Iceland





Check out the map of Iceland


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

Late October we were busy packing and heading for Dublin Airport. Louise from Wallace Travel in Finglas had called us due to a cancellation, so now we found ourselves boarding an aircraft from Primera (McBear said it was a chartered Boeing 737) with destination Keflavik in Iceland. Roger was delighted as Iceland was real viking territory and the Icelandic people speak the language that comes closest to the original old viking language. McBear was almost hyper as Iceland is literally speaking positioned on top of the mid-Atlantic ridge so volcanos, hot springs and other geological extremes are a special feature of Iceland.

Click the map to enlarge


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

We arrived at Keflavik International Airport and went by bus to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Reykjavik means "Smoky Bay". We would be staying at the Hotel Loftleidir close to the centre of Reykjavik. Here we are waiting in the reception for our luggage to arrive.


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

We discovered that Hotel Loftleidir was located next to Rekjavik's domestic airport! McBear was excited and said he just wanted to have a brief look at some aircraft taking off and landing before we went sight seeing...


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

The weather was sunny and knowing that McBear could spend hours watching aircraft taking off and landing, we rushed out the door before he could settle down in the window. We wanted to see the Perlan, a new building with 5 huge water tanks for nearly 30 million litres of drinking water.

Ernest was a newbie and a polar bear like Roger, and this was his first trip with the Travelling Bears. Being all white as the snow patches around, Ernest was afraid he would be taken for a snow patch and left behind.
"Don't worry," Roger said. "There's 6 of us in the group, and McBear and I will make sure the numbers fits, when we leave..."


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

From the top of the Perlan we had a fantastic view, and since the visibility was more than a 100 kilometers, we could see vulcanos and hot springs in the horizon. In fact, just above our heads on the photo is actually several hot springs with steam rising.


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

The next morning we headed for the city centre to learn about the capital of Iceland. Reykjavik has around 200,000 citizens including its suburbs, and since Iceland in total has around 310,000 inhabitants, Reykjavik has a huge percentage of the population with the rest scarsely spread on the island. Iceland itself is 100,000 square kilometers which is a little bit more than that of Ireland which is 83,000 square kilometers.


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

We wanted to visit the famous church, Hallgrķmskirkja, and have our photo taken in front of the church. It turned out, however, that the church was undergoing restauration so the tower was totally wrapped up in scaffolding. In front of the church was a statue of Leifur Eiriksson, the Viking who discovered America.
"These Vikings were true seafarers", Roger told Ernest.
"Wow, and you spend your first years at sea?" Ernest asked.
"Yes. That's why I totally identify with these famed explorers and warriors," Roger said with pride.


Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2008

We wished to see more of Iceland and in the evening we were planning a full day's trip for the next day. Here, we are debating the itenary.


žingvellir, Iceland, October 2008

Next morning we headed north eastwards. The first stop was at the famous žingvellir, where the Icelanders in the old days used to gather to vote for parliament and have a debate on laws.


žingvellir, Iceland, October 2008

žingvellir is located near žingvallavatn which is a large lake and is also one of the places where one can study how the tectonic plates of North America and Europe separate. Everything to the west (left on the photo) was on the American plate and everything to the east was on the Eurasian plate. The two plates separate by 2 cm each year (a little less than an inch). McBear was almost hyper. He found this was soooo cool...


Gullfoss, Iceland, October 2008

From žingvellir we headed futher north east to the famous river waterfall, Gullfoss. It was very windy, so McBear had to sit with a heavy camera battery in order not to be blown away.


Gullfoss, Iceland, October 2008

From the cliff above we had a fine look at the waterfall. The river drops 11 meter at one place and 22 meters at another. The water is melting water from inland glaciers.


Geysir, Iceland, October 2008

From Gullfoss we went to Geysir with the world famous hot springs. In fact, Geysir has given name to all geysirs in the world. Unfortunately, Geysir itself has stopped spurting hot steam, but one of the other springs, Strokkur, is very active. Every 5 minutes Strokkur erupts with a 20 meter (60 foot) tall burst of steam. Behind us, Strokkur had just finished sending another huge amount of steam into the air.
"What a burp!" Ernest said in recognition.


Geysir, Iceland, October 2008

While Tom, Edward, Goldie Bear and Ernest went for coffee, McBear and Roger patiently waited another 5 minutes, so we could get the steam eruption on camera. Behind us, people were ready to click on their cameras, and then .... phoooschhhh!!!!! A new column of boiling water and steam!


Faxi, Iceland, October 2008

On the way back towards Reykjavik we passed a waterfall called Faxi. Here, the salmon travel upstream. In order to help the salmon climb the waterfall, the Icelanders have built a small stairway with water basins next to the waterfall.


Skįlholt, Iceland, October 2008

On the way we also passed Skįlholt church. It's built by contributions from the other Nordic countries; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Faroe Islands.


Hveragerši, Iceland, October 2008

The last stop on the return to Reykjavik was in Hveragerši, a small town with lots of green houses. Due to the large amount of hot springs, the Icelanders are able to heat their houses incl. green houses with non-polluting heat. Here in Hveragerši at a place called Eden Roger met a fellow Viking and they exchanged lots of news and good gossip.



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