Mount Taranaki looms majestically over New Plymouth, on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The mythical mountain that is obscured from view most days of the year, shrouded by its own low-hanging clouds. But now it stood there, clearly visible, and beckoning in all its glory. I literally skidded to a halt when I saw it, and changed my course and planning there & then. It was calling me and I had to go.
This title may look a bit bewildering… It’s Icelandic for ‘Where the heart beats’, the anthemic song of Vestmannaeyjar. I was drawn to the Vestmannaeyjar islands at first sight, when I saw their intriguing shapes shimmering on the horizon. It was as if there’s an unexplained energy emanating out of it. I just had to go there. A spectacular island of volcanic peaks and jumbled rocks; the landscape is out of this world. Vestmannaeyjar is also home of the Þjóðhátíð festival in August. ‘Þar sem hjartað slær’ is the ultimate Þjóðhátíð song that captures the atmosphere of the Iceland National Festival like no other.
De Vestmannaeyjar eilanden trokken me aan vanaf het eerste gezicht. Ik zag hun mysterieuze silhouetten en het was alsof er een onverklaarbare energie uit opborrelde. Ik moest er gewoon heen. Het landschap is niet van deze wereld, en dat jaarlijkse Þjóðhátíð festival dat ze in augustus hebben – in één woord: geWELDIG!
I didn’t know what to expect of Iceland on my first visit. It was a short trip to see a concert of Sigur Rós. Little did I expect to be blown away in more ways than one. I got lost in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen, full of steaming fields and craggy mountains with countless waterfalls tumbling from their hallucinating green edges. It would trigger many more trips to come.