Riders of the Storm – Iceland in the heart of winter

A visual essay by Dael Sassoon

first published in No.3

It often happens that plans change when travelling, but we are so used to being protected from the force of nature that it is utterly surprising when you find yourself in the midst of menacing scenarios. When frigid gales began blasting across the winding Icelandic roads, hiding the black volcanic mountains behind a wall of white snow and sending our car swaying on the icy tarmac, we found ourselves forced to change our plans rapidly and focus on finding shelter. That night the wind roared over the roof of the farmhouse, making us wonder what would happen to us if the cyclone continued for longer than expected. Whiskey, music and biscuits are good travel companions, and friends always make is easier to live through uncertain times. When the sun rose and the world outside turned quiet, we felt liberated. There is something about overcoming hardship that makes everything that happens afterwards much more exciting and satisfying. The light after the cyclone was warm and powerful, turning the icy landscape into a Martian setting. Our surroundings were filled with orange mountains, purple skies, bright blue ice glowing on black shores. Iceland is a place of wonders where nature is at its rawest, rough around the edges and striking in the most unexpected ways.

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