During a recent visit to Iceland, I arrived on the tail end of a mild winter. Instead of crisp sunny days, we found ourselves inundated by snow, rain and the full force of the North Atlantic’s winter fury.

At one point, on our way back from a national park an hour (in good weather) from Reykjavik, the country’s capital, the road became impassible and we waited nearly 2.5 hours for an emergency crew to clear the way. Luckily the car’s studded tires safely brought us back to Reykjavik and left us time to explore.

Despite the grey, overcast skies, the photos from Reykjavik (below) illustrate the cities subdued and unique beauty. Near the port, bike racks shaped like bicycles wait for the city’s many commuters. Even during blizzard conditions, bikers threaded their way along bike paths covered in inches of snow.

Throughout the city, old and new architecture converge in a balance of low-slung homes and medium height high rises. (The country’s tallest building is only 20-floors).

At the 871 +/- 2 Museum, built above an ancient Icelandic settlement (and the centerpiece of the museum), the architectural styles organically blend into a living timeline of the country’s past, present, and future.

Iceland’s worth a visit any time of year but I especially want to visit in the summer when long days and lush countryside thawed from winter’s icy blanket draws visitors into its rugged wilderness.

Stay tuned for pictures from an Icelandic summer…but for now check out the photos below and as usual, click on the first image to view the photos full size.