Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ruby Princess, Rekjavik, Iceland, Monday, September 15, 2015

Due to 45 MPH winds, we were unable to make the second Icelandic port, Isafjordur.  It was a "tendering" port and there was simply no way the tenders would be safe in the turbulent seas.  This was very disappointing to most everyone because it was a smaller town, a fishing village which would have presented yet another aspect of Iceland.  But the good news was that we received a $10.55 per person credit from Princess.  So here we are in the capital city of Rekjavik.
 We shared a tour guide with Pat and Joanna.  Tom sits up front with guide, Teddy, and shares his smoked fish for a snack.

Teddy first takes us inland about 30 miles through the lava fields....it is like a moonscape!

The roads get quite rough at times -- there are bone rattling bumps.

A lot like our western wastelands; it is starkly beautiful.

Our first stop was a huge glacier-formed lake with a black pebble beach.

Our next stop is a geothermal site.  They are serious with these warnings.

We climb the wooden walkway to the site.

Iceland sits at the junction of the North American tectonic plate and the European plate.  The earth's magma come close to the surface in these spots and comes spewing to the surface from volcanoes such as the one which was erupting while we were in Iceland.; it was about an 8 hour drive from where we were.

A bubbling pool.  Teddy was concerned that so much water was flowing from this site.  He wasn't sure what was happening -- just that it was different from anything he had seen in his 3 years of visiting these sites.

Quite a different landscape from what we have been seeing.

High on the hill more steam is coming to the surface.

Pat heads back down the walkway.

They warn you to stay with the marked walkway to avoid stepping into a new hot water source.

All this water is warm to hot.

We moved on to a new thermal site which was much more active.  Teddy was very concerned because it was more active.  He started calling his friends, asking if they  knew what was going on.  It was a continuous geyser.

Avoid visiting this area in the winter.....note the bottom line!  WC is the toilet

After we left the geyser, we moved on toward the Blue Lagoon.  Here the blue water was running in the ditch beside the road.

The Blue Lagoon is actually downstream of the largest geothermal plant in the country.  They produce electricity and hot water for the nearby communities.  The blue color comes from sand that the hot water picks up on its way to the surface.  The sand is reflecting the blue sky. After the geothermal plant has harvested most of the geoheat for electricity and heating, the water is discharged to the lagoon at about a constant 98-104 deg F.  

which is good for the bathers.

and there are lots of them -- especially when the cruise ships are in...

  The Icelanders are protective of their moss which covers over 50% of the land.

A field of green moss on lava rock

A different kind of moss

This is a fungus, also a moss

A stringy moss.

The next stop on the tour is a seascape.

This is a wild and beautiful place.  Thank you, Teddy, for bringing us here.  We did not see any of the tour buses at this place.

As we said before, Iceland is a place where plates meet.
This is the bridge between Europe and North America -- between the continental tectonic plates that is.  A major fault lies below this bridge.

The next stop was a legendary in the area. 

the entrance.....

a gnome, baring a resemblance to Alfred E. Newman.  She moans and groans when you least expect it which, at first, is alarming!

  The legend is that if you leave your pacifier on the tree, the gnome will keep it for you and you may have it back when you want it. Supposedly,  no child has ever returned to collect from the gnome.

These grass covered houses were common in the late 19th century.  They say that they used sheep and goats to mow the roof (?).

This was a USAF base which closed in 2006.  Ice took it over for the Icelandic Defense Agency and then closed it for defensive purposes in 2011,  It now is used to house students for a boarding high school and university students -- about 3-4,000 boarding students and another 5,000 day students.

A mean looking Viking protecting a replica of a Viking ship.

Teddy has a friend working in a licorice factory.  Apparently, Iceland enjoys a worldwide reputation for delicious licorice.....our foursome would second that nomination!  Note the different colors....those are pieces of licorice topped with icing?

A popular tourist sight known as "the Pearl".....believe it or not, this is the water storage for the city.  It is a unique building....looks like a museum or an art gallery from the exterior.  Other than water, the facility also houses a popular restaurant on the top floor which revolves.

This unique, historic church was closed to the public.  It houses the tomb of Leif Erikson.

Rekjavik has a few tree lined streets!  Very nice shopping!

A lone homestead visible as we leave Rekjavik....and Iceland.