Eye On Iceland

It is winter now in Iceland, but it will be spring before you know it and you’ll want to go there, so let me tell you what it is like when the days are long and it warms up (sort of).

Once again, we traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel. We went last May, an “iffy” month, still cold and often rainy, but fewer tourists. A good trade off. We began in the capital, Reykjavik, traveled along the southern coastline, up along the west side and across the northern edge. There was a lot of looping in and around since that’s the geography of the coast.

Reykajavik has about two thirds of the country’s 320,000 people, which makes Iceland a country of towns and villages more than cities.  Reykjavik’s newest addition, sitting right on the waterfront, is a stunning concert hall called Harpa, designed by Olafur Eliasson. This multi million dollar performance hall almost went belly up when Iceland went bankrupt but, lo and behold, funds were found to complete the project. This probably falls under the heading of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I’m glad they finished Harpa. Its facades of windows are spectacular even on a gloomy day. Inside or out, the struts and glass sections create amazing patterns.

IMG_2625 HarpaIMG_2632 Reykjavik Harpa

IMG_2609 Harpa

We spent a lot of time outdoors. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula gave us rain, wind and cold, but we could tell spring was approaching. The grass got greener and brave little flowers poked through the ground on the cliffs above the water.

IMG_2784 Snaefellsnes PeninsulaIMG_2789 Snaefellsnes Ntl. Park cliffsIMG_2808 Snaefellsnes Ntl. Pk

We had sunny weather on the day we visited a horse farm. The Icelandic horse is short, stocky and sturdy. And friendly. And cute!

IMG_2982  Icelandic Horse

This girl was more enamored of the flowers than the horses. I guess she’s used to them (the horses).

IMG_2953 Young Girl

Up and around we went to Akureyri, only forty miles from the Arctic Circle. A beautiful place.

IMG_3003 Akureyri

Waterfalls, craters and volcanic rock are plentiful throughout Iceland.

IMG_3029 Lake Myvten areaIMG_3035 Skutustadir cratersIMG_3040 Skutustadir cratersIMG_3048 Dimmuborgir volcanic rocks

Siglufjordur Village is Iceland’s most northerly town. Its promo name is Siglo (for those of us who are language challenged). It has a lively waterfront. We had sun!

IMG_3107 SiglocopyIMG_3109 SigloIMG_3120 Siglo

More beauty in Thingvellir National Park.

IMG_3156 Thingvellir Ntl.PkIMG_3179 Thingvellir Ntl Pk

More waterfalls in Gulfoss and Seljalandsfoss.

IMG_3221 Gulfoss WaterfallIMG_3316 Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Craters and hot springs in Geysir. The underground hot springs throughout the country provide Icelanders with almost all their energy (thermal). Also, volcanic eruptions!

IMG_3191 Geysir

Glacier hikes are popular. We put on crampons and “walked” (carefully) on the Solheimajokull Glacier, whose volcanic debris made the surface less than pristine. Here is my color photo in black and white sans Photoshop. I kid you not.

IMG_3273 Glacier

Before returning to Reykjavik we drove past farmland definitely showing signs of spring.

IMG_3247 Golden Circle route

A last look at Reykjavik from atop its striking Lutheran church.

STA_2684Reykyavik Panorama