Reykjavik is a pretty
city, with lots of young people, many restaurants and
coffee shops and very good roads. But the key to
Iceland's success lies with its environment and its
economy. The basis of which is the geo thermal
energy that lies beneath the ground and may be visible
via eruption of lava, or geyser releases. While we did
not witness an eruption, we did see geysers spewing high
into the air and boiling pots of lava…or fumaroles.
But while this energy source has many positive virtues,
the threat of volcanic eruption is ever present. Well
aware of that threat, Iceland monitors that possibility
fervently and regularly.
I will leave the
research of Iceland to the reader via the extensive
source of knowledge that already exists and is generally
available. Travel was quite
easy…..approximately a six hour flight from the east
coast, we were met by our tour director as we exited
passport control. Joining up with the rest of our tour
group, we boarded our bus and were off to do some
sightseeing. Both the tour director and the group
were great, the chemistry between us worked out
Church in Reykjavik
Pictures of Reykjavik and Churches on the Island
Arriving in Iceland, we
had an introduction to the country and headed for the
natural wonders of this amazing country.
was formed about 18 million years ago via volcanic
The settlement of Iceland began in AD 874
when Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent
Norse settler on the island. Over the following
centuries, Norsemen continued to settle in Iceland.
From 1262 to 1918, Iceland was part of the Norwegian
and later the Danish monarchies.
a civil war began between Catholics and Lutherans and
the Catholic Bishop was beheaded and everybody was
required to be Lutheran or at least to pretend to be
so. In the 1750s, Reykjavik was established and wool
trade had become a significant source of commerce.
became independent in 1918 and a republic was declared
Hraunfossar Falls in the Hvita River
Pictures of Parks and Waterfalls
Our tour focused on the
natural elements along the western region of the island,
with our stay to the city of Borgarnes. Our travels
took us to the north of Iceland and we remained in the
city of Akureyri for a few days. A flight back to
Reykjavik to continue our touring of the southern coast
of Iceland with a stay in the city of Hella. We
visited many waterfalls, national parks, heated lagoons,
volcanic sights and more where we hiked along trails
that kept us close to nature and the unique facets of
Iceland that make this island country so extraordinary.
The Icelandic alphabet
has 32 letters, but they need more than we do as they
use so many letters in their words and names…..I found
the words and names hard to pronounce phonetically, but
there is meaning associated with each syllable (you have
to be born there to truly understand). Not for
me, the Icelandic people graciously learned English and
so we had little problem conversing in order to do
everything in this wonderful country.
Springs in Landsvirkjiem Near Akureyri
Pictures of The Shores and Lagoons
Spending money was not a
problem…..you can use charge cards for everything…..very
easy for any expense. There are coffee shops,
restaurants and shops everywhere….great coffee always.
The people are welcoming and security is never an
issue. There is no fear of anything being stolen, or
being mischarged…the entire country is just a delight to
Iceland suffered a
severe recession in 2008 similar to what the United
States and other countries had to cope with because of
the banking crisis, but they came back fast and are now
doing extremely well. Fortunately for them, their
government was singularly minded and took the necessary
action to correct the economic mistakes they had made.
Prices are not cheap,
but the people that live here enjoy the great
restaurants and coffee shops regularly, and as one young
woman told me, “We only purchase what we need!” So
they do not spend excessively, but they do enjoy life.
It is a country that provides health care, education and
retirement….all supported by a strong social structure,
but industry is widely spread throughout the island.
Deildartunguhver Thermal Springs Pumping 180 Liters of
Water per Second for Central Heating.
Pictures of Geysers, Fumaroles and Glaciers
the Greenland adventure began when our flight from
Reykjavik touched down in Kulusuk, Greenland on a dirt
runway. Not much in Kulusuk, maybe a couple of hundred
people, a small hotel and a pad for the helicopter that
flew us to Tasiilaq, about fifteen minutes away.
Tasiilaq is bigger with a community of just under two
thousand people…..most all are Inuit’s, Greenland’s
are no roads between the Greenland’s communities that
are located on the coastline surrounding the
island….either air or ship transport is the only way
people get around. In Tasiilaq the town leads up the
surrounding mountains from the harbor.
roads and simple structures define the settlement.
There is a church, a supermarket, post office, a few
hotels, some other service stores and an operating
harbor that receives all the supplies that are required
and necessary for the year in just the two or three
months that the harbor can be navigated.
Pictures of Greenland
I have included pictures
that I have created digitally from the pictures that I
took on this trip for the appreciation of the reader and
as an artistic focus for me during my travels. I hope
you enjoy them as much as I have in creating them.
Church on a Farm
Digitally Enhanced Pictures