Iceland. The land of Bjork, the Blue Lagoon and other worldly landscapes. And Puffins, those cute little birds that look like a cross between a toucan and a penguin. So flippin’ cute.
With just 48 hours in Iceland, I went with my friend, Robin and her daughter, Elizabeth. We wanted to dip our toes into the culture and get an overview of what all the fuss is about. When our tour guide told us about easy boat excursions that you could take from the harbor of Reykjavik to see some magical puffin birds, I was all in. So excited. Giddy, actually.
Back to the boat tour. Quick and easy, we saw a sign for the “Happy Tours” and waited for the boat to depart. Family owned, the son sold us tickets and was also the tour guide. His dad, the captain. I love supporting local businesses and this felt good.
While we waited, I pulled out my art journal and did a quick watercolor sketch. I find that having a compact selection of supplies on hand and being prepared is the best way to visually express the atmosphere of the day. I was so giddy with anticipation of the impending cruise and equally as excited for a few minutes to translate my experience onto paper. Keeping a creative art and travel journal is quite addictive and fun...
We boarded the “Saga”, a small boat, and around a dozen of us departed to a small island in the harbor that had flocks of the puffin birds.
Lately I’ve become a bit of a bird watcher ... feeding the ducks and moorhens at our local park in London, and eagerly watching the tiny birds feast on the setup I just put up in the backyard. Save for the pesky pigeons that keep finding their way to our backyard, I’m a little obsessed. Needless to say, I was super excited to see these cool puffins. There they were! Some were floating, some were on the shore, and all were on the lookout for yummy treats in the harbor. Fish!
Luckily, binoculars were provided since we got as close as possible, but needed a bit of a boost to see the details of the cute birds. I don’t own a super fancy camera, so it was hard to take up close images.
An hour later, we were back on shore and laughing about our fun and quick puffin tour. Ready for another adventure, we hopped on the “Wow” airlines city rental bikes nearby and cruised into town, gathering up more memories and laughs.
We stopped frequently to take photos of local street art, the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church and dodged plenty of locals and tourists along the way. I loved the Old Harbor area of Reykjavik and this iconic theater turned film studio, painted by Australian artist Guido van Helton.
And how about this magical unicorn in downtown Rekjavik by Lora Zombie...
And works by Deih can be found all over Rekjavik. Very steampunk in a colorful way...
The visual strength of this piece took me over and I could feel its presence as we were riding our bikes up a hill... I had to stop and take a quick snap. The mural feels super powerful and ominous all at the same time and fits right in with the otherworldly landscapes surrounding the capital city. Photorealism at its best by Swiss artist Wes21 Onur.
My love of puffins didn’t begin with this tour. It actually started last year when I did a month of painting birds for my daily art habit, #artjournaldjujour. I fell in love with the puffin when I painted it, who knew! And of course, I did the super touristy thing and bought a fun little stuffed puffin trinket for my daughter’s school bag. She loves it, and so do I.
More updates from my Iceland adventure to come.
Special thanks to my fabulous friend, Robin Holloway for providing many of the photos for this blog. I love you and adore you and can we do this again next year?