We noticed it was supposed to be a bit rainy and windy
Sunday in Iceland (the day Abby and Jack were arriving) but it wasn't until we spoke to
some locals that we realized it was actually the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal. It had hit a few islands in the Caribbean
(including Providenciales), risen north off the east coast of the US, and was
now pushed by the jet stream back across the Atlantic. Saturday we enjoyed “the calm before the
storm” and then woke up at 5am Sunday to experience it in full force. Seeing a flag pole blown over in the hotel
parking lot made us worry their plane wouldn’t be able to land but the front
desk guy assured us Icelandair flights land in everything as we ran out the
door and jumped in the car, getting drenched in the process.
After 45 minutes of white-knuckle driving to the airport, it
was encouraging to see the flight was still scheduled to land only a few
minutes late along with 4 or 5 others coming from the US. An hour later, the monitors said several
flights had landed but there were only a few passengers that had trickled out
of customs. Finally we learned that the
planes had landed but it was so windy they couldn’t pull up to the terminal, so,
as Abby said, they were left to rock like a boat out on the tarmac until it calmed
down. Finally they made their way off
the plane and we shuttled them back to the hotel so they could relax and
refresh a bit before we continued our adventure.
In a country known for a harsh environment of fire
(volcanoes) and ice (glaciers), the wind and rain really just added to the
experience. Heading east from Rejkovik,
our first stop of many natural wonders was Þingvellir to see the land where the
first Icelandic government would meet each summer (starting in 930) and the
intersection of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It was a beautiful area to hike around and
the wind was so strong at the lookout point, we felt like Weather Channel
reporters barely able to stand up straight.
|Abby couldn't see much but she was still excited about Iceland|
The second stop was the majestic and powerful Gullfoss
(Golden Falls). As we approached, the
land looked pretty flat around us and didn’t appear to be the type of place to
find a majestic waterfall.
Then we came
over the ridge and peered down at a massive volume of water flowing through a
deep crevice, stair stepping down over 100’ before taking a sharp left to
continue through the valley it had cut into the earth. It was awesome and one of those places where
pictures just can't do it justice. But
here are a few obligatory shots of us standing around it anyways.
Iceland is dotted with natural hot springs and relies
heavily on geothermal electricity so it’s no surprise they also have an area
full of geysers, appropriately named Geysir.
I was amazed with the variety of hot water and minerals that existed in
such small area. Some were big, some
were small, some were ferrous red, and some were deep blue.
|Words of warning based on past experiences with idiot tourists|
One in particular would erupt every 10-15
minutes with a powerful, well, geyser.
After the big adventure we were happy to jump into the warm,
dry car and head back to Reykjavík.
Along the way were some spectacular views of waterfalls after all of the
rain, and lots of Iceland’s famous wild horses that Abby adored (and tried to feed).
We briefly stopped at Kerið, a volcanic
crater lake most famous for being the site of a Björk concert where she
performed on a floating platform.
While naturally pretty, it’s on private land and the entrance fee of a
few dollars each made us regret diverting to see it.
|Yes, we saw the horses|
Back in the big city, Kristin got more baked goods at
Sandholt and we all enjoyed an awesome seafood dinner at Fiskfelagid. That night we also enjoyed the hot tub at another great Airbnb place Abby found and then a few
hours of sleep. What a perfect end to an
amazing trip. Thanks again to Abby and
Jack for giving us an excuse to go!!!
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