Earlier this month, during my trip to the west of Iceland, one great highlight was a whale watching boat trip, organised by Laki Tours, in the waters of the North Atlantic off the Snaefellsness peninsula.
After some extreme weather caused a postponement, the trip was rescheduled to the final day of my time in Iceland and was also moved from Grundarfjörður to Olafsvik in order to be closer to the most recent sightings of whales.
There seemed to be about 50 other people gathering for this trip at the appointed time and place, one by one our names were checked and we were given a weatherproof all-in-one suit to wear for the voyage. I wondered whether I would need this seeing as I was already wearing more layers than ever before.... but at the prospect of being in the open air on the open ocean for a few hours in winter conditions I decided just to put the suit on top of what I already had. Good decision.
After we boarded the boat, it was time to choose where to stand. As I was hoping to take pictures of any whales that we might see I wanted to try and have a good vantage point that would be as free as possible of people so that I could be a bit flexible in my own position. Based on this guesswork, and an assumption that the whales could appear in any direction at any time, I decided to start off at the back of the boat on the lower level... which was deserted compared to the forward sections of the boat.
Luckily this day was the calmest and clearest of my seven day spent in Iceland... but there was still a pretty strong wind. This was just right to allow the many sea birds in the area to either position themselves against the wind and hover motionless without effort... or fly with the wind at their back and achieve remarkable speed.
As we made our way from Olafsvik, heading west in a line roughly parallel to the shoreline of the Snaefellsness peninsula but a couple of miles offshore, the sea quickly imposed its own rhythm on the boat. For those, like myself, who have not spent a great deal of time on boats, the rolling and heaving might take a little while to get used to... but after a few minutes it became a lot easier to deal with. This was however the North Atlantic and it was most important to have something to hold on to if you were to remain upright and onboard (both of which seemed like a good idea).
The guides for our trip kept us well informed at all times, using the PA system of the boat to firstly explain what we were doing and where we were going, then to indicate the location of any sightings (using points of the clock relative to the boat - e.g. "killer whales at 3 o'clock") and also to provide great information about the animals we were seeing and points of interest on the shoreline that we were passing. The guides showed real knowledge and expertise, they were scientists and conservationists rather than tour guides and that made a big positive difference to the experience.
It was not long before the first killer whales were sighted, at 12 o clock... not much use for me at the back of the boat... and at 6 o'clock - now we are in business.
The first sight of these amazing animals was a great moment... but it immediately became clear that this was not going to be easy from photography point of view. I am very used to fast moving and unpredictable targets, birds provide a great example of that kind of challenge... but when you are photographing birds you usually have the option of remaining still while trying to follow them.
In this case the boat was generally moving in a certain direction, but rolling and heaving to a greater or lesser extent while doing so. The sea was also moving significantly, the waves easily high enough to conceal a fin or a tail for a second or two. The whales themselves also move, and spend the majority of the time underwater... which of course renders them invisible. Finally the photographer is also moving, trying to compensate for the motions of the ship and maintain a view of the expected whale location.
Luckily, the whale sightings were regular and frequent. Possibly 20 or 30 occasions in total during the 3 hour trip although not all of those were visible from all parts of the boat. This allowed for some practice and a chance to try and refine the ideas of how to photograph them. An additional challenge was the randomness of where they would appear. They could be 100m away... or suddenly appear 10-15m away. For this a zoom lens was a real benefit so that you could adapt to the situation. I used a 100-400mm lens but if I was doing it again I think that a 70-200mm f4 might be a good choice. With longer focal lengths the motion of the ocean and the movement of the whales made it extremely hard to keep the target in the frame... especially when it was necessary to hold on to the boat with one hand. A 70-200 f4 would still give some reach and some flexibility while being a little bit smaller and lighter, all of which would be helpful in keeping the target in the frame.
Next, we had a great positive surprise, a sperm whale had been sighted - the first one of the season.
Our guide was most excited by this and told us what to expect, a big breath and then the flukes raised high into the air as it dived for the depths. I positioned myself and watched... following the whale with my right eye through the viewfinder and the other eye directly. I heard the guide commentating on the event, I saw it with my left eye... and watched with horror through the viewfinder as the motion of the boat positioned someone else between my camera and the whale at just the wrong moment. My left eye saw the iconic sight of the mighty tail above the water... my right eye saw the camera taking an out of focus picture of the jacket of the person in front of me. At this point some descriptive words expressing a hint of disappointment may have escaped my lips but I shall not record those here.
There was no time for remorse... the action was happening thick and fast... a killer whale was following us.
Now I could certainly say I had pictures of killer whales... but what I wanted was good pictures of killer whales. I tried to evaluate what that would be now that I understood the possibilities a bit better. There were two things coming to my mind, firstly I wanted to see the head of the whale... not just the fin, not just the tail... the head. This was a bit tricky because you have to be shooting at the time the whale breaks the surface, not reacting after the event... and up until that instant they are almost completely invisible. The second thing that came to my mind was to find an opportunity to capture whales with a bit of a wider view, showing the mainland and the snow covered mountains in the background. That was a less demanding shot... but required the right angle to avoid the harsh sunlight and also required a cooperative whale.
The experience of seeing these animals continued to be awesome while the perfect pictures continued to be elusive... fin, tail, out of focus, out of frame, fin... I started to question whether these particular whales actually had heads.
At last... a whale with a head!
Then I found a new difficulty :) I spotted a killer whale a fraction of a second before it emerged, it was close enough, I did my part with the camera, I got a shot.... and realised that the splashes of water that accompanied its emergence would prevent the whale's head from being visible... but now at least I had a picture with a blowhole visible.
This was the closest I got to a good picture. I think that it would be easier a second time, and with a combination of skill and luck it would be possible to get some fantastic pictures from these trips, but it is far from easy.
The scenery on the shore was quite beautiful as we made our way back to Olafsvik. It was not the first occasion on this trip that I saw a church in the middle of nowhere at the foot of spectacular mountains... and it would not be the last.
Throughout our journey, the sea birds were flying happily overhead. I find identifying gulls to be very confusing as there are many different kinds and they change their look more than once on their way from juvenile to adult, inconveniently resembling other species at other stages. So... I am ready to be corrected in my identification attempts for the following individuals.
Overall this trip was a breathtaking experience. It was simply fantastic to be out in the Atlantic with these beautiful animals in their natural environment. The Laki Tours guides, with their obvious expertise and genuine affection for the whales made a great contribution to the experience and I think they made it as accessible as possible for all participants. I cannot recommend this highly enough, if you have the chance to go on one of these tours then be sure to grab it with both hands... or on second thoughts you should leave one hand free to hold on to the boat... but you know what I mean.
Until next time,
The second part of my West Iceland trip was focused on photographing the iconic Kirkjufell mountain and my base for three nights was the town of Grundarfjörður, only a 5 minute drive from Kirkjufell. I had also booked a whale watching boat trip with Laki tours which I hoped would allow me to photograph killer whales.
I allowed myself multiple days to ensure that I had a chance for different weather conditions and hopefully some auroras or starscapes at the iconic location, but I also had thoughts of driving north to see the cool rock formations at Hvítserkur if I had time to spare.
As I write this it still sounds like it was a good plan.
Upon arriving at Kirkjufell for the first time I felt... nothing much. I have visited many places where the experience of being there is amazing, but it is difficult to find a photographic composition that captures the feeling. For me Kirkjufell is the opposite. The Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and the Kirkjufell mountain provide possibilities for a great looking photograph, but in real life the place just did not speak to me.
The waterfalls, with the mountain peak in the background make for a compact and well balanced frame with around 25mm focal length. With a wider lens and a slight change of angle it is possible to make room for stars or auroras.
When approaching the place from the west you can see that the mountain which looks so symmetrically shaped from a certain angle, is nothing of the sort from most other angles. I had been looking for many kilometres to try and get the first glimpse of the mountain... turns out I had seen it all along and disregarded it as one of the "normal" mountains.
The waterfalls are in two groups, one slightly higher up the hillside and one slightly lower. From the famous pictures you get the impression that they are large and close to the mountain. In reality the scene is not so compact... the waterfalls are small and far away from the foot of the mountain - there is maybe 400-500m in-between. This is quite possible to solve from a photography point of view with the right choice of focal length, angle and perspective... but it left me a bit disappointed visiting in real life.
At Kirkjufell I was ready for photographing the scene in clear conditions, and I was ready for photographing the scene in icy and snowy conditions... but what greeted me was an ugly mixture. The waterfalls were iced over to a grotesque level... the water still flows despite the ice so it was just adding layer after layer of ice on top of each other. It sounds cool... but it looked stupid. The mountain was clear of snow but there were old patches of dirty snow here and there through the scene. The magic of post processing can deal with those to some extent but still the scene was quite messy. The weather was also unpleasant. Hmmm.
I retreated to my accommodation and checked out where I would have to be for my whale watching trip the following day, that now took on the role of the thing I was looking forward to most.
The weather was closing in and a storm was coming... that is sometimes very good news from photography point of view, depending on whether the conditions provide visible drama or just provide darkness and reduced visibility. On this occasion the storm provided nothing positive. The sunset time was obliterated, and so was the sunrise as very heavy winds and constant snow took control of the area. Visibility was about 75 metres and there were thigh-deep snow drifts here and there with other patches totally clear.
My car was blocked in by a snow drift so I left on foot and fought my way to Cafe Emil (great coffee and home made cakes) in the middle of town for my morning coffee. The walk was about 400m, during which time I saw three cars being pulled out of snow drifts by vehicles which I can only describe as monster trucks.
I could see no sense in driving in these conditions and decided to wait out the storm, looking rather enviously at great auroras and clear starry skies in the previous night's pictures from one of my friends who was in the south of Iceland at the same time.
As the morning progressed there were a number of new arrivals in the cafe. They were all wondering what had happened and I was able to understand from their conversations that the storm was very local... a few kilometres in either direction and things looked quite different.
After lunchtime the visibility improved a bit and, having extricated my car, I went back to Kirkjufell where the scene was quite different than the day before, but still not exactly beautiful.
The high winds and minimal visibility had unsurprisingly caused the cancellation of my whale watching trip, I rebooked it for two days later, the last full day of my trip, so I really had to hope for no further weather disruptions.
As evening fell, the weather calmed down a lot, and started to clear. I was finishing a rather good pizza at 59 Bistro Bar in the town when the aurora app on my phone alerted me to the northern lights possibilities for the evening and I was soon on my way back to Kirkjufell.
I arrived at the empty car park and made my way towards the waterfalls. Although the car park was empty I could not be sure that there would not be other photographers in the area so I slowly made my way up the icy trail without using my torch... a torch beam walking through your picture without your control is a total disaster for 90% of night photographs and the last 200m of the trail would be in the frame of anyone shooting the mountain at night. As it happened I was alone when I got to my position, but I set myself up in the dark, having learned to operate my equipment in darkness for just such a situation.
-- complaints section: skip ahead if you rather not read them --
Then it started. Headlights in the car park 400m away... shining into the scene... left on for many minutes. Then, one by one, other photographers made their way up the trail. Torches on full beam, shining here there and everywhere. More headlights, more torches. Perhaps 20 people in total, but one at a time or in small groups. Gradually they arrived beside me. Torches to find the way. Torches to set up their tripod. Torches to change their camera settings. Torches left on the ground shining into the scene while they mess around and talk to each other. Torches to my direction to see who was there (blinded!). The initial fuss took nearly half an hour, which felt like half a day to me... after that it was only occasional as someone needed to change their settings. I was not amused.
If you allow your eyes to get used to the dark and know your equipment you can function perfectly well in real darkness and not interfere with anyone else. If you have to briefly use a light then most lights have lower settings that can be used and also you can direct the beam in a way which doesn't disturb others. If there are some other people out at night causing a lot of light then thats one thing, but you would hope that other photographers might have some understanding of the consequences of their actions and act with a bit more consideration.
-- end of complaints section --
Eventually it was possible to take some pictures, but the northern lights were quite weak by that time and the clouds were coming and going.
On the way back to the hotel I tried to capture the auroras from the other popular Kirkjufell view, it looks almost like a sharks fin when viewed from the other side of the bay.
The following day provided a fresh start. After cloudy beginnings the weather became pleasant and sunny although still violently windy. The storm and the rearrangement of the whale watching had put an end to my ideas of traveling north to Hvítserkur but I felt like I could safely explore a bit closer to my accommodation.
I drove to Stykkishólmur where there is an interesting (but maybe not attractive) modern church in a nice little village.
I then decided to drive towards Ytri Tunga, a beach where there was a good chance to see seals, this having been recommended to me by the staff in Fosshotel Hellnar earlier in the trip. The weather was still bright and sunny but it had started to snow lightly and visibility was a bit difficult when the air was full of snow and the sun was in your eyes. The road conditions were still fine so I continued on my journey. When I arrived at Ytri Tunga, noting a car stuck in the snow near the car park and choosing my parking place carefully, it was indeed possible to see seals playing in the surf. Unfortunately the only angle to photograph them was strongly backlit which was not ideal... but it was fun to watch them for a while.
By now the conditions started to be a bit more extreme, the wind increased again and the snow was beginning to fall more heavily. I thought it wise to head for home.
One of the hazards of traveling in such an extreme but unfamiliar destination is that you can't always tell which routes to avoid. The shortest way back to Grundarfjörður meant taking highway 54 to Olafsvik so I set off on that route, encouraged by the sight of the occasional other vehicles taking the same route. This was not a good idea.
The road conditions became steadily worse as I continued, and I considered turning back, but there was a lot of snow and no places to turn. I could see that there was just a couple more kilometres to go so I decided to continue. As I came round a bend there was a sudden white out, the wind-blown snow and the low sun cutting the visibility to about 15m. I could still see the tall yellow poles at the side of the road so I followed those, I did not brake but I stopped accelerating, controlled a loss of traction pretty well and stayed perfectly in my lane while my car ploughed gently to a stop in the 85cm of snow that had blown in a large drift across about a 10 metre stretch of highway. Stuck. I could not move forward. I could not move back. Hazard lights on. Laugh at myself while feeling mortified that I had become one of those idiot tourists. Become somewhat concerned about my situation and start to put my thoughts in order.
It was about 45 seconds before a snowplough pulled alongside and the driver explained how he was going to pull me out. Clear snow from the front of the car. Find and uncover the recovery point. Find the hook in a tool set near the spare tyre. Attach hook to recovery point. Attach tow rope. Engine in neutral. Back to clear road. Remove rope, remove hook, cover recovery point. Thank my rescuer... many many times.
I would like to thank my rescuer once again here. What he did was hugely helpful, but the way he did it was also very impressive. He was friendly, patient, efficient and did not seem irritated in the slightest. He told me, with a smile, that he had already pulled out many tens of cars during that day, and by the time I was free there were three more cars within 100m waiting their turn for rescue. I imagine he dealt with those just as helpfully and efficiently.
The rest of the return to Grundarfjörður was comparatively uneventful, which was fine by me.
Somewhat reluctant to repeat the circus from the night before, I studied the weather forecasts. I decided to skip the evening session and forget the sunrise, hoping that I could get good conditions and some peace and quiet by going to Kirkjufell at 0400 the next morning. That would allow me about 90 minutes during the full night and the astronomical twilight where it would be optimal conditions for shooting any auroras or starscapes... with any luck no other idiot would be foolish enough to choose to shoot at this ungodly hour instead of in the equivalent light of the evening.
In something of a change of fortunes, this was a good decision :)
The sky was at least partly clear, some wispy clouds came and went. There were noticeable but not dramatic auroras. There were an incredible amount of stars... and it was possible to see the tail of the Milky Way. There were many good elements to play with.
As the astronomical twilight (the period when the sun is between 12 and 18 degrees below the horizon) progressed, the auroras faded away, but the clouds also thinned and it was possible to see the Milky Way more clearly.
When I look through the photos that I took during this period, I can see that it is not a universally good idea to get up in the middle of the night after many consecutive days with insufficient sleep. I don't think I was thinking as clearly as I could have when it comes to composing my shots and if I was to be critical then I feel a little bit like I have baked some premium ingredients (i.e. kirkjufell + auroras + Milky Way) into a very ordinary cake.
After a couple of hours additional sleep I left my accommodation and was returned to something approaching consciousness by the excellent coffee in Cafe Emil. The rest of the day would have two main parts, the first and most exciting would be the whale watching trip while the second was the more tedious prospect of driving for many hours to get somewhere close to Keflavik airport ahead of my return flight in the morning.
I think that the whale watching deserves its own blog post, so I will leave details of that for next time. Stay tuned.
The wind was still quite heavy, the road conditions were questionable, and I would have to do much of the driving in the dark, so I tried to limit my stops on the return journey as much as possible. I tried to time it so that I could take a final look at the black church in Búðir at around sunset time. The snow over the previous days had given a new look to the area and it was nice to be there again... despite the three drones zipping about over my head as I tried to take some final pictures.
As I arrived there the afternoon sun was leaving its final marks on the snow covered mountains and the white covering gave the place a peaceful look.
The combination of the heavy winds and the plentiful snow meant that there were many wind-sculpted snow dunes in the area and for my final picture of the trip I tried to make use of those.
Overall, this trip was absolutely fantastic. Iceland is an amazing place to be and provides wonders around every corner, it was great to be there once again. It is not, however, an easy place to be when the weather is harsh and I felt like every day was a battle against something or other. It was tough. From photography point of view it is a great challenge, and one that I am happy to have taken although I consider the results to be a bit of a mixture - some successes and some disappointments.
Thanks for following my blog.
Until next time.
Last week I made my second visit to Iceland, and once again it seemed like my flight had managed to land on a different planet - it is such an extreme and other-worldly experience to spend time in that country. As this trip was a bit longer I will split my field report into multiple blog posts.
My previous visit had taken me along the whole south coast of Iceland, this time I decided to concentrate on West Iceland and the Snaefellsness peninsula. My resting place on the first evening was near to the port of Akranes but I decided to take the scenic route from the airport, driving through Þingvellir national park and visiting the beautiful Bruarfoss waterfall.
Bruarfoss might be the smallest waterfall I have visited in Iceland, but it may also be the most beautiful. The glacial waters have an amazing colour and the river takes a nice winding course via a couple of pools just after the falls. It was also slightly difficult to find... but it was worth some extra effort and I got there eventually.
From Bruarfoss I continued a short distance further inland to visit the thermal area at Haukadalur where there are many active vents, including Geysir - the first widely known example of its kind, responsibile for contributing the word geyser to the English language. These days Geysir is active only intermittently while it's near neighbour Strokkur is much more reliable, spouting water and steam 30m into the air every few minutes. This was an area that was amazing to witness, and to smell, but not really to photograph - the surrounding terrain was a bit of a muddy mess and there were hundreds of people in the way.
I continued to Akranes where I watched the sunset near the old and new lighthouses.
I had understood that there should be an old abandoned boat in a slipway near to the harbour in Akranes and I planned to try and photograph that the following morning... but having explored where I thought it should be, and a few other places as well, I could not find it. Luckily the port was an interesting subject without the abandoned boat and the still waters made for nice reflections in the hours before sunrise.
After my night in Akranes I again took a detour inland on my way up the west coast. Repeating the formula from the day before I headed for the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss (a hundred metres apart - very convenient).
These waterfalls were both fascinating to look at, but when it came to photographing them I did not find inspiration easily. One problem was the light which was too harsh and direct but the other people at the location were perhaps more of an impediment to me.
There were some areas that were fenced off, with many signs asking people to stay behind the fences to protect the vegetation that was holding the riverbank together. I can admit that I have sometimes disregarded such boundaries where doing so involved minor trespassing or minor danger, but in this case I thought that the signs made a sensible request and I decided to respect them even though that meant giving up the best shooting positions. Other photographers had made a different judgement and the protected area was full of people... which, as well as being a bit stupid and disrespectful in my opinion, also meant that they were blocking out the view for anyone trying to observe or photograph from the permitted area.
In the end these obstacles worked to my advantage as I looked for alternative compositions in the area. About 40-50m upstream from the main torrents at Barnafoss I spotted an area where there was a rapid flow of glacial water framed by volcanic basalt and decorated by icicles. A long lens allowed me to capture an other-worldly shot which was quite different and unique despite standing at a popular place surrounded by photographers and selfie-hunters who were all taking the same shots that thousands had taken before.
My next port of call was at Deildartunguhver, another thermal area, this one harnessed for the benefit of the Icelandic population. Boiling water emerges from the depths at a rate of about 180 litres per second and this provides hot water and central heating for most of the houses within a 65km radius. The 64km hot water pipe to Akranes is the longest in Iceland and the water is still about 80 degrees celsius when it arrives at the other end.
After returning to the coast the scenery was quite beautiful on the drive towards the Snaefellsness peninsula.
It is actually a "big problem" from photography point of view because if you stopped every time you got fascinated by the view you could only cover about 10km in 24 hours. When visiting a new part of the country it is extremely difficult to know whether it is a good idea to try and find a place to stop and walk back to shoot. The amazing photos that you imagine from a fast moving car are often illusions, your brain is remarkable in its ability to edit out obstructions and distractions in real time but the camera is not so clever, every power line, bush and rock is fully visible in the photo when you return to the spot. It is very often (but not always) the case that when you stop you end up disappointed and also late for your real destination... and it is also very often the case that you end up full of "maybe I should have..." thoughts any time you don't stop. I have struggled with this on every kilometre of both my Iceland trips.
Eventually, after regretting multiple stops and multiple non-stops, I made it to my next highlight - the black church at Búðir.
This tiny church, in the middle of nowhere, in the shadow of mountains and glaciers, was maybe my favourite destination of the trip. I scouted it out as well as I could before continuing to my accommodation at the Fosshotel in Hellnar. Normally on my Iceland trips the accommodation has been functional and basic but this was a number of steps up from that without a corresponding step up in price, and it also has a nice restaurant. I highly recommend staying here if you are in the area.
After dinner I did some scouting of the nearby attractions and realised I was rather exhausted... I decided to get some sleep, but first I thought to check that the aurora forecast (which did not look encouraging) was correct.
Any time there is a chance to photograph auroras that takes priority over sleep... so I drove the twenty something kilometres back to Búðir.
The little black church is unfortunately (from photography point of view) rather harshly illuminated at night, creating a massive difference in brightness within any scene. Some other photographers had the good idea to cover the main light with a towel which mitigated the problem slightly... and they also had the less good idea of continuously waving their torches around in order to see well enough to adjust their camera settings. It does not take much unwanted light to completely ruin an exposure.
After an insufficient amount of sleep it was time to go back to Búðir once again... this time for the sunrise.
As usual it is the time before the sun appears which is the most interesting, the colours are often quite magnificent and the soft tones are a lot easier to capture than the harsh light and shadows that dominate after the sun makes its entrance.
The area near Hellnar has some beautiful cliffs and beaches, as well as a lighthouse. My plan was to try and add some good seascapes to my portfolio. I am often drawn to that kind of scenery, and very much like other people's seascape pictures, but my own efforts have never been quite as good as I would hope.
At Londrangar there is a good vantage point and a spectacular view over the vertical cliffs, full of nesting gulls... but the composition would benefit greatly from taking 5 steps to the left. Any attempt to do so would not be that wise as the 50m drop to certain death in the Atlantic would rather disrupt your photography session. A drone would be helpful in this situation... but I would like to resist that temptation, I find the constant buzzing of other peoples drones rather irritating and it is an increasingly regular phenomenon at all places of photographic interest, it really takes you (and everyone else) out of the peaceful beauty of a location. Maybe when they are completely silent and one quarter of their current size I can think again.
A short trip around the coast from Hellnar you can find the black sand beach at Djúpalónssandur. As is often the case in Iceland, the prospect of imminent death is waiting for you at this attraction, and you enter at your own risk. In this case the peril is provided by "sneaker waves" as it is in the beaches near to Vik in the south. The beach slopes gently down to the shore, but just beyond the shore it drops off rapidly, creating conditions that are just right for occasional waves to come 15 or 20 metres further up the beach than the waves coming before or after. If you are swept out by one of these sneakers, you will not make it back. As if this danger was not enough, the beach is also guarded by a fearsome Troll woman :)
The beach itself is beautiful as well as deadly, a typical Icelandic black sand and black pebble beach with interesting volcanic rock formations.
Having survived the deadly beach it was time to make my way towards the second part of my trip which I would spend in Grundarfjörður near to the iconic Kirkjufell mountain. The journey from Hellnar to Grundarfjörður would take a little over an hour if you managed to drive without stopping... but such things are almost impossible in Iceland so it took me nearly 3 hours.
One of the regular features of the scenery in Iceland is the lovely Icelandic horse, my friend Bragi Ingibergsson has many beautiful pictures of these animals and I wanted to get at least something to remember them by from this trip.
Besides the horses, another regular feature of the Icelandic scenery is abandoned buildings and machinery in the middle of nowhere. I suppose that the tough conditions will inevitably defeat some of the human settlers and then the low temperatures help to preserve the ruins, such scenes are typical on many of the routes I have driven.
My trip reaches its half way point... and I will save the rest for my upcoming posts.
Thanks for reading my blog and have a good day!
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