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Published: October 14th 2015
I went to Iceland for 5 days, before heading on to Scotland where I spent almost a month. Iceland was geologically one of a kind and just gorgeous. I never got tired of the black sand beaches, the basalt columns where the puffin birds nest, the glaciers, the rock formations, the endless lava fields, a geyser (Icelandic word!) or two, and the volcanos. I've ever felt so humbled by the strength and power of the Earth. It was amazing to be so aware of being on a planet that tilts on an axis towards the sun in a certain way. In Iceland, I NEVER saw the sky dark. I was told the bright daylight dimmed to dusky skies between 11pm and 2am.
For five nights I stayed at the Bus Hostel in Reykjavik. The hostel had a great community feel to it. The common kitchens were friendly places to be and there was a sunny, pleasant living room where they served coffee, toast, and jam in the mornings.
Each day I went on a different tour. I used a couple different tour companies and they were all very similar.
Day 1 - I walked around Reykjavik on my
own a bit and did a city tour in the afternoon. City is right on the ocean and there is a pretty church at the top of the hill in the center of the main part of the city.
Day 2 - Golden Circle Tour. This is one of the two main tourist attractions in Iceland. The tour included lots of nature highlights including:
-Pingvellir National Park which straddles 2 tectonic plates (North American and Euro-asian). Very pretty, easy hike.
-Gulfoss, otherwise known as the Golden Waterfall where I saw the first of many incredible full rainbows.
-Geysir which is a geyser that spouts about every 5 minutes. Icelanders named the first geyser Geysir which means "to gush."
- Vaxi waterfall. I could have watched and listened to that waterfall all day long.
-Old Bishops' town with pretty church and stained glass.
Day 3 = South Shore. This was probably my favorite Iceland adventure! Highlights:
-Glacier mini-walk. I think we were on the Solheim which is part of the Myrdals Glacier.
-Black sand beach with basalt columns. Saw puffin birds in the distance. They have short wings that flap very fast!
-Skogasafn museum of olden days Iceland. Run by a historian from New York that fell in love with Iceland and fell in love in Iceland and never left!
-Skogafoss waterfall (skoga means forest). Saw another amazing rainbow!
-Seljanlandfoss waterfall. We walked behind the falling water. I got soaked from the spray, but it was worth it!
Day 4 = Snaefellsnes in Western Iceland. Saw lots of awesome rock formations today! Today was incredibly windy- like the kind of wind where you pick up your leg to step forward and your leg gets blown back! Today we got lucky and saw the sun and clouds arranged in the sky so that it looks like there are two suns. It is very surreal. The real sun is reflecting off the clouds in a way similar to how a rainbow works but you really aren't sure what you are seeing. It actually looks like two suns! Folklore says the second sun is a wolf chasing the sun and is supposed to be a good omen.
Our tour guide was super knowledgeable. Iceland facts:
- Iceland is the size of Kentucky
- Total population of the country
= 330,000; about 220,000 live in the metro Reykjavik area
-Two major volcanos: 1) Hekla; and 2) Eyiafialla-jokull
-They believe in trolls that come out at night and sunshine turns them to stone.
- Popular joke: If you are ever feeling lost in the forest in Iceland, stand up and you'll know where you are! (no trees in Iceland)
Day 5 = Blue Lagoon day! Natural hot spring that they actually cool down before it gets to the public pool area. Very relaxing and gorgeous!
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