Friday, 11 January 2013

Iceland Adventures

We’re now back in Selsey after our 4 day break in Iceland.  It was a weird experience spending so much time in the dark.  Most of the time it felt like being out after a late night party when, in fact, it was 10 o’ clock in the morning!  A lot of our sightseeing around Reykjavik (and consequently a lot of the photos) was done in the dark as the tours we went on took up all the daylight hours.


We took a trip to The Blue Lagoon – about an hour from Reykjavik, where we bathed in the hot thermal waters.  This beautiful feature is the by product of a geothermal energy plant.  The water is about 38 deg C as it enters the lagoon and it can be very hot in the places where it enters the lagoon.  It must have been one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever done because, on the day we did it, there was a howling northerly gale blowing!  The sleet and rain stung our eyes unless we found a sheltered spot.  It was a very strange feeling having your body so warm and your head so cold.


This picture was taken from the outside viewing platform where it was impossible to stand still because of the wind.  It should have been a tranquil scene with clouds of steam gently rising from the warm waters but never mind, it was great fun nonetheless!


This is the Hallgrimskirkja – Reykjavik’s cathedral.  At 240 feet, the tower is easily the tallest structure on the island and it dwarfs all the other buildings.  We went up the tower to get some superb views of the city but we couldn’t go inside the main building because of maintenance work being carried out which was a bit frustrating. 


This is the Reykjavik’s new opera house (at 10 ‘o clock in the morning!) It’s a stunning building, inside and out – the whole structure displays a light show representative of the Northern Lights.


We enjoyed a meal at the ‘Icelandic Fish and Chip’ restaurant – well Doug enjoyed the fish while James had and a very good vegetarian alternative.


We went on a sightseeing trip into the mountains and lava fields east of Reykjavik.  This is Doug in front of the Gullfoss waterfall.  This melt water from the Langjokull glacier produces an icy wet wind as it tumbles over 100 feet into the canyon below.   Hence the expression on Doug’s face!


Another amazing sight was at Geysir where there is the world’s  original “geyser”.  Sadly, it doesn’t perform for the public that often these days but the one behind us, Strokkurr,  struts it’s stuff every 5 minutes or so……. 


………like this! 

We also visited the area where the North Atlantic and European tectonic plates meet and where Iceland is still expanding at the rate of 3cm a year.  At that rate , in a million years or so it will be one of the biggest countries in the world!  Our efforts to see the Aurora Borealis however, came to nothing we’re sad to say, as the weather was too cloudy.  Never mind, we’ll have to go back and try again one day.


We met a great couple, William and Kay from Texas, on the Geyser / waterfall tour and we spent our last evening with them enjoying a terrific Thai meal at a restaurant close to our hotel.  Thanks for your company guys!

We spent a fantastic few days in Iceland – having some weird and wonderful experiences.  The strangest thing is the amount of darkness as there is only daylight between 11am and 4pm at this time of year -  the weather could have been better but that’s nature for you!  We’d certainly like to return and enjoy more of the fascinating things Iceland has to offer.  James wants to go glacier trekking amongst other things!  Maybe next year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Both
    Glad to see that you are back safe and sound and that you enjoyed your break in the freezing north.
    Great shame about not being able to see the Northern Lights but better luck next time.
    bob June and Phoenix