Hello from Iceland! I am just getting ready to head back from a rainy, windswept holiday in this land of volcanoes and ice. The landscape is incredible, harsh and out of scale with the humans who walk on it. The mountains often look old and weathered, covered with moss, but the land is some of the newest to be found on earth – straddling two tectonic plates, Iceland is home to Rift Valley, where the Eurasian and North American plates push apart, and the shattered sidewalk is testament to the change seen there every year!
I took the opportunity to stand on both plates 😀
We set up in a little apartment by the harbor in Reykjavik, home to fishing trawlers and whale watching vessels alike, all set against and incredible backdrop of mountains. From there, we adventured: out into the nightlife of Reykjavik (the town really gets hopping around 1AM, although we mostly strolled to and fro, watching people as they walked around); around the Golden Circle to see Gullfoss and Geysir Park; and even out horseback riding!
Icelandic ponies are apparently famed for their placid tempers and special gait, a not-quite-trot that uses different muscles from other gaits, and therefore extends the range of the horses. They are also remarkably stubborn.
Blue Lagoon was one of our last stops, a beautiful park with famously blue, mineral-rich waters. The air was a chilly 40-45F, plus wind (4-6C or so), but the water was lovely, around 100F (37C). We swam around and painted our faces with silica-rich mud. It is worth going, but remember to bring your own towel – renting one will set you back 25 Euros (not kidding!).
On the last night, while venturing out for dinner, I caught this lovely view of the mountains across the harbor…