Sunday, July 26, 2009


I'm proud to announce that my team at Interieurs Design Studio has been selected by Metropolitan Home Magazine and Showtime Television to participate in a Designer Showhouse in TriBeCa inspired by one of Showtime's award winning edgy shows. Here's a hint as to which show IDS was assigned:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Touring Iceland: A Land of Savage Beauty

Back in January I began planning a hiking and touring trip of Iceland with my dear friend Judith Hopkins (both our husbands are cold-weather curmudgeons, though they would call it an "allergy").

Why Iceland??? We both love rugged landscapes and challenging terrain having earlier traveled together on a National Geographic Expeditions trip to Tibet and Everest Basecamp I. That trip (possibly the subject of a future post here) was headed up by Peter Hillary, son of legendary Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to professional obligations and physical training time constraints, we opted for Iceland over a more "exotic" and distant locale.

I had recently read a book by French nature photographer Patrick Desgraupes: Islande: Le Sublime et L'Imaginaire and it provided Judith and I all the inspiration we needed to pick Iceland as our destination. I had fallen in love with Desgraupes' stunning images of the island which is geologically the youngest land on Earth. Iceland is a country of staggering raw beauty where active volcanoes and glaciers coexist in an almost surreal harmony. Having seen it, I now understand how Iceland became the inspiration for Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

It is so astonishing to walk through country so alive and violent - surrounded by the pungent smell of sulphur and the sounds of bubbling lava - that you almost feel as if you are witness to the birth of the Earth itself. The landscapes are truly awesome (in the classical meaning of the word), with desolate black lava fields, glacial ice and surreal shades of blue, green, yellow, orange and white.

All buildings in Reykjavik are covered with corrugated metal siding

Icelandic children are so buoyant and stylish

The Blue Lagoon is a man-made lagoon created as a by-product of
Geo-Thermal energy capture. The lagoon's waters are rich in minerals
and a swim or soak in the lagoon is a must have experience

Just one of many small calderas of
living volcanoes scattered around Iceland

Iceland is divided between the North American and European Tectonic Plates.
What you see here is the Tectonic divide between the two plates

Land of Boiling Waters

Strokkur Geyser ready to erupt

Hiking near steaming vents and boiling mud pools

Endless driving among desolate lava fields as far as you can see

Hiking in Landmanlauger, I felt I had entered  an enchanted landscape
of boiling lava, steaming mountains florescent colored paths and
magical hot springs at a perfect temperature to soothe sore muscles.

The Sellfoss Waterfall is the largest in Europe

My favorite waterfall at Skogar. The "Pot of Gold" at the
end of the rainbow is the waterfall itself

The black sand beach at Vik

June is nesting season for Icelandic gulls.

A restored traditional grass roofed house.

The focal point of our trip was to experience glacier hiking. Vatnajokrell is the
longest glacier in Iceland. Five active volcanoes are buried under the glacier
and eruptions cause catastrophic mud slides and floods.

Equipped for the task. Walking up and down the Crevices is not for the
faint of heart.
During the first hour of the hike I was terrified and I don't
scare too easily. Once I got my "Ice Legs", I let myself become
enthralled by the ethereal beauty of the ice.

During one of our last hikes, we stumbled upon a small section of the glacier where
the ice goes to die. The glacier is retreating with frightening speed. Iceland's
ice melt is a testament to the effects of climactic change.

The midnight sunset on July 4th.

The best way to experience Iceland is to rent a 4x4 with heavy duty tires and a good suspension. Some food items, several good maps (we needed them for the roads which are often unpaved and also to find gas stations which are scarce in Iceland). Judith commented that the little Suzuki 4x4 we rented probably saw more off-roading during our short trip than any of the Hummers we often see cruising around Fairfield County will ever see during their entire serviceable lives.

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