Category Archives: Countries & Travel

Glimpses of Iceland

A conversation about having horses as pets reminded me of the magnificent beasts I saw in Iceland where it is also commonplace. It occurred to me that I never posted pictures of the actual trip, and so here is an abridged recollection of the adventure and pictures.

A few years ago (August 2015) along with some close friends, I headed to Iceland. We rented a 4×4 for a week and mapped ourselves 2000 kilometres of travel, over a terrain ranging from comfortable roads, to hazardous mountain slopes and to paths barely resembling civilisation’s footprint, while I was the sole driver.

We started driving in the northwesterly direction with the hope of circling back from Snæfellsjökull National Park in a day. We passed via Arnarstapi making a stopover at the little harbour town.

Landscapes reflecting perfectly in lakes around was a surreal sight.

So was the golden sun in the backdrop against cotton buds ready for plucking.

The next day marked the beginning our longest leg of the 3 days journey to cover the most ground. We stopped occasionally to marvel at the majestic horses and the magnificent mountain backdrops.

The sight of Eyjafjallajökull was undoubtedly goosebump evoking.

As the roads twisted and turned, we suddenly found ourselves on a different planet which was covered in black sand fields announcing our approach towards Jökulsárlón.

The slow drifts of icebergs in Jökulsárlón’s glacial ice fields were a soothing sight.

As dusk rapidly fell, we scrambled to find accommodation for the night while hunting for the cellular network to make reservations, battling hunger and grumpiness.

On our way back, we spent leisurely amount of time at the gigantic Skógafoss and few other waterfalls of less notable sizes

Occasionally we hit patches of sun which lit up the landscape in contrasting shades of green, brown, black and blue.

The last day of the trip was spent recovering in Reykjavik. We headed to the coast to enjoy the last glimpses as the sun set.

Eltz Castle and Germany

For Christmas, a friend and I decided that it might be fun to visit the Eltz Castle in Germany. This was the second time I was the shotgun to the driver, and unlike the first, it was entirely uneventful.

Our trip started quite late, so we decided to first take a detour to Frankfurt with the intention to arrive at Eltz the next day. In hindsight, it was the right decision as its a rare treat to witness a city as big as Frankfurt be entirely calm and devoid of any traffic – vehicular or pedestrian. It reminded me of a trip I made to Hamburg during Christmas a few years ago

After a leisurely all-you-can-eat breakfast the next morning, we started driving. And within the hour, this sight was bearing down us.

Few hours of later, we began our return journey through the spectacular countryside of Germany. The rolling hills and sprawling greens had the classic WindowsXP look.

Soon we were passing through several towns. The decision to stick to secondary and tertiary roads as much as possible, did not disapoint us.

And just like that we were out on the highway and on our way home.

First snow

Just like the last time, the first snow of this winter arrived a bit early in Amsterdam, albeit subtly. I stepped out with my trusty camera to take some pictures and managed to drag along a good friend into this arctic expedition of our neighbourhood of Ijburg.

It was a foggy morning and it was cold. As we passed by a lonely and warded off pier, I took a moment to stop and admire the feeling of infinity the veil of fog created.

The shrubs that usually blended into the surroundings, stood out spectacularly against the white(ish) backdrop.

The still water became one with the sky for the border was a grey area (wink wink)

Trees stood solemnly and in solitude, against the sulky feels. We braved the sentinels and marched further.

After the supposed short walk ended more than two hours later, we stopped by a cafe to warm ourselves with some coffee.

New York

The city has been beckoning me to visit since a very long time. The few times I have been in the United States, it’s only ever been to the west coast. After a close friend who moved to this city has generously agreed to host me, I had no choice but to visit. Cheap tickets and spring weather made it easier. A 14-hour flight later I was there.

A first timer’s trip to NYC is incomplete without a visit to Rockefeller for the views of Empire State. The price I paid to go up top and the additional sunset view surcharge only to notice the lack of any sun or sky, made me chuckle.

As the light faded, the city started to light up, from hundreds of thousands of homes sprawling across Manhattan, making me wonder if this city had just started to wake up.

On other days, I mostly experienced similar perspectives repeatedly from the streets down below. After living in the Netherlands for a few years, a country with mostly flat land and small buildings, the sight of real tall buildings crowding the streets was novel and a strangely belittling experience.

The visit coinciding with the September 11th anniversary ensued Americana on display everywhere.

I couldn’t stop admiring the iconic Yellow cabs all around, contrasting against the rustic colours of the buildings.

Residential areas wore relatively more vibrant shades. Perhaps “vibrant” is a strong word considering there was nothing particularly dynamic about the colours. Rustic pastels seem to suit the feel.

The sprawling subway system was surreal. It seemed a different world existed underground, defying the borders encased by the rivers, the coast, as well as the tall buildings and their foundations.

Of course, what is New York without fashion

or the perpetual seepage of steam from the underworld onto the streets. 

Five days and 100 kilometres of walking later, half of it constant rain, it just seemed that there was no end to the fantastic sights that NYC had to offer. Every one of them seemed un-missable, especially Times Square,

The Statue of Liberty

the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, plus a view of the bridge from the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. This particular view managed to trigger the strange feeling of “jamais vu” despite it being the first time I was seeing it in person.

Evening Blues

A sudden change in weather prompted that we take advantage of it. After biking for some time, a good friend and I ended up at a typical Dutch backyard beach, where we took to contemplation when presented with a sight of the evening blues and winter hues.