS summer!
They also say here that if you don’t like the weather just wait a couple hours and it will be different. It’s surprisingly true! Most of the population lives close to the coastal edges of the country (the center has the volcanoes, glaciers and the ”Highlands”). Coastal weather is reliably unreliable; add arctic conditions to the mix and it’s true: wait an hour or two for things to change! A white-out windy world can transform to complete blue skies. It’s a beautiful summer in Iceland!
The weather is, of course, the backdrop to the beautiful (wait – I should rather say stunning) natural beauty that greets me moment by moment. There aren’t a lot of colors here. Blue ocean and fjords when the sky is blue; grey waters when stormy and foggy. There are many marvelous shades of green this time of year. Abundant amounts of grey and black rock. Delicate but tough moss and lichen provide shades of yellow, silver and russet reds. I see the attraction the Icelandic people have to paint their cute villages in the brighter cheerful colors they choose. Even the fishing boats are bright and cheerful colors.
Today the sky has gone from dark grey and raining to blue skies in two hours. It was even raining on the left side of the car while sunny on the right! What a joy to experience this amazing place on earth! I was in Iceland last November as well. To my surprise it was only 15-20 degrees F colder (10-12C) than these summer temperatures, although there were even more icy cold winds then. White snow in the winter dramatically added to the visual rugged natural appeal, with the basic winter color palette being black and white. The coveted Icelandic sweaters take their inspiration from nature…black, white, grey. The lovely, dramatic wild colors of Iceland.