Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Iceland Day 4 June 27, 2017

Reykjavik is full of unique beauty and I wanted a full day to make the investment of exploring what this edge of the Atlantic Ocean looks like.  The forecast called for whatever it called for so I went prepared for whatever. My home away from home is located a mere three and a half minute walk to the sea.  As soon as I reached the water's edge and breathed in that air, I felt at home.  

                                        Solfar Sun Voyager

                                cafes & cobblestone streets

I passed time meandering up and down streets here and there.  This is very much a walkable place with something different around each corner.  This caught my eye down a narrow back alley, a banking machine in the back of a minivan.

                                      Visitor Information Center

For a later lunch, I went for a feast of fish & chips.   Between the fresh ocean air, the exercise and now a full tummy, it was time to walk a little more then just sit and admire the scenery.

After more meandering, more strolling, a little shopping, I worked my way back towards my home away from  home, had dinner then headed back to the seaside to explore off in the other direction .

That's little Videy Island looking so green in front of the larger island. The small white circular structure on the left is The Imagine Peace Tower a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono.   The larger white building on the right is Videy House.

With the pairing together of ocean air and exercise which makes me sleepy and want to sleep and a midnight sun which tells me stay up and keep busy, I need to work through some self talk because my mind is not quite getting it.  With a big, long, long  day tomorrow it's time to get home and  pull those blinds and draw those drapes!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Iceland Day 3 June 26, 2017

WARNING!  If you are a loyal follower of mine and are one of those that read my entire story from the get-go to the closing curtain than I suggest you pack a snack, get comfy, settle in and come for a ride that will blow your socks off.

In all my oogling and googling for this trip of a life time to Iceland, one vision remained at the fore front through the entire planning process.  The probability of living out seeing that exact vision is not high as the weather conditions for this area lean more to cloud cover and showery sprinkles. I put my money down, hopped on the bus and said a little prayer.

Today I hiked into a dream at Landmannalaugar and this was what I witnessed from the summit of the Mount Brennisteinsalda Volcano.

To even get to the trail head for this hike was an adventure all on its own.  I give a big shout out to the Artic Adventures guides and the transportation by Trex.  The organization skills were perfection as were the driving skills.  The long last portion of the drive was on an "F" Road and that "F" does not stand for what some might say it should stand for.  After driving through the rivers near the end we arrived at the little Landmannalaugar settlement.

In a matter of mere minutes we were geared up and ready to enter into a dream.  It was cloudy with a sprinkle here and there as we entered the canyon to hike along side the river.  The colors still stood out and I was thankful for that.

After rounding a couple of corners, our summit destination came into sight, Mount Brennisteinsalda.  I could not take my eyes of it! We worked our way through a lava field which was formed when Brennisteinsalda erupted.

           The side of this Mountain is still alive with geothermal activity.

We began the final climb and the closer we got to the top, the bluer the sky became.     I thought to myself what are the odds this would happen and I made an extra effort to treasure ever second up here.

                         My Mount Brennisteinsalda summit shot.

After en extended visit it was time to carry on with the loop and get down off the back side.  I made a quick trip down through the snow so I could watch the others find their method to get down.  For a few this was going outside of their comfort zone and they were troopers through it.

The scenery continued to be outstanding as we made our way to the valley bottom.  What I was seeing for real was that vision that stuck with me since mid last year.  I was doing 360s, over the shoulder checks, I didn't know where to focus.  

When the tarns and creeks and rivers and moss came into play that added even more amazing moments.  

We began our loop a few hours back working our way through one lava field and we finished the loop finding our way along another lava field.  

                            Mount Blahnukur in the middle.

As we rounded that final corner, the little settlement of tents, cookhouses washrooms, visitor center, buses and Search & Rescue Center came into sight. It on its own was such a pretty sight. We made our way there and blended in with the activity.  Some went off for a dip in the hot springs, I opted to visit with Max our guide and savour another sandwich.  

Our small group had the whole big blue bus to ourselves for the drive back.  We crossed back over the rivers then hit that "F" road again.  Being on this kind of Road even added to the whole day's experience.  On the way back I tried to wrap my head around that I was truly just at Landmannalaugar and I really saw what I just saw.  I feel very fortunate to have experienced today, not taking a single second for granted.  It was a day filled with more than I ever dreamed it could be!  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Iceland Day 2 June 25, 2017

I drew the drapes last night when I went to bed but I forgot to pull down the blinds.  I do remember laying my head on the pillow and the next thing waking in a panic when I saw it is light and bright inside and out.  I thought I over slept for my early rise and start to the day.  With a check of the clock it was only 1:30am, oh right this is the land of the midnight sun.  I will remember to also pull down those blinds tonight.

Iceland is no longer a secret.  In this day and age secrets spread like wildfire.  The beauty of this Island is world renowned.  I saw that beauty for myself today on a Golden Circle Tour.  I considered renting a car and going on my own, so glad I did not.  I had a front seat with a view of everything other than the road.

A large part of this area of Iceland is purple as lupins carpet the ground.  Lupins were in abundance at the Faxafoss Waterfalls.  It was early morning when we were here, with a chill in the air.  It was so fresh, so cool, so pretty. 

Faxafoss waterfalls were not ones I heard off, but I did hear of Gulfoss and was excited to be seeing those.  These waterfalls were so forceful that I could feel their mist well before even arriving to where the amazing views were.  In fact the mist felt nice because the temperature was rising.

Iceland is like one gigantic geothermal island.  Lots of places stink, yet they are sticking pretty too.  The Strokker Geysir goes off often.  Good thing because I did not capture it blowing off steam until my third try.  Lupins covered this land mass too.

We made a stop at Efstidslur to admire the grounds and try their homemade ice cream.

My favourite part of today was visiting Thingvellir National Park.  There is something about National Parks and even Iceland's Parks have that something.   By now it was quite a warm day so it was nice to have a river to stroll by and bridges to cross. This was the last stop of the day so I made the most of it and covered as much ground as I could. What a pretty place!

I crossed over that last bridge and took in the mountain and river view and thought about tomorrow.  It will be a very very long day involving rivers and mountains.