Volcanoes, Glaciers, Craters, Geysers, Hot Springs, Waterfalls and Sexy Stockings.
10.05.2011 - 14.05.2011 14 °C
Iceland - WOW! It's amazing. As we were flying from Seattle to Iceland a fellow passenger who was connecting on asked us..."Iceland?!? Why?!? What's to see in Iceland worth staying for?!?" Well....let me tell you:
We arrived at 6:25AM Iceland time after a 7 hour flight and a 7 hour time difference. So when we arrived in Iceland we were operating as if it was midnight but we had to adjust to the fact that it was 6:30AM not yet having had a wink of sleep. Ouch. But guess what - worth it!!
Day 1. Arrived very jet legged, went straight into Reykjavik via fly bus. The drive in was spectacular in itself. It's one big volcano! The land all around is broken, black volcanic rock. Growing moss in some areas is the only bit of green. It's different than anything I've ever seen before. At the apartment we woke up our friend Greg (who arrived the day before) to announce our arrival. Then we went to sleep for an hour or so (sorry Greg! haha!). SO hard to get up but I guess that's what it takes to get into the local time zone. We had some food at Cafe Paris (I know this is a little funny but it turned out to be a good choice). We poked around Reykjavik for a bit and in the afternoon the boys had some beers and I went for another nap (while Ash and Greg were yelling at me not to be a wimp). In the eve we went for traditional Icelandic food with fish stew, Icelandic Haggis, dried/salted fish and Minke Whale. I tried the Whale and I didn't really like it. Gamey tasting and not cooked enough for me. The fish stew was just ok and I choose not to try the rest of the items. I think Greg enjoyed it which is good. Just not for me I guess!
Day 2: Super Jeep Tour!!! 8am start. Me, Ash, Greg, a girl Stupa from Czech Republic and the Tour Guide Ali. What a day. It was the most beautiful, scenic hike I've ever done. Not to mention the steaming lava at the top!!! Yup, we saw the lava from last years eruption up close and personal. And it's still steaming from the eruption a year ago!! Getting to the beginning of the 20km hike was a blast in itself. The guide drove us in a super jeep with super jacked up tires. Around the boulders and rivers?!?...nah, over em!!! haha. It was AMAZING.
Þórsmörk Volcano Hike - Iceland
Day 3: Golden Circle Drive. Ash, Greg and I rented a car and hit the road. Good 'ole Vivian (our GPS lady voice) took us on the ultimate tour. I'm pretty sure the GPS must have been set on "scenic route" or perhaps "slowest route". Anyway, we didn't mind. Viv's directions just made the drive that much more interesting. An extra few kilometers and dirt roads to get to our destinations – no big deal!
First stop = Gullfoss (Golden Falls). A beautiful waterfall that plummets down into a crevice. What amazed me here was the very low (about knee height) rope barrier located very close to the edge of the rock. I was shocked at how close we were able to get to the falls with no restrictions. A little scary but allowed for a great view!
Second Stop: Strokkur Geyser (a water spouting hot spring). There were many hot springs and geysers in this area including the 2nd largest called Geysir which erupts after earthquakes and last erupted in 2000. Strokkur Geyser however, erupts every 8-10 minutes so we had a chance to see it spout water at least a few times. What an amazing site!
Third Stop – Þingvellir. The continental divide between North American and European tectonic plates. One of the few places where the divide can be clearly seen by massive cracks or faults in the earth. This was a very cool view of what the earth can do during quakes and just over time in general. A little unnerving if you think about it while you are there though because it’s probably about the last place you want to be if a quake happens. Sorry, no pic - camera battery died, boo.
OK…on to Reykjavik nightlife! Wow…the girls are TALL! And many very blonde (naturally!). And the current ladies fashion trend in Iceland without a doubt is – fancy stockings and an incredibly short skirt. And I mean every girl was wearing this. There was one girl in the bar wearing jeans - it was me! Haha. I really didn’t fit in with my backpacker style! I still very much enjoyed a couple of local beers - Gull and Thule. Yum! On the way home from a night out just a little before 2am the sun was already well on its way up. So strange!
On our way to the airport we stopped at the Blue Lagoon. It’s a geothermal spa and probably the most relaxing place on the face of the earth. I just LOVED it! The mineral rich water leaves your whole body feeling relaxed and your skin feeling soft! For any future trips to Europe I will definitely try to organize a quick stop in Iceland just to go to the lagoon. We only had a few hours but I could have stayed all day.
Interesting Icelandic tidbits:
Approx population of 300,000 and about 200,000 of those folks live in Reykjavik. That makes for lots of room for quiet exploring! I recommend Arctic Adventure tours they have it all and our jeep tour/volcano hike was amazing
The Icelandic language is one of the closest to the original Viking language. They are one of the few who can read the original Viking writings.
They have the 2nd largest Geyser in the world which only goes off aftert earthquake activity. Another large Geyser in the same area (Sukkor) goes off every 8-10 minutes.
Iceland was amazing!! GO visit!
Off to the Middle East!
Denise & Ash
More Iceland pictures at: