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A lazy afternoon, time seems to stand still. Once again I look at the photo of a diving whale and finally want to know the story behind it. My partner begins to tell it – and so does the journey. If we can’t go on vacation because of the corona pandemic – why not travel through her memories?

In Jasmin’s apartment, as usual for a photographer, hang many pictures. She is constantly on the move and her works bear witness to this. White framed, scandi aesthetics. We lie on the sofa and drink tea on this early winter afternoon. “I used to make a pot of this in the morning before we swung into our tiny car to explore Iceland,” she recalls, pointing to the brand of her tea bag as she lifts it from her gray cup. Together with her cousin Anna, she had borrowed a car at the time. They had named the car, a Hyundai i10, Max – “because of its license plate number.

Iceland is a country of self-catering. Travelers with high standards have to invest a lot for a little luxury. Even the after-work beer costs a lot of money. Hiking freaks are absolutely right here. Mostly they come in pairs – “Iceland is a typical couples’ country!” She and Anna mainly chose hostels – in one of which Jasmin left her much-loved light blue softshell jacket. In the temperatures, fortunately only one of many vests that she wore under the right jacket – “but it was annoying!

The ring road is a perfect tour around Iceland. Tourists who opt for a small car, however, must stay on the main road only. Otherwise, they run the risk of getting their vehicle stuck in lava sand on side roads or breaking the axle. Twice, however, the duo violated this rule. For example, a lady at the Stora-Mörk inn recommended a secret waterfall. Instead of driving “a little bit,” the two drove “forever, forever.” It was worth it, but was also the typical image of a day in Iceland: exhausting. Up early, lots of driving, little sleep, lots of cold.

Beards and general hipsterism may have been popular in the capital city of Reykjavík years before that style arrived anywhere else, but stylish city travelers will have to settle for a small town center. “During peak tourist season, this mini-small town is sure to be crowded!” Peak season is mainly in August – or just in winter to admire the Northern Lights. In the colder season, however, it is not possible to go to the highlands. In Reykjavík, they stayed at the Kex Hostel (43 euros), whose purist rooms are nevertheless mega cool – but the hallways looked like gruesome hospital corridors.

For Anna, the highlight of the trip was a horseback ride on the beach (95 euros). “For horseback riding, extremely many travel there!” But one should be aware of one fact – the horses are definitely not pampered pets. “They are simply times outside on the pasture without shelter. They don’t have a fairy tale life there and pity should be saved. Because this original horse husbandry actually suits the animals! ” In the apron both had to indicate their riding experience, on it the animal is selected then. Before it starts with the four-legged friends, the group warms up with coffee at the stud farm.

Together, the horses are then taken from the pasture, groomed and saddled. Since bad weather conditions prevailed on this day, the two independently shortened their ride – despite several cancellations, the tour remained namely as usual. “Extraordinarily beautiful it was to ride nevertheless with the atmosphere at the beach. Not a soul far and wide. ” From the operators the two received afterwards the tip to observe seals in the proximity of the equestrian farm.

These exist all over the island, but a rather secret hotspot exists on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, where Jasmin and Anna rode along the coast. So is it worth asking the locals for insider tips? “The locals outside of town were super nice, especially the older people. But in Reykjavík itself, people were more subdued.” People’s English has been consistently good. Even otherwise, you might have heard this language more often among tourists, since Iceland is a transit country for Americans.

For whale watching (155 euros), the two first went to Husavik, a popular starting point for a tour around Lake Mývatn. For the photographer, the biggest challenge was on which side of the boat a whale would probably appear – “a pure matter of luck!” By the way, many will recognize the Mývatn area from “Game of Thrones.” Other locations in Iceland served for parts of “Lord of the Rings,” “James Bond” and the new “Star Trek” series. Mývatn itself is an alternative to Bláa Lónið, the blue lagoon – but Anna and Jasmin didn’t find it as exhilarating as other Iceland travelers. However, they found the shower in the middle of the wilderness of Mývatn all the more amusing – they still don’t know the reason why. By the way, Iceland itself is clean throughout – so it’s not surprising that they encountered a sign in the south of Iceland that pointed out that you are not allowed to defecate in the forest …

The journey through her images continues with a finger pointing to the right corner of the wall. A seflie on a natural platform at Seljalandsfoss – the snapshot is a must for all Iceland travelers. This beautiful waterfall entices photographers by allowing you to walk around it – though you have to be careful not to splash the water on your lens! After all, this rushes down from a height of 65 meters.

I can literally feel the cold on my cheeks and quickly take a sip of tea. It’s good to be able to warm up not only with tea, but also the traditional fish soup. “My cousin thought it was very good!” Jasmin preferred to stick with lamb dishes. Fermented shark or stockfish, as known from Norway, also ended up on the Icelandic menu, but not on Jasmin’s plate.

by Simone Bauer with picture by Jasmin Frey