The things I said in my last blog post about Iceland - I take them back. Or some of them. Not everything - because Iceland really is like the surface of the moon and some parts of it are so bleak that you'd think colour had left entirely. During a snowstorm, when everything is white and grey, or driving through endless black lava fields, or standing on a beach made of black sand, with grey cliffs jutting out ahead of you, and an angry grey ocean frothing and crashing in front of you - it's true that this place is no disco.
But colour does bleed through. It hides around corners and over hilltops and in the sky. In summer, there's a lot of gentle rolling green. Sometimes volcanoes erupt in a cacophony of red and orange. I didn't see these things but having looked at photographs of those that have, I want to go back in July and hire a car and drive around the island, looking for lava and puffins and moss covered mountains. In early March I had to try a bit harder to find colour, but it was there, being subtle.
And then one night, the sky lit up right over the hotel I was staying in, and everyone stood outside in a field, staring upwards, lost in the waves of green and purple ribbon that signified one of the world's weirdest and most beautiful natural phenomena was awake. They danced about in the sky for a mesmerized audience who subsequently all lost toes to frostbite
*No toes really fell off but it was a long time before I could feel them again and I had to retreat to the hotel bar before the Northern Lights had finished in order to drink vodka to make the warmth return to my extremities!
Not everything was black and white and grey. The skies were often a clear, deep blue - making the prospect of 'outside' look far less bitingly cold than it actually was - the water in the lakes and glacial lagoons were also a sparkling blue. In places, the snow was melting and the green of a very early spring was poking through. There were red roofs atop farmhouses and flashes of yellow along the horizon. And every glimpse of colour in Iceland stood out more because there wasn't much of it.
The title of this blog is taken from a line by the band Brand New. The playlist for my trip to Iceland was made by my friend Guy Jeffries, and it includes:
Ray Lynch: The Oh of Pleasure
Alabama Shakes: Always Alright
The Shins: New Slang
Mazzy Star: Into Dust
The Deep Dark Woods: All The Money I Had Is Gone
All photographs by Christina Owen Copyright 2015