Gone to Iceland.

We just got back from Iceland and there is lots to tell. So much in fact, to merit a numbered list of the high points. There are tons more photos here.

1. Food – We stayed in Reykjavik, which despite being a fishing port, maybe didn’t have as many fish restaurants as you’d image. Still, we had the best fish and chips ever – soft, great batter, tasty potatoes. All with skyronnaise, which is a mayonnaise made with the Iceland cheesy milky product skyr.

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I also ate puffin at a ‘spanish’ tapas place:

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2. Geyser – Saw the Strokkur geyser on the Golden Circle tour, which goes off every few minutes, so it’s quite satisfying waiting for it to boil up and then shoot off. Very impressive landscape around it too, with hot steam rising out of the earth and beautiful clear blue water pools.

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3. Volcano – Another part of the tour stops at a volcano (not sure if it’s active ever or not any more), full of water. I’m not really selling that but it was quite impressive, if a little wet and cold.

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4. Golden Falls at Gulfoss – immense waterfalls tumbling all over the place and down a huge gulley, so big you couldn’t even see the bottom. One of those really impressive ‘ooh aren’t humans really small and just at the mercy of the elements’ sights.

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5. Whale watching – for some reason, thought I’d be brave enough to go out on a boat to sea. whale watching. How stupid of me. I spent the first hour rooted to my seat on the deck, digging new grooves into the woodwork. Claire didn’t seem to mind it, but once on dry land, told me she was just putting on a brave face and had been feeling rough too:

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Once we were out to sea, there was at least the opportunity to look for whales, taking my mind off the pitching boat. We saw white beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises and minke whales – I’d had images of them trying to tip the boat over Moby Dick style but they actually kept pretty much oput of the way, coyly flashing the odd fin.

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6. The Blue Lagoon – We went to these hot geothermal springs near Reykjavik. Very nice it was too, with a proper visitor centre, sauna, steam room, changing rooms and everything. Like everything else in Iceland, very well organised and running like clockwork.

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7. Culture – We went to various galleries and museums, where Icelandic people get to show off about their heritage. Being quite a young country and only independent from Denmark since 1944 they have a lot to shout about. Although I’m not sure that justifies me dressing as a viking.

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8. Architecture – I’ve never seen such a crazy mixture of architecture in one place. From corrugated iron houses to huge concrete churches, to turf roofed huts to plastic office buildings. They don’t go in much for bricks.

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Oh and this is the very small Parliament building where the Prime Minister hangs out.

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9. We saw Bjork – yes, we got tickets to go to a benefit gig for an eating disorder charity and she was one of the many acts playing. It gave us a nice taste of Icelandic music – curiously, nearly all bands played acoustic guitars, not electric ones.

I could go on and on, about the efficiency of the country, the cleanliness, the lovely space there is everywhere (Iceland population: 306,000). They have normal sized cars but also very very big ‘super jeeps’ and monster trucks roaming the streets. Not many dogs, and only one pliceman as far as we could see. Quite a bit if graffiti too.

All in all, a great trip and one I’d advise to anyone!

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One Response to Gone to Iceland.

  1. Chantay Smithingell says:

    Oh no! You just saw Bjork! I so love her! There’s something unique about the structure of Europe’s churches. This tuft roof church is quite distinct, and it is quite admirable.

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