Since Friday, I’ve been moving around south, west and east Iceland, and everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve found sun… 24 hrs of sun. And warmth. Its like seeing heaven fall down on a place you’ve grown to accept is always cold and dark, since every passing winter makes you forget what summer is like. Summer in Iceland also has a smell, the smell of people barbequeing meat and grilling hot dogs in green backyards and sunny patios. The sound of summer is the roaring lawn mower, with the smell of freshly cut grass always lingering around town.
The midnight sun also gives a special kind of light, a more dramatic sunshine that never makes it feel like high noon, but that the sun is always on its way up. When you realize it is actually on its way down, it takes forever for shade to spill into open spaces, and eventually, just when you think it might get dark, the sun is already rising again, and you’re never really sure when the sunset turned into another sunrise.
People have superstitions for full moons and Friday the 13ths, but midsummer night in Iceland is probably the most magical, mystical night, since there really is no night. There are more people on Laugavegur at 5 am than at 5 pm, and the skantily clad partiers bare their sunkissed skin without a single goosebump. Downtown Reykjavik over midnight summer weekend is probably the only place you can get away with wearing your sunglasses at night. The midnight sun still peeks behind the low horizons, and the skies around the blazing sun turn into pale hues of pink and orange. If the temperature drops enough, a low cloud of fog sits on the dewy grass, and you can actually taste and see the air cooling as steam rises from the day-warmed lakes.
Last night I went riding with 5 others until midnight, and the dust from 80 horses in the free-running herd between us couldn’t rise above the midnight fog. The sun had just dropped behind the mountain rise above the valley, but the mountains behind us, still covered in snow, reflected the pink sunset/sunrise we couldn’t quite see anymore. After returning the horses to their field and driving home around 1:15, the subtle darkness started to lift and the pink skies had now moved around the horizon as the ever-circling sun started rising again. If only midsummer nights could last longer than a weekend…