Looking for something new to explore in the rain, I suggested “ Gerðuberg“. It is not too far off the main road and provides an opportunity to walk up close to a cliff wall of basalt columns.  

A hiker on top provides a perspective. The basalt columns are huge.

It didn’t look like much from a distance, but looks can be deceiving. We traveled a few kilometers down a rough, single lane, gravel road dodging the potholes until we reached a small flooded parking lot. It was still raining and we were not impressed. A few people picked their way through the mud, puddles and stream to reach the hillside of basalt rubble. 

The fall colors add interest to an otherwise dreary scene

In the distance, I spied a small and simple church with much more appeal. We forded the puddles and streams and another couple kilometers of potholed gravel. The church was surrounded by colored canyon walls. There were sheep all around. Peaceful and serene, I deemed it photo-worthy. 

Idyllic Iceland church setting complete with sheep

We had just gotten out of the car to photograph the scene when I noticed a tour bus in the distance. Why would a tour bus visit these basalt columns? They are nice but certainly not worthy of a tour bus stop. I kept watching as the bus worked its way down the gravel road and through the flooded areas. It wasn’t stopping at the basalt columns. Perhaps, it was using this route to bypass some other mishap on the main road? Then the unthinkable occurred. The tour bus turned down the path toward this tiny church. The sheep scattered and we would have too, except now the bus blocked our exit.

Dozens of tourists descended from the bus onto this little church

The idyllic scene was lost as the tourists poured from the bus. Trapped, we waited until the “tour” finished. The charm of the scene was now tarnished. Di we left after the bus.

Sometimes remote is not really remote. Remember, it’s all about the light.


Photographer’s notes: The rain drenched scene and overcast skies added a richness to the fall colors. The camera’s sensor captured an extra depth that was not apparent when we were standing in front of the basalt cliffs.

Church: Ytri-Rauðamelskirkja