When he heard about our plans to travel to Scandinavia, Mr. Bodine, Joe's friend, insisted that we spend at least a night in Iceland. And Joe was persuaded.
From the minute the bus left the airport and I saw the terrain, I knew I was someplace unique (and Honna can tell you how picky I am about the use of that word) and amazing (and that word, too). I'd never seen anything like it. The ground looked like I would imagine the ground on the moon would look. Lava fields everywhere. This is hardened molten rock with anemic-looking moss trying to grow on it.
Our hotel was located not far from Reykjavik's city center, and directly across the street from the opera house next to the sea. By now you know how we are about opera houses. A perfect location. A nice hotel, too. By the time we'd settled in, we were hungry and ready to walk after having been cooped up in a smallish plane and then on the crowded bus for 45 minutes. Most of the shops had closed for the day, but there were all kinds of restaurants open and we found a cute, cosy French cafe that produced a delicious dinner.
We got up early on Wednesday because we'd booked the Golden Circle Tour; it would start by 9:00 and last all day. This turned out to be one of the best experiences of our entire trip! Who knew? The bus took us to the three locations on the schedule plus one more. Turns out that due to laws of science and physics that are beyond my comprehension, tomatoes can be grown year-round in Iceland! We visited a tomato farm that also grew cucumbers. They were offering tomato soup, crusty bread, and, if one desired, a Bloody Mary.
Back on the bus, we were off to see geysers. And see them, we did. There was one that erupted every seven minutes, and I was fascinated to watch the pattern the water made and was able to predict when the next eruption was about to happen.
Next we visited the Golden Falls Waterfall, which was gorgeous.
The final stop was at Thingvellir National Park; here we could actually see the American and European tectonic plates, and we learned that they are pulling apart at the rate of 2 centimeters per year. The landscape was like something prehistoric. We walked and walked and walked.
|This might look like mud, but again it is hardened molten lava-into-rock.|
Back at the hotel, we had a nap and around nine o'clock we were picked up for our evening adventure. We boarded a whale-watching vessel and were taken out into the water beyond Reykjavik where it was dark, and even though it was early in the season, we could see Northern Lights. We'd love to return in the winter -- brrrrr! -- to see them in their full glory.
On Thursday, we had just a couple of hours before the bus would take us
And then it's time to go home.