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One of my most vivid memories of traveling around Iceland is of the many scattered showers — followed by glorious rainbows! You’d sometimes see dozens of them in a single day. The only other place I’ve ever been where I saw so many rainbows was on Maui.
This week I thought I’d share some of these rainbows with you.
Dominating Reykjavik’s harbor, Harpa is its new Concert Hall and Conference Center. It’s impossible to miss this massive structure, with its interesting and unique three dimensional multicolored glass facade. Home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, Harpa can seat up to 1,800 in its largest room.
Harpa’s construction was plagued with problems, some technical but mostly money-related. Half completed when the country’s financial crisis hit, it was almost abandoned. The final tab was US$250,000,000 (in a country with just over 300,000 people, that’s almost US$1000 per citizen). I hope the investment pays off.
It’s a fascinating building to visit, not just because of its size and physical presence, but because of the interesting use of angled …
Only a single day was left on this visit to Iceland, not nearly enough time but I did want my wife to see more of South Iceland. Most travelers think the Southern part of Iceland has the country’s best and most dramatic scenery — from lovely waterfalls, recently erupted volcanoes, large glaciers (one with a very memorable glacial lagoon), to vast stretches of people-less space.
Of greatest importance was to get Sylvia on the back of an Icelandic horse and on a trail ride. The staff at our hotel in Fludir recommended a nearby stable (one of dozens around South Iceland), so we headed there for the morning. Sylvia had a wonderful ride on these small smooth-gaited horses (which she will …
The most interesting and diverse day-trip from Reykjavik is to Iceland’s “Golden Circle“. I’m not certain where the name “Golden Circle” originated, but it is a golden travel opportunity. During this excursion you have a chance to see Iceland’s largest lake and explore the historic site of its first parliament (situated in no less than a rift valley). You’ll visit one of the world’s few sites of geysir eruption, and an amazing waterfall. By any standards, that’s a pretty good list of attractions to see in one day’s travel.
There are several commercial vendors that offer tours of the Golden Circle from Reykjavik for those who don’t want the hassle of car rental or driving (the most popular including Reykjavik Excursions and …
As our Icelandair flight descends through the clouds towards Keflavik airport, the rugged cliffs and shoreline of the Reykjanes peninsula begin to emerge from the mist. The sun is just peaking over the far horizon and its warming light is magical and welcoming! The peninsula’s dark rugged lava fields remind me somewhat of landing in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, although the massive bulks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are distinctly absent here. We breeze through immigration and customs and make our way to the Flybus, a comfortable and convenient way to do the 40 minute commute from Keflavik to Reykjavik.
We’re tired after our red-eye flight, but to me it feels familiar and good to be back in Iceland. The last time I made this journey I …
The last full day of our Icelandic trip was spent off the Ring Road in West Iceland on the charming Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Anyone who is a fan of SciFi will remember this as the place Jules Verne’s Professor begins his Journey to the Center of the Earth (which was reached from the volcano via a series of lava tubes). The lovely conical Snaefellsjokull volcano, located on the western end of this peninsula, was the center point of Verne’s story.
A visit to the Snaefellsnes peninsula has been described as a way to see Iceland in miniature. This finger-like appendage to the island is only 43 miles long and only …
Our journey around the Ring Road continued as we headed north on the eastern shore of the island towards North Iceland. (I’ve again chosen to describe our experiences here in sequential fashion). During this relatively short stretch we encountered the worst weather of our trip, with exceedingly strong gusts of wind and intermittent rain. By our estimate the gusts were up to 40 mph and at times we had to fight to keep the car on the road (thank God we weren’t driving an RV or cargo truck!). We did see wild reindeer running across the grasslands — probably seeking shelter from the elements. The scenery remained beautiful and in a few hours we had entered …
Many think South Iceland offers the island’s most spectacular scenery. It’s hard to argue with this except to say that we found all of Iceland to be filled with beautiful landscapes. South Iceland is remarkable for pretty farms in its western portion, rugged mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and the close proximity of several large glaciers (and a memorable glacial lagoon) in its eastern portion, all of which are easily accessible. Like the entire island, South Iceland offers a dramatic representation of the island’s volcanic history.
We drove the Ring Road in a counter clockwise fashion so the following commentary and associated photos are more-or-less based on what we saw and did in sequential fashion: