Iceland Adventure February 2015
Susan and I flew to Iceland on Monday 9 Feb. We flew
Southwest to Denver and connected to an Iceland Air
red-eye which got us to Iceland (very) early on
Tuesday the 10th. We took a Gray Line bus from
Keflavik to Reykjavic and got an early check-in
to our Iceland Air Hotel in the marina. The hotel
was swell. Our room had a (snow-covered) balcony
that looked out at a shipyard. We were in time for
and excllent buffet breakfast. Smoked salmon...
We spent Tuesday walking around Rekjavik, finding the
Gadventures meeting point, etc. English was spoken
On Wednesday, we signed up for the Golden Circle tour
which was fabulous. It was on a large bus with a
guy doing narration about the history of Iceland
and various points of interest. We visited
Thingvellir national park
(the only place on land where seafloor
spreading can be seen),
and Geysir hot
spring area. And, we visited a little church and a
geothermal power plant.
After the tour, we had a little adventure finding
a swimming pool/spa. But it was magnificent!
Indoor and outdoor pools (50 meters!) and outdoor
hot tubs (38-44C).
Thursday was spent on walkabout.
Of note was a sculpture in the harbor area.
It was a straw stupa about 30' high with a path
winding around it to the top.
We, of course, climbed it (we were later told
it was forbidden).
It had a traditional fish-drying rack at the top.
we met up with Connie and Franz, friends from Germany
(the Iceland trip was something about meeting half-way).
Gummi (Gudmundur Ingi Bjornsson) was our CEO
(Chief Experience Officer) for the Gadventures part of the
trip which was from Friday the 13th thru Monday night
of the Gadventures group compliments of Martin.
Gummi stocked the house where we stayed with ample groceries.
And he cooked two dinners. A marvelous fish dinner Friday
night and a 3-leg-of-lamb feast on Saturday night.
Gummi's parents registered with the government as atheists.
(Iceland has a state religion - Lutherans. The government pays
the clergy.) I asked if there were any repercussions for his parents.
He said that the government took care to see that his parents
taxes didn't go to supporting the state religion...
The population of Iceland is ~300,000 of which ~100,000 live
in Reykjavic. Everybody doesn't absolutely know everybody else
but they joke that there are only 2 degrees of separation in Iceland.
the group was walking around town, about to go to the flea market.
Gummi abruptly left the group and walked into the street to help
an elderly woman - his 99-year-old grandmother! She was quite
We visited the flea market, and also visited
Harpa, the impressive concert hall.
On Sunday, Connie, Franz, Susan and I did a walk in a lava tube.
It was very hard on me being crouched down with an icy footing
but it was an adventure.
The landscape was amazing.
Connie, Franz and I walked around town. We visited the
where they have unearthed a long house from ~871AD.
The group had a fine sushi dinner, after
which we took a little bus out to look for a hole in the clouds
through which we could see the northern lights.
Alas, the weather continued to not cooperate and
we returned to our house and went to bed disappointed.
But Susan was
up at 4AM and behold!
Northern lights visible from our house in Reykjavik!
Since the major purpose of the trip was to see the northern lights,
we present all the pictures I have access to:
(The "enhanced" version is what Picasa did with "I'm feeling lucky".
Unfortunately, what we saw is more like the unenhanced version.)
Vance's (sorry) aurora
(the last three are processed with "I'm feeling lucky" -
without that they are blank).
That ended the Gadventures part of our trip.
Connie and Franz did the Golden Circle trip
while Susan and I went to the
We stayed at the
Northern Light Inn.
The Blue Lagoon was pleasant, but after lunch
a bitter wind blew in.
We got out and tried to walk back to the Inn
but we turned back in a whiteout and caught the shuttle.
Connie and Franz (who were supposed to join us at the Blue Lagoon)
were in a bus that was blown off the road!
(No one was hurt.)
By the time they got to the Blue Lagoon,
it was closed due to the weather.
But we did share a good farewell dinner at the Inn.
Connie and Franz departed early Wednesday morning for Germany.
Susan and I took a bus to Keflavik (where the airport is)
and spent the night at the
We walked around the village, saw a fascinating museum
(which I can't find on the web) which had,
among other things, an amazing collection of fishing boat models.
There was a nice
cafe which had Indian food in addition to
the standard fish and lamb.
On Thursday, Susan and I took a walk along the bluff and caught
a plane to
Odds and ends:
There were about 8 hours of daylight.
The geothermal activity is omnipresent.
They have cheap electricity and the water is used
for heating everywhere.
We were told that there are ~85 people in prison in Iceland.
Including some bankers...
For the masochistic:
All of Vance's
Most of Susan's