Returning from Canada to Big Sky in Greece Con found a great flight leaving Vancouver Island through Seattle to Iceland and then into Europe. We took advantage of it and stopped in Iceland for four days, realizing that we'd just landed on “THE MOON”. Arriving in Reykjavik, in March, it's springtime. This Nordic island nation of Iceland, shows off its dramatic volcanic landscape, where geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, and black-sand beaches cover the country. Their energy comes from their tamed undergrown geothermal resource. And, if you’re into Viking history, they've got that too -- in their museums. And, if you’re into ice climbing or hiking and snowmobiling, they have national parks for that.
With our rental, we wanted to take in as much as we could for the few days we’d be spending there and drove right from the airport to the Blue Lagoon. The hot springs were fantastic especially soaking in the thermal hot water while hail thundered down and a white-out snow blizzard snow enveloped us.
The country is covered in black lava. I bet you didn’t know that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were there in the 60s to practice their moon walk.
From the photos, you might think our camera was set to black and white, but THAT'S the colour we're seeing.
By 9 am, we left our Reykjavik hotel heading out to travel part of the 300 km Golden Circle, a route that takes you passed five fabulous sites. Along the way we passed the Viking Horses, a hardy, thick-haired horse, but you’d have to be hardy to live out here. Our first stop was the famous geyser called, in Haukadalsvegur. (Like the Finns, they try to use all the letters in the alphabet in their words.) The geyser erupts every couple of minutes, beginning with the water bulging, and light coming up from below, then spewing 70 meters high in the sky with water temperatures 80 – 100 degrees Celsius. It was an incredible sight!
See Video: (allow buffering time by letting the video play through once, then drag the button back to the start for good viewing).
We drove further to the Gullfoss waterfall, parked and walked toward the lookout. Our first view looked like a massive river, The Hvita rages toward a crevasse and then disappears. A kilometer above the falls, it turns sharply and flows into a wide curved three-step staircase and then plunges in two stages down 32 meters. It was breathtaking especially with the snow and ice crystals filling the air.
See Gullfoss Falls Video: (again allowing buffering time).
Further along, we stopped at the geothermal power plant. It uses steam from a reservoir at 290 to 320°C – to generate electricity on a large scale. It's the first time that geothermal steam of such high temperature has been used.
March 16 -- We walked into the heart of Reykjavik last night for another delicious dinner. One price for four courses is popular here.
Another blizzard blew in during the night, and I listened to the snow crashing into our four large hotel room windows.
And, yesterday, I saw a huge Raven just in front of our window, on the ledge of the red house across the street.
Iceland is wildly different. It has the fewest people living there than any other country in Europe and I can understand why. It's a great place to visit, but living year round in such a volatile land (volcanically and geologically) would be difficult. It's made of sand, lava, mountains, and glaciers and surrounded by the North Atlantic.