Monday, December 17, 2012

Trip to Iceland - 2

Hi, This will be the final post on our trip to Iceland.  We stopped for lunch at a restaurant which had an attached cow barn.  Here is the view through a window from our table.

We had an opportunity to walk around the barn before lunch.  Naturally, we needed to be careful where we put our feet.

After lunch our first stop was Dimmuborgir.  This area has very interesting rock formation created by lava flows.

There were many families here when we visited.

They were drawn to visit the Yule Lads.  In Icelandic folk lore the Yule Lads are the offspring of two trolls.  Originally they were considered to be very mischievous and steal from mortals.  There are 13 of them and their names indicate how they steal and the pranks they play.  In more recent times they have become Iceland's Santa Clauses.  They arrive one at a time beginning 13 days before Christmas and depart in the same order, again one at a time, beginning on Christmas Day.

Three were present the day we visited and the local children really seemed to enjoy visiting with them.

Of the photos I took there this is definitely my favorite.

Iceland has a special breed of horses which came from the Shetland Islands, probably with the  original Viking settlers.  Although they are small, frequently the size of ponies, they have the proportions of a horse.

Next we stopped at Hverir, an areal of bubbling sulfurous mud pits and steaming vents.  Iceland is geothermally active and most of the heat and hot water, as well as a good deal of the electricity consumed in the country comes from geothermal sources.

The Myvatn Nature baths was our final stop.  From the entrance to the baths can be seen evidence of the continental rift between the North American and Eurasion plates.  The rift caused the cleft in the mountain shown below.

People bathe in the geothermal pools year round.  One couple from our group took a dip.  I don't like cold and was not about to go from the bath house to the pool in freezing weather with just a swim suit on.

We had a second opportunity to view the Northern Lights as we had not seen them on our first attempt.  This time we did see them.  However, they were a very pale green.  When we were on the ground they looked like clouds lit up by city lights.  However, on the bus returning to our hotel we saw them again and this time they pulsed and rapidly changed shape.  They were never bright enough to get photos with out a better camera and tripod.

On our return to Reykavik we took another walk around downtown.  The Salvation Army maintains a hostel here where many younger people visiting the city stay.

Our hotel in Reykavik had these very interesting sculptures in the lobby and

a spiral staircase.

We very much enjoyed our visit to Iceland.  We found the sites we visited interesting and the people very friendly.  Almost everybody speaks some English and most speak it very well.  Thanks for looking.

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