Iceland Adventure Day 2

Grad school and “real life” have prevented me from fully processing my Iceland adventure as of late… Anyway, on day two of our adventure my friend and I woke early to eat breakfast with our new friend Petula. I was surprised to see warm beans served at breakfast as well as some assorted cold meat slices (salami) and cheese. For me (from the US), those items seemed more for lunch.Our journey began with a tour of Reykjavik, through Borgarfjorour Valley, and onto Reykholt for the night.

Here are some pictures from Reykjavik…

Along the bus ride from Reykjavik to Reykholt our tour guide “Rocky” who I later learned has a photographic memory, taught us about Iceland and its wonders. Iceland has a population of about 300,000 and the island  mostly self-sufficient due to harnessing geothermal energy which can be converted into electricity. You can drink the water directly out of the streams if you want to, that’s how pure it is. Most police in Iceland do not carry firearms and there is no army. It seems like such a peaceful place. Rocky also told us that an ISIS threat recently occurred in which two ISIS militants came to Iceland and threatened to blow up either themselves or something else. They were both put in chains and deported … as it should be. If you ever go to Iceland I’m sure you would feel the same outrage as I did when I learned about the ISIS threat. I’m glad it was taken care of. Now onto more uplifting and beautiful things …

We saw the Grabrok volcano crater, hot springs at Deildartunghver, and waterfalls at Hraunfossar.

Climbing the crater …

The hot springs …

Waterfalls …

A few new acquaintances were made as well including Francoise from Belgium, Yebin from South Korea, and Dana and Russell from Australia. I may not get used to the ever changing weather or the water that sometimes smells like eggs (due to sulphur) depending where you are … but I could definitely get used to the wonderful views in Iceland. During the ride and pit stops the mountains were always breathtaking. We often saw snow storms looming on the horizon. However, most every snow spell during our stay did not last longer than 30 minutes–sometimes as brief as 5. This made for many amazing photo opportunities.

Once we reached the hotel Reykholt we attended a lecture on the northern lights. I didn’t realize how many variables have to line up in order to see them. There has to be activity from the sun as well as a mostly clear sky. It sounds straight forward enough, but the weather is often unpredictable in Iceland. During the lecture Rocky had everyone introduce themselves. My friend and I were the only people from the United States. I was really surprised but happy about this. I absolutely love meeting people from different countries. We had a pretty interesting mix including people from the UK, Australia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Argentina, and South Korea.

That night, we briefly saw a glimpse of the northern lights with our own eyes. Since my tripod broke right before I left my house for the airport, I hadn’t figured a makeshift one yet. Here is a shot Sherri captured of the fleeting northern lights.


Icelandic Tip: When attempting to photograph the northern lights, focus your camera on a really bright star, the farthest point from yourself, or the stars that move the least in the sky if possible such as the big dipper.

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