Iceland, Flatey Island & Látrabjarg

Jun 30, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


Arriving to a tiny, basaltic island surrounded by many other smaller islands and rocks covered in green and contrasting with a dramatic sky was just a great start to our expedition! 

Following the only road of the island we arrived at the oldest library in Iceland which dates to 1864 and holds a replica of a true treasure, The Flatey Book, the largest of medieval Icelandic manuscripts. Right next to the library is the church where Baltasar Samper did a remarkable painting with day-to-day scenes of the life in the islands and Bible representations, including Jesus wearing an Icelandic sweater. The blue, yellow, red, and green wooden houses made us feel like walking through a fairy-tale story accompanied by puffins, terns, guillemots, red-necked phalaropes, and oystercatchers. 

We faced the extreme power of geology when sailing along Látrabjarg, a 12-14 million year old lava formation cliff with 14 km and 440m high magnificent shelves perfect for millions of seabirds to nest.

As Svavar Knutur said, “there is nothing like embracing the places you travel to.” He shared with us the stories, tales, and myths of Iceland with his lovely melodies and charming storyteller personality. No one would describe us travelers better as he did in his last song:

Wanderlust

Ain’t it hard to have a home 
When all you’re longing for 
is to ramble and roam. 
It makes it hard to have a home. 

And ain’t it good to say goodbye 
Throw your troubles into the sky. 
Makes it good to say goodbye 

I have walked and I have strayed 
So many roads, so many ways. 
And I’ve stumbled, and I fell low, 
So much to see, so much to show. 

And ain’t it hard to have a home, 
When all you’re longing for 
is to ramble and roam. 
It makes it hard to have a home. 

And as the world, glides on by 
on a train, a tiny sigh 
leaves my mouth and greets the day, 
drifts on south, floats away. 

Ain’t it hard to have a home 
When all you’re longing for 
is to ramble and roam. 
It makes it hard to have a home. 

And ain’t it good to say goodbye 
Throw your troubles into the sky. 
Makes it good to say goodbye 
Makes it sweet to say goodbye 
makes it hard to have a home, 
but kind of sad to be alone.

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About the Author

Madalena Patacho

Naturalist

Madalena was born and raised in Portugal. Her childhood was spent in Belem, surrounded by Portuguese maritime monuments and history, always dreaming about exploring the oceans. Her love for nature has led her to study biology and later a Master’s in management of natural resources, specialized in ecotourism. She has lived on Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa, working with local communities on a responsible tourism project. She is inspired by the principles of ecotourism and is always looking for the best ways to contribute and leave a positive footprint everywhere.

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