Saturday, February 23, 2008
Surviving at 66 Degrees North - in Iceland
We had a fantastic trip to Iceland! It was short, but very fun and we enjoyed every moment! Here's a brief photo journey through our 4 days there:
Day One -- Arrived in Iceland at 1 am our time and 7 am their time after a 5 hour flight. We were pretty wiped-out and desperately hoping our hotel would allow us to check-in early so we could take a nap! You can see from this picture of our room, that at 8:30 am (when we were able to check-in!!), it was still dark outside! After a 4 hour nap, we started our exploration of Reykjavik, by hiking up to a view point near our hotel. The city looked beautiful, dressed in a dusting of snow. After our short hike, we explored downtown a bit, found a cute pizza pub for dinner and returned to crash at our hotel.
Day Two -- Today, we'd arranged to take the Golden Circle Tour which was to take us to some of the natural wonders within a few hours driving distance from Reykjavik. The weather today was probably the worst of our 4 days, snowing nearly the entire day with fairly high winds. Not the best for sight seeing, but we made the best of it (of course!). Our tour guide spoke excellent english, but had a few funny things...1, she pronounced Viking as Why-king and due to the extensive Viking history in Iceland, said this word A LOT; 2, she pronounced geyser as gay-sir and 3, was very harsh in her warning about not referring the Icelandic Horse (which is the size of a pony), as a pony...which of course only made us want to call it a pony even more!
Our first stop was at a crater lake, not quite as impressive as Oregon's by fun nonetheless:
Our final stop was at Thingvellir National Park - where parliment convened for several hundred years beginning in 930 and also where the European & North American tectonic are slowly pulling apart, by about 2 cm per year, creating cracks & faults which fill with magma...which we of course went into to explore.Day Three -- We awoke to see a tiny bit of SUN from our room for the first time since we arrived. It was incredible to see how excited that made us. We spent the day walking all over Reykjavik and enjoying having "morning" light all day since the sun never rose higher in the sky than that due to how far north Iceland is.
After our day of trekking all over the city, we were definitely ready for a soak at the Blue Lagoon -- an unbelievable spa out in the middle of a giant lava field. We arrived in the middle of a snow storm and as it was getting dark, so these photos definitely don't do the place justice! It was simply incredible - a man made hot pool nearly the size of a football field, with soft silica mud lining the bottom, with a restaurant, bar, multiple saunas, waterfalls, etc. It was a perfect end to a great day!
Day Four -- Although sad that this would be our final day, we happily wandered into town again for a little more sightseeing...when we left our hotel in the morning, we could see a little bit of sun and were excited by that. We stopped in town at the 66 degrees north shop to see about buying a hat (they were close to $40, so we skipped that!) and by the time we left the shop, we were in the middle of a sudden downpour of snow!