Focus on Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Focus on Iceland

Focus on Iceland

Published May 25, 2009

This travel book from 2008 is built around 600 photographs by Rafn Hafnfjörð, a well-established Icelandic photographer known for his photographs of Icelandic landscape and sceneries. The text is supplied by Ari Trausti, a poet and geophysicist, whose works concern geology and volcanology, as well as environmental science. Therefore, he is certainly an eligible co-author for a travel book about Iceland. The book is composed in a very simple way. The pictures – organised three to four to a page – follow a route from just outside Reykjavík, north up the ring highway heading to the Westfjords and on to Akureyri, and, from there, due east to Egilsstaðir, finally returning to Reykjavík. Each picture is accompanied with a three to five sentence explanation, providing background information on the origin of names and significance of the places.  On the back cover of the book the reader can find a map of Iceland, marked with page numbers corresponding to the images preceding it. On the front cover is a small road map of Iceland.
    The guide starts with an introduction to Þingvellir. No chapter numbers, headlines or table of contents are provided, making it seem unorganised at first glance. Considering that this is a photographic travel book, the images are slightly too small to really convey the beauty of the places therein. Some of them don’t even show anything special. This could have been circumvented by placing just one or two photos on each page, thereby giving them more ample space and, in the process, possibly providing even more impressive ideas of the locations.
    The information alongside the pictures is clear and brief, but after having read the short explanations the reader is sometimes left longing for more. For a deeper understanding of the natural wonders and further insight into Iceland as a country of geological amazement, another book would be required reading. Moreover, a slightly larger map on the back cover would be helpful in order to get a a better idea of the vicinity of the sights to the main highway. Still, “Focus on Iceland” is a solid, easy to use guide for tourists seeking ideas of when and where to stop during their circuit of the island.


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