Thursday, September 21, 2017

Photo Diary: Best of Isafjordur

Come for the library.
Stay for the view.

I didn’t know what Isafjordur had to offer until I stepped out of the airport shuttle and into its arresting mountain view. Until that point, my main source of excitement had been an obscure building in the center of town, that is unlikely to fall at the top of anyone’s bucket list.
But the second I stepped out of the car and was able to tilt my gaze upward to at least a 45 degree angle, I realized why Isafjordur holds so much mystique and allure. This is a small town on one of Iceland many remote fjords in the west of the country. There are around 2,000 people there, two bakeries, six restaurants, one hostel, and of course, one library.

On my three short days in Isafjordur, I saw three towns and three mountains. These were, of course, the same town and the same mountain, but one was disguised in the veil of a blizzard, the other was a sunny frozen peak, and the last one saw its white coat washed away overnight by a warm wind, revealing the green mossy peaks and brick-lined streets beneath it.

Being at the foothills of such a terrifyingly large mountain was a source of breathless wonder for me. I just couldn’t stop take my eyes away from the mountain. Now its ghost lives in my memory forever. When I gaze out upon any horizon I think, “the mountain would be right there….”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Isafjordur Cemetery in Iceland

the church

I went the Isafjordur for the exact purpose of visiting the Culture House. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Culture House – which is really a library, was exactly what I needed to complete my golden trio of objectives in Iceland: visit a cemetery, grocery store, and library.

Having already been to a grocery store and cemetery in Reykjavik on my last trip in 2011, all I wanted to do is Isafjordur was visit that glorious library.

After a long multi-method journey from our apartment Reykjavik the shuttle from Isafjordur airport pulled into the sitting and I began walking towards the library.
Being a cemetery enthusiast, one can only imagine my joy when I saw that a cemetery was right beside the library. Never have I seen such convenience. My two favorite things – side by side.

Cemeteries are usually kept on the edges of town and quite difficult to get to and find. I was so thrilled that I would get o experience another Icelandic cemetery, and one much more modern that Hólavallagarður.

Hólavallagarður was old and green and moss-covered. Ísafjarðarkirkja  - which is the name of the church attached to the cemetery, was modern, sparse, and snow covered. It had also been a secret dream of mine to photograph a cemetery in the snow, so  Ísafjarðarkirkja allowed me to check that off my list as well.

The gate is designed with a motif of an anchor, an ode to this fishing town.
The tombstones spanned in age from the 1900s to present day. Despite the hundred-year-age difference, the graves in the cemetery appeared fairly uniform, and there were no noticeable aesthetic differences between them.

One similarity with Hólavallagarður was the gates that surrounded a few plots. Though they were not green and moss-covered, they were rusted and charming.
I was also struck by the prevalence of the cross motif in this cemetery, where the graves were typically simple and geometric. 

I was surprised to find this cemetery in such a central location in town and I am pleased to be able to complement my cemetery experience in Hólavallagarður with this very different site in Ísafjarðarkirkja.

Photo Diary: Best of Isafjordur

Come for the library. Stay for the view. I didn’t know what Isafjordur had to offer until I stepped out of the airport shuttle and i...