Kerið | Volcanic Crater in South Iceland
Kerið in solitude
Off-track the famous golden circle route in South Iceland, there is a majestic volcanic crater called Kerið (literally “the bathtub”). It captivated Óskar and me in its fascinating tranquility and sublime beauty. Óskar had visited this spot several times as a child, but couldn’t take his eyes off it either. It’s become more commercialised today since tourists need to pay a small fee to visit the crater. But hey – it’s for the sake of nature.
I’m not a geologist and have no professional knowledge in volcanoes. Still, what captured me most with Kerið was the colour of the water. It seems to be shiny neon-blue from a distance, but looks greyish-brown if you come closer. Especially when you focus on the brown mossy stones in the water. Fascinating!
If you come a bit later in the evening, there’s a chance to have Kerið all by yourself. As usual, we walked our way around the crater for a while. We love to change perspective and have thrilling 360°C views as often as possible.
In general, my boyfriend Óskar is a good traveler. He’s communicative and patiently answers questions by random tourists who stop on their way and search for help after having been encased in their rented and richly coloured mini vans for hours. Óskar helps, he gives advices for roads and conditions while I tend to be the impolite girl by his side with a withdrawn pokerface. I can’t help myself, I just don’t like the fact that Iceland has been overrun by millions of tourists during the past years who only want to cross Iceland off their bucket list – at all costs. On the one hand, often unprepared for the weather and land or, on the other hand, over-motivated and equipped with neon-coloured outdoor ski caps in the middle of July.
Every time, I post images with Icelandic motifs on this little blog or on Instagram, I secretly fear that some prospective ‘bucket list’ tourists may find them appealing. And take them as an incentive to buy the largest selfie stick in town and get off to Iceland immediately. The target? To reside in newly built fancy hotels in downtown Reykjavík. To get crowded around the well-known tourist hotspots in masses of buses. And eventually, to leave their footprints in the form of rubbish, trampled down fences or lucky charm coins thrown in hot springs. Thus, the latest oddity to take place in this “cabinet of curiosities” is a sunk rental car in beautiful, yet fragile Jökulsárlón. So sad.
Times are changing
At the same time, all these beautiful and unique spots in nature are less and less frequented by locals – may it be for the selfie stick invasion that destroys any subtle atmosphere, may it be for the increasing prices. Did you know that the special discount that was granted for Icelanders only at the Blue Lagoon has been given up lately? Instead, they invested in a new, superficial floor inside the pool to make the lagoon even more attractive for tourists. No, I don’t want to be lamenting endlessly, I’m just saying…
For my part, I don’t need no bucket list. It’s lovely to get back to places that I once fell in love with and to explore them further again and again. In addition, I try to learn the language first (for at least three months or so) before I enter a new country that I want to be part of for several weeks or months, or even forever. In contrast to Óskar, I may be an impolite and stubborn fellow at times, but I prefer locals (or respectful travelers) to invading bucket list tourists who try to inhale the uniqueness of this country all in one breath. Without bearing in mind the environmental, social and cultural consequences of ‘fast tourism’, based on spectacle and superlatives only. That’s what makes this wonderful place on earth less enjoyable for the rest of us.
So, let’s look forward to a happy weekend.
At the end of the day, we saw this pictogramish black couple at the water’s edge. It turned out to be grandfather and grandson. Since their body size was somewhat comparable to (huge) Óskar and (tiny) me, I subconsciously decided to stick this picture to our very own memory. As if it was the two of us standing side by side.
Shearling jacket: Only | Leggings: Asos | 6 inch boots: Timberland