1. Joschi Kuphal 吉: @BarnabyWalters Love it! Have been to most of these places ~18 yrs ago when I cycled around Iceland ... Had a pretty good time around Dalvík

    @jkphl oh wow, cycling all the way round is impressive! Was that in summer? How long did it take you?

  2. Fifth and final day around : started at Stykkishólmur (again, nothing much was open due to it being Easter Sunday), so had a look round a little islet by the harbour.

    A couple had left this decidedly antipermanent inscription on the lighthouse:

    Whoever T and L were, either they had decided that commemorating their visit and togetherness in a transient, antipermanent medium was profound and romantic, or they had completely misunderstood the whole “carve your names into a tree” thing.

    We headed a little way out to the miraculously open Shark Museum, an old barn filled with odds and ends related to Icelandic life, specifically fishing. The jovial old curator (who also plays organ at the local church) enthused to us and another tourist in Icelandic about how him, his father and his grandfather all hunted greenland shark, which grow up to 8 tonnes in weight and breathe through their skin (at this point he grabbed a piece of skin for us to feel). We were then adorned with old fishing gear and invited to eat some specially prepared hákarl — shark meat fermented for 6 weeks, then air-dried for 2-3 months. Most hákarl is disgusting (I have yet to meet an Icelander who actually enjoys eating it) but this variety was actually rather nice, if a little chewy.

    The weather turned murky so we shot off along the north of Snæfellsness to the westernmost tip, a mossy volcanic landscape reminiscient of parts of the south but significantly more unstable:

    Whilst the waves all the way along the the west coast of the peninsula were impressive, there was one tiny cove which seemed to focus them into huge, bizzare shapes. No photo did them justice, but here’s a taster of what it’s like:

    Barely one minute after tearing ourselves away from this particular natural phenomena, another one literally crossed our path — an Artic fox, repleat in dark reddish-brown summer coat. It didn’t hang around long enough to get a photo (presumably there is lots of important fox business to do in Snæfellsness), but it was an unexpected sighting which more than made up for the north’s disappointing lack of polar bears.

    Volcanic beaches with black sand, pebbles and cliffs can be found all around Iceland, but Drítsvík is a wonderful example of all three. It’s also the clearest example of being able to see how the jagged cliffs are eroded into pebbles and sand — not as wonderfully smooth a gradient as in the south, but a greater variety.

    Djúpalónssandur, next to Drítsvík, holds the remains of the British trawler Epine, which disintegrated off the Icelandic coast in 1948. Leaving the rusting remains on the beach is a surprisingly beautiful memorial:

    With that, the tour was almost ended and we headed back to Reykjavík. It’s been an amazing five days, with a bizzare menagerie of weathers, roads, towns and landscapes.

    This is the last of my daily photo posts, but expect a summary article (filled to the brim with Helpful Travel Tips like “dried cranberries are not sufficient hiking fuel”) when all the panoramas are stitched!

  3. Day 4 around photo summary: Dalvík, Siglufjörður, Hvítserkur.

    Today was the day everything we tried to look at was closed — Akureyri library, culture house, Siglufjörður Herring museum and Folk Music Centre, and the Glaumbær museum.

    At Dalvík I came across some rather nice abandoned industrial machinery including these pipes which were playing music in the wind:

    followed by some more snow-covered mountains before driving through the ≈20km of tunnels required to get to Siglufjörður

    Siglufjörður itself was beautiful, a tiny fishing town only accessible by sea, air or tunnel. Suitably, here it is shown through a smaller tunnel created by some old machinery outside the (closed) Herring Museum:

    Moving on across the fjords towards Stykkishólmur, we made a bumpy detour to Hvítserkur, a small but impressive arch just off the coast:

    Just opposite it in the cliffs was a small waterfall which had bought some rather nicely coloured stones down to the beach:

    Having finished off the north coast (for this trip at least), we headed south along road 1 before cutting up through a mountain pass towards Stykkishólmur. The despite the road showing up as green on road.is, it was some of the scariest driving in the trip so far — lots of snow on thin mountain roads. Thinking that André’s careful driving had got us through the worst, we pressed on, only to run into even worse weather! Eventually made it to Stykkishólmur and a trendy little hostel on the harbour.

    Tomorrow: Snæfellsness and back home to Reykjavík!

  4. Best thing about today’s travelling though? The wind. Although it prevented us from going north in the morning, it was some of the most amazing wind I’ve experienced yet. Seeing it via blown snow patterns was particularly satisfying.

  5. Day 3 around : churches, horses, REINDEER, snow, mountains, caves, more snow, more snow, mountains, Akureyri.

    Started out in Egilsstaðir, were going to head straight up north but the roads were closed so took a detour around a river+up a valley. Some more nice waterfalls, nothing so large as the previous days but just as much character:

    First interesting animal sighting of the day: Reindeer from afar!

    upon a mountain slope, several small, lightly coloured quadrupeds are shown

    Followed quickly by a closer animal sighting, some beautiful Icelandic horses:

    several stout horses stand in a group before a mountainside

    er, halló hrós! Make that much closer:

    a horse gets a little bolder, approaching the car — then MUCH bolder, nuzzling against the window

    Then off to Mývatn and the Grjótagjá geothermal caves, with one of the most unstable looking entrances I’ve ever seen at a tourist destination:

    The caves are impressive from the inside but can only really be appreciated once viewed from above:

  6. Second day around not as good weather as the first but excellent nontheless — unlocked various achievements:

    • ran around on moss as far as the eye can see
    • picked up hitchhiker
    • learnt French word for “superstitious”
    • touched glacier
    • walked on iceberg which then cracked
    • saw seals frolicking amongst icebergs
    • saw hexagonal basalt columns

    The moss plains were unreal, hundreds of square kilometres of landscape straight out of Nausicäa of the Valley Of Wind — compare:

    Ice pool:

    Mini iceberg:

    No glacier-breaking sound recordings unfortunately as I didn’t get a chance to make a hydrophone — next time! Also, many panoramas to follow when I’m back home and in photo-stitching mode.

  7. First day on trip round resounding success, many amazing things seen, photos taken, gravel walked in. Got back to Vík and all the food places were closed so ate a tortilla with peanut butter and crumbled choc chip cookie. Sufficient, minimum viable nourishment.


  8. Woke up, saw bright sun from window — “great, I’ll go rock jumping at Perlan”. Made breakfast (5 mins), hailing on other side of the house. Ate breakfast (5 mins), now snowing. Wrote this note (30 secs), now sunny again.

  9. Also last night: second try cooking horse meat from kolaportið — attempting to make edible via boiling on low heat for 4 hours. Afterwards it was significantly more tender but still fairly disgusting — would not recommend buying. Maybe as dogfood.

  10. Celebrating oneoldernessday at the office by finding my Icelandic name – it’s either Bjarndal (bear dale) or Bjarnhéðinn (bear skin, pronounced byarn-hey-thinn).

    The ever-awesome @briansuda and Ninja got me a copy of berglondon.com/products/svk — loving the affordances of having ink you can choose not to see, also pondering the possibilities of additive fanfiction where you add your own internal monologue/headcanon/background details in-place over the canonical storyline.

  11. Reflecting on 2013 with my . Biggest things personally have been making my second , moving to Iceland and meeting+working with all the great people over here. Lots of and progress, including a great indiewebcamp in September.

    Looking forward to 2014: more cooking, more indieweb progress, seeing more of Iceland, going to some gurdy festivals, improving hardware hacking abilities, connecting my gurdy and other devices to the web and each other.

  12. Ben Werdmuller:

    Here's what I want to do more of in 2014.

    It's traditional to create resolutions for the new year. I've been thinking a lot about where I want to take my work in 2014; these are some ideas.


    Specifically, I want to write more for other people, following from my previous work for the likes of ZDNet, IBM DeveloperWorks and Packt Publishing. I'm also interested in guest posting on blogs and sites around the web, about the social web, #IndieWeb, open source and responsible application development.

    Empower independent content creators.

    How can we put independent creators on a level pegging with the world's largest media companies? One thing I've been thinking about is that 24-7 news channels are obviously not a future-facing content medium given the web, where you can look up breaking news whenever you want, wherever you want, from whomever you want, without having to wait for a newscaster to restart their 30-minute cycle. Despite the ease of the web, leaning back and watching TV (or some screen) is sometimes pleasurable. Could you create a video newscast that aggregates stories from multiple providers based on your interests and context? Google News meets CNN?

    Help support niche communities on the web.

    The strength of the web is that we can all publish and communicate with each other, in a variety of different media, and it can all interlink as a single, continuous mesh of conversation and information. Unfortunately, that strength has been undermined by the proliferation of data silos, which make it harder to establish these kinds of links, and also limit certain kinds of content, topics and conversation through conservative design.

    There are so many things to talk about, in so many ways, and by limiting ourselves to the platforms that the likes of Facebook provide, and by funneling the value generated by our communities to those sites, we're not using the web to its full potential. I want to help support the full range of communities on the web, and help them be self-sustaining, so that the people who create safe spaces for niche topics can continue to maintain them.

    Idno is certainly a part of this idea, and I will continue to develop it as a first-class social publishing platform for both groups and individuals.

    Figure out open source for designers.

    Open source software suffers by treating designers like second-class citizens.

    The open source process for programmers is well-established: we have many different flavors of version control, and the tools that surround them are first-class. I'm as happy as I've ever been working with Git, and software like GitHub and GitLab.

    Working with design media is harder. Not only is it hard to represent visual changes using version control, and manage them in a sensible way using our project management tools, but even the accepted file formats for design work are closed. Photoshop comps are the norm, and UX wireframes often use closed software like Omnigraffle. That's because those tools are absolutely the best ones for the job, but standardizing on those formats make it harder to build open tools for design collaboration.

    Even with this aside, issue trackers are all written with source code in mind. Collectively, this all means that welcoming designers into an open source community is extremely difficult. Nonetheless, design is an extremely significant part of any software project. It's worth thinking about the first steps towards making this easier.

    Build bridges.

    It's hard to share from, eg, the Twitter app to my own website, whether it's based on Idno or something else. I'm planning on building a shim that allows me to do that more easily, based on Android's share dialog. But there's more to do. There are ways to take ostensibly closed platforms and find ways to pry them open. For example, functionality to share closed content by email can be used to integrate directly into other, open software. Other integrations are possible, exploiting "growth hacking" features designed to find more people to lock into these platforms.

    Work from everywhere.

    I've still never been to Seattle. Or Tokyo. Or Melbourne. And it's been too long since I was in London, or Oxford, or Edinburgh. I want to travel more, and use the fact that I can work anywhere there's an Internet connection - and that I am not responsible for a family at this stage in my life - to see more of the world.

    If you'd be willing to host me at your office for a few days, wherever you are in the world, let me know!

    @benwerd great resolutions! I’m sure we’d love you have you at visar.is if you’re headed to Iceland at all

  13. Last work morning of the year at Vísar today — really enjoyed the 9 months I’ve spent with the great people here so far. Looking forward to having a break before running a whole bunch of surveys in the new year!