I remember seeing the south coast of Iceland for the first time. The car stopped and I just sat still, I was just like WHAT? I didn’t know that that kind of landscape existed. It was not “better than I expected”, it wasn’t “just as amazing as on the pictures”, it was completely surreal, impressive and surprising.
I know it can be annoying when people just ramble on about a place, saying clichés stuff like “a must see”, “unforgettable”, and so on. But Iceland’s south coast, and more particularly Vik’s beach, was truly that for me : a blow to the mind, something that I won’t ever forget, the epitome of natural beauty.
Picture this : beautiful white snow on the ground, abruptly becoming dark black sand, and then the sea. Huge powerful waves, a thick white foam reaching far on the black sand. The waves came crashing down with such a force that the droplets of water created the permanent illusion of a veil of mist at the edge of the sea. Add to this the winter sun, never far above the horizon and thus giving such a particular light, and you’ll understand why I was just blown away by Iceland.
The black sand beach near Vik is one of the most popular tourist attraction, because of its sheer beauty, and I wasn’t disappointed. I went there twice, once at sunset and another time at sunrise, just to see the light playing on the waves once more.
The huge basalt columns so oddly shaped were capped with snow, the cave facing the sea was full of stalactites. On the beach, a girl in a wedding dress was posing for the picture (crazy, she couldn’t move anymore at some point because she was so cold), a bunch of Japanese were running behind an expensive drone, smiling wide and shouting words I couldn’t understand, a photographer went as far as letting the freezing waves drench him and his tripod to get his perfect shot. Some people were climbing the basalt columns, taking pictures, having fun running from the fast waves, …
In their own way, everybody was appreciating the beauty of the place. I took some pictures, because for once I felt it was necessary, and looked, looked, looked as much as I could. I tried to use my time there to print the place in my head, giving attention to every detail. To the colors, sounds, smells, feelings, everything. In warmer weather, I would have spent my whole day sitting down on this beach. As things were, I had a limited amount of time outside before my face started going numb and my fingers painful.
Once I was gone, it already seemed like a weird thing that I was making up more than something real. I looked at the pictures several times since, wondering if I had not built that place up in my head. But I don’t think I have. Whenever I think of Iceland, I think of Vik’s beach. Whenever I think of beauty, I think of Vik’s beach.
That one will be hard to top.