Icelandic landscape: A visual treat for traveller

Regardless of the purpose for the trip, visiting Iceland is a treat because of the country’s abundant natural beauty. One popular gesture made by passengers is to peer out of the aircraft window to catch a bird’s-eye view of the landing strip before the plane touches ground. The first thing I noticed when my bus departed Keflavik airport was how draped with moss the ground was. At that point, the view was different and there were no tall trees.

One of the main attractions for tourists visiting Iceland is the sheer number of active volcanoes in the surrounding region. While I was waiting in the Montreal airport to board my flight to my university’s one-month Iceland Summer School, I saw in the news that there were some eruptions (Sundhnúksgígar started on May 29, 2024) occurring in Iceland. I was hoping to witness, if my luck permits.

Photo: The full group

The bus from the airport to Reykjavik departed on schedule. The majority of bus passengers were drawn toward the volcanic eruption site’s view. I was seated in my bus seat, watching the incident from a distance. Through the bus window, I was fortunate enough to witness some fiery red and orange flashes of magma. It was an extremely unique encounter.

 Volcanic eruption: the smoke and the small orange flashes (not visible in this photo) of magma taken from the bus

After one and a half days of staying in Reykjavík, I left for Blönduós. Most of the students in my group met at the Mjódd bus station to catch the bus to our final destination, Blönduós. It was a rainy day, but it did not affect our energy. As my bus moved, the landscape started changing. It was a wonderful view with trees, rivers, fountains, and big mountains with flat tops.

I could not take my eyes off the surface of the ground, wondering what might be below. For the first week, there were a lot of frequent events, such as the lengthy daylight hours and the chilly, wet wind. Eventually, bright sunny days came filled with various classes, KnitFest and swimming in the pool.

Photo: Rain and mountains from the bus window

Photo: River and hill from the bus window

Elsa Arnardóttir, the director of the Icelandic Textile Centre, and our professor, Dr. Kathleen Vaughan, met us at the Bloduos bus stop. We much appreciated Elsa’s car helping us move our belongings to our apartment buildings. From our apartment, we get a stunning view of the surrounding structures and the body of water. No matter the weather, it’s always a true delight. Taking a stroll along the river to watch the sun set has turned into a regular source of enjoyment. This location is particularly unique to this experience. I frequently had the impression that the purpose of the “light and sound show” was to draw in the human soul.

Photo: The residences and the Textile Centre during a beautiful sunset

Photo: Other houses from my residence 

Photo: Sunset 

Photo: Mountains from the car window on the way to Akureyri

Photo: Northwestern region of Iceland

The fascinating, overpowering landscape of Iceland and my first impression when I arrived in this country inspired my tapestry weaving. It was our first class on weaving with wonderful Icelandic textile artist Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir (Raga). For the weaving class, I worked on a vertical composition. I used one of those bigger frames that she had offered to all the students. I learned quite a lot about the complex yet meditative process of weaving. Weaving needs the focus and dedication of a maker. As other instructors, Raga was constantly reminding us, especially the beginners, how to work with mistakes and embrace the possibilities of learning. I loved the outcome of my first tapestry weaving. I am looking forward to incorporating weaving into my future research and creation projects.

Photo: Verso of my tapestry weaving

Photo: Recto of my tapestry weaving

Thank you for reading.