Nature & Environment Sep 08, 2016

The Road to Heaven

Guest post by Neha Gupta

“Hey do you see the amazing landscape down there? How splendid is the Snaefellsnes peninsula looking!” remarked my husband, Ritesh. I jolted from my sleep. I must have dozed off sometime when the flight took off. I got an exasperated look from Ritesh as if saying that ‘La belle dam sans thrill.’ I was so envious of him since he seemed widely awake showing no signs of jet lag.

We had just landed in Reykjavik, after a long flight of 10 hours. The next morning, we were off to Westfjords for a day tour! Did I mention that I hate flights! I get air sick and here I am, sitting in a small 38-seater plane. I shuddered to think of the turbulent flight ahead. However to my pleasant surprise, the half an hour ride was very smooth and comfortable. Ishita and I kept dozing off after every few minutes and Ritesh sitting beside us was busy clicking away photographs from the plane window. The landing of the plane was terrific, the way it meandered between the hills and glided smoothly over the ocean before it came to a halt on the runway. That was simply incredible.

Isafjordur was the first town we had planned to see in our 14 day long trip to Iceland. We stepped out of the plane. It took us just a minute to walk from the runway into the airport and another minute from the airport to the outside! That’s how astonishingly small and unassuming this airport was. It felt like I have been transported into one of those perfect Noddy towns of Enid Blyton. Our guide, an Icelandic local, was waiting for us outside the airport. Soon after the introductions, we were bundled off into the van that had 10 more tourists. Now the real tour of Westfjords started. Our van ambled along the narrow roads that seem to fork in and out of the blue ocean. The purple hue of the flat-topped hills made the scenery look more mesmerizing. As we reached closer, I noticed that this purple hue was due to the bright purple flowers that grew in abundance on these hills.

The guide commented that these flowers are called Alaskan Lupine and they are considered both a boon and bane in Iceland. These flowers had been imported with a mission of preventing soil erosion in the barren landscapes of Iceland. However, Alaskan Lupine has the propensity to spread like a wildfire thereby discouraging the growth of other plant species.

“So here you are, at one of the most picturesque waterfall in the world- Dynjandi,” commented our guide in a dramatic gesture. I stepped out of the bus and looked up to the cascading falls with the bright sun shining from behind the falls. The white sunlight filtered through the water droplets breaking into a kaleidoscope of colours. I sighed and thought, “If this is heaven, so be it.”