It has taken me a few weeks, but at last here are the final pictures from my trip to Iceland, with everything from reflections in a quiet lake, to strange lava formations, or views of the ocean and views of the countryside. There is also a category of miscellaneous, where I put pictures I like but don’t know how to categorize. I hope you enjoyed my trip to Iceland. I did.
I still have more pictures from Iceland to show you, even though I have been home for two weeks. I have realized that I can either sort pictures and update my website, or I can get out of the house, do fun things, and take more pictures. I have opted for the taking more pictures and am getting further behind with updating my website.
Here are photos of flowers in Iceland – some are familiar and some are quite unknown. I like them, and I hope you do, too.
The state church in Iceland is Lutheran. While driving through Iceland we passed many little villages that had a white church with a red roof, and someone suggested maybe that was the only kind of church they build in Iceland. Eventually we did see some churches that were different. The Hallgrim’s Church in Reykjavík is certainly a notable exception.
Here are some of my favorite photos of waterfalls in Iceland. I love waterfalls, and could spend hours just watching and listening to them them.
Last week, I sailed on the sailing ship Norðlýsið from Tórshavn to the island of Hestur for a concert in a sea-cave. During the summer there is a “grotto concert” on Hestur every week. When I saw that Dávur Juul Magnussen would be playing, I knew I had to go. Earlier this year, I downloaded the Faroese Symphony Orchestra New Year’s concert onto my computer from the Kringvarp internet, and played the music while I was babysitting for my grandson. He loves the trombone solo and asks me to play it over and over (and over and over). Tomorrow will be his second birthday, but he has good taste in music.
I didn’t get any photos of the actual concert. It is hard to do in a dark wet cave, especially since I had to climb up a rather steep, slippery cliff inside the dark cave. I decided not to jeopardize my camera, and left it safely in my backpack. I made it back to the boat with one skinned knee and a couple of bruises, but my camera was fine.
Everywhere we went, we saw evidence of volcanic activity in Iceland. We saw numerous sites where steam vents or underground hot water were used for heating or generating electricity. We visited at least two different sites where we could see that the American and Eurasian continental plates are slowly moving away from each other, leaving a very noticeable rift between them. We also saw a number of places with geysirs, boiling hot creeks, bubbling mud pits, and steam vents reeking of sulphur. These areas were usually barren of vegetation and often had colorful rocks and soil from various mineral deposits. Quite a few Hollywood movies have been filmed here, using these desolate lands as a backdrop. The pictures are from all parts of Iceland that we visited.
Glaciers in Iceland are so massive, that the best I could do was to take pictures of the edges of the glaciers. Our first day of travel was through the middle of Iceland between two massive glaciers, Langjøkull and Hofsjøkull. We could see them off in the distance, rising above the ranges of nearby mountains. Our road that day was mostly unpaved dirt and gravel, so it was a long bus ride through a high desert, with huge caps of ice in the distance.
Several days later we spent time along the edge of Vatnajøkull National Park, also called Skaftafell National Park. We were able to get close to several arms of the glacier, and I walked up to the edge of one of the glaciers. The ice in this area was thickly coated with ash from the volcano Grimsvøtn that erupted a couple of months ago.
Iceland is quite a mountainous country, and I included photos of some beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) mountains.
I got back from Iceland in time to go up the mountain to the sheep shearing with my neighbors. I didn’t do much actual shearing, but I did try to entertain two small children so their mother/grandmother could shear the sheep. I had to learn a few new Faroese phrases, “Don’t kick the sheep” and “Don’t touch my camera.”
A couple dozen men and several sheep dogs went up the mountain early in the morning to bring in the sheep. It was about noon when all the sheep were finally in the sheep fold. Then it was time for lunch – coffee, tea, juice, pancakes, and jam. After lunch, several men worked together to give all the sheep a dose of some kind of medicine. The owners of the sheep located their own sheep and sheared them. It was a family affair, with children and adults of all ages working together. Then the clean, short-haired sheep were allowed to go back up the mountain.
Icelanders are very proud of their horses. To keep the breed pure, they don’t permit any other horses to enter Iceland, and if an Icelandic horse leaves the country, it is not allowed back in. We saw horses everywhere we went. In the high desert in the middle of the country we encountered a group of maybe 25 riders with 75 horses, traveling cross-country by horse. To avoid tiring the small horses, each rider alternates riding three different horses.
My trip to Iceland included a visit to the Jøkulsárlón Ice Lagoon on the edge of the Vatnajøkull glacier in south eastern Iceland. We boarded an amphibious craft that drove over the rocky shoreline and into the lagoon. Only 10% of the icebergs are above water, so we were surrounded by a lot of ice. Several of the icebergs had a thick coating of ash from the recent volcanic eruption of Grimsvøtn just a month or two ago. Others had layer upon layer of black ash and white ice, accumulated over hundreds of years. The blue icebergs are pure, clear ice that appears blue in cloudy weather (so I have been told, but I think they are blue). I found the icebergs quite intriguing, and included too many pictures. I apologize.