The incredible nothingness of Iceland

Imagine your own landing on the moon. You get out of your spaceship and look around, floating around weightlessly. What you see is the real version of a long-imagined moon landscape. Black rocks in all pointy shapes, some even sticking up like a blade that you could cut yourself on. The hardened lava-flow continues for as far as you can see, or it dissolves into the rise of a volcano-mountain. This black cone-shaped mountain has a gap on the top left, where you can see the crater and you wonder when it will start spewing its hot and fresh lava again…

This is what my landing on Iceland felt very similar to: landing on the moon! Although a very modern moon, with roads and water, Iceland must be the closest thing to experience a moon landing on earth.

Dressed in a warm coat to protect myself against the rain and icy wind, I get out of my rental car and sit down on the rock-hard lava. The rock scratches my bum, but I believe this feeling is part of the Iceland experience and regardless the uncomfortable feeling I stay there. I soak up Iceland’s incredibly fresh air, feeling the raindrops on my face and stare at the impressive nothingness that spreads out in front of me. Black rocks in various shapes and sizes all around me, the sound of the sea in my ears and the weak smell of sulfur in my nose coming from the fumes in the distance. It all feels so unrealistic now (private) moon landings are not yet happening although I feel like I just experienced one!

Some sheep with a dirty and wet coat look up from the only green patch of planted grass in the wide region. The movements of their jaws seem a little faster than I remember them at home. I wonder if these sheep realize the lack of grass on this barren island which make them chew as fast as they can to eat as much as possible.

It’s only 3.30 PM and the sky is turning darker already. I am hoping to see the Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights – tonight, but with the rain still on my face there seems only little hope to witness it. But in the B&B the locals told me that there is always a chance to see it, so I stay aware. The climate in Iceland often shows 4 seasons in a day (and night) and therefore it could clear up instantly. A clear sky is only one of the several conditions on which this magic light shows itself. Additionally it needs the right (cold) temperature and the presence of electrons & protons in the air.

I decide to head back to the B&B before it gets too dark. Clumsily I walk back on the uneven ground to the car that is parked only 500 meters ahead. The white car is easy to recognize against the background of the sea and the black-sand beach, of which next to it the road made of crushed lava rocks follows the coastline all around the island. Suddenly something starts lighting up in the corner of my eye. I expect another rare car in this lava desert, but as I turn around to look at the light my jaw drops down until it nearly touches the rocks. I can’t believe my eyes as I am staring right at the Northern Lights!! The unexpected has happened; the sky suddenly opened up and the universe sent some electrons down to show me the most beautiful lights on earth! Blue, red, green, yellow and thousands of other colors fill my irises as my eyes water a little. Not because of the cold, but because of the emotions of this incredible moment in which I witness another wonder of nature. And not being able to share this moment, neither to be able to capture it on a camera makes me feel like I owe this moment. Just me & Aurora Borealis, something that can only happen on earth, not on the moon…

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