Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tour of Iceland - Part III

Using Akureyri as a base, we explored the Godafoss Waterfall and Lake Myvatn and Whale-watching in Dalvik.  I also enjoyed a home hosted dinner with a local family.

We passed by some beautiful scenery on the way to Akureyri.  But those homes just look so lonely.

We arrived Akureyri.  Our hotel was behind where Janet stood.  The two women statue was in the little park beside our hotel.

A view of Akureyri from across the river:
The Godafoss Waterfall:

Our program director loves nature, and would ask the driver to stop so that we can appreciate the ducks in the river:
And the striking colors in the sky:
And the beauty of where sky meets the water:
The volcanic activities are plentiful:

The half dome is a facility where geothermic energy is gathered for use:

Part of the Myvatn Lake:
The fall color in a botanic garden near our hotel:
My home hosted dinner was delightful. A young couple with two daughters (Jon, Hafdi, Soley 13, and Sunna 7)

The following day was filled with the exciting Whale-watching, and horse back riding!
All suited up and waiting:


And I caught my first cod!
On the main street of Akureyri:
I quite enjoyed the horse back riding in the afternoon too:

On the following day, we flew from Akureyri to Reykjavik, and explored the Golden Circle, a ring of natural highlights: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall.

The Thingvellir National Park is an UNESCO site as this is the location of a major rift between two tectonic plates - the North American and the Eurasian - which creats a dramatic fissure in the land.  The world's oldest parliament was also formed here.
The fissure:
We are standing on part of the "rift".  Behind us is the North American tectonic plate.
Aside from setting up the oldest parliament, they also used to drawn women accused of being the witches in this pool:

A view of the "rift" that is about 5 miles wide.  At the other side of the "rift" is the Eurasian plate.
The Gullfoss waterfall:

Another roadside waterfall along with a salmon ladder:
After visiting a flower farm we settled in our hotel in Selfoss.  I learned about the thorn less roses from this visit.

It was raining very hard.  From the window of our hotel we can see a bridge and an interesting island.  But can't go out to explore due to the heavy rain:
The following day we visited more waterfalls and a volcanic museum in the rain:
 The Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.  Tom and I walked to behind and around the fall, and became totally drenched:
A visit to the geothermal plant was very educational to me.
The heat source is harnessed:
The hot water/steam is distributed in this kind of tubes:
 Stainless steel outer layer with plexiglass fiber kind of insulation layer.  The temperature drop from beginning to end would be very small.
 Comparison of energy cost between Reykjavik and Copenhagen:
As if we have not had enough activities in the rain, OAT did not cancel the planned ATV ride.  So I rode behind Tom and experienced this bumpy excitement. I have to say that I enjoyed the horse back riding far more!

 We did see some sheep who totally ignored the vehicles.
The last highlight was to soak in the hot bath of the famous Blue Lagoon:

And some happy fellow travelers:
Our last day was spent to tour the waterfront of Reykjavik, saw the Harpa, Hofdi House, the voyage to the sun, and paid a visit to the National museum, the Pearl, the Hallgrimskirkja Chruch, and the botanic garden near our hotel Hilton.

Hofdi House:
 The voyage to the sun:
The Harpa performing art center:  I went to see a comedian show "how to be an Icelandic in 60 minutes"
The National museum:  We had a picnic outside the museum with rye bread, cheese and cured meat provided by John.

The Pearl:
 From the top of the Pearl, one can see a panoramic of the city:
:The Hallgrimskirkja Church
 Interior of the church:

The final afternoon was free time for all. Janet and I walked back to the botanic garden, via a sculpture garden.  We had a chance to talk bit more .  We later visited 1011 market and a flower shop.  The flower shop was celebrating an anniversary, hence treated us mini lobster sandwich.  Pretty nice!
A sculpture we saw:
That evening, Janet and I went with Janet and Daven, (Sylvia went ahead of us) on a bus, venturing out in hoping to see northern light.  At first I was able to see the moon.  Then the cloud got thicker.  There was nothing to see in the pitch dark.  We parked by a church (built in 1883) which was illuminated.  And that was the only light we saw the whole night.  Oh! later I did see the sharp bright blue police cars whistling by our bus.  The sharp blue actually looked pretty striking against the vast darkness!  That concluded my adventure in Iceland!

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