Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Iceland Reflections: Part Two (PHOTO GALLERY)

My Reflections on Iceland continue with today's entry on sightseeing. Please enjoy the photos.

Sightseeing in Iceland

Tourism has blown up in the last few years in Iceland, ever since traveling there has become easier and less expensive. It’s not hard to see why people want to visit. The landscapes are pristine and, especially in the winter, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

Mike likes the beach and the VOLCANO SAND
I got to see beautiful mountains and waterfalls (see above), frozen lakes and black sand beaches (see below), geothermal fountains and massive craters... everything was new and amazing to me. Every natural formation was different from what I was used to, it seemed. The sand came from volcanic activity and the greenhouses ran on geothermal energy. On clear nights, we could see them glowing orange and warm all the way across the lake in Laugarvatn. 

Look Up!

Sometimes the sunrise and sunset alone had me clicking away on my camera because the colors were like a Lisa Frank painting. On my way back to the airport on my last day, the sky was cotton candy pink. It did not look natural. Because of the proximity to the pole, the days were incredibly short but the transitions between light and dark went on for hours. The colors never got old, however. Even on my ride to the airport, I couldn't help staring at the sky and watching the clouds change color.

On three different nights I got to see the northern lights over the mountain behind the cabin. They were mostly green and kind of weak, but one night they changed colors and we got to watch them dance across the sky! I love stargazing, and having the northern lights added to an already amazing sky was such a delight. I could not stop taking pictures, but I set up my camera on a tripod and let it take long-exposure shots while I enjoyed the sky through my own eyes.

Going "Out" When EVERYWHERE is "Out"

Finally, my housemates and I spent time exploring some of the Human parts of Iceland. We saw an old church that was at the heart of an on-going archaeological dig, and if you know me, you know I’ve got a super soft spot for archaeology. The church had a list of bishops going all the way back to the 1100s (I believe. There were a lot of them.) And again, the sun made beautiful patterns coming through the stained glass. 

We met the famous Icelandic horses, visited an ancient graveyard, and ate at a greenhouse that grew tomatoes and cultivated beehives. The horses were SO FUZZY and very sweet--they must be used to having fans stopping by and saying hello regularly.
Most of the produce that comes from Iceland is grown in greenhouses, so that the climate can be controlled and they will grown all year round. We stopped in at a tomato greenhouse for lunch and had a meal with tomatoes in all the courses, including dessert! I don't love tomatoes on their own, but we ordered one of each of the ice cream, cheesecake with tomato jam, and apple/tomato crumble. They were all very good but I ordered the crumble and ended up picking out a alot of the tomatos like a fool. Clockwise starting at the left, that's the cheesecake, the ice cream, whipped cream for the crumble, and the crumble. The little desserts in pots were so cute! Overall the food was good and I'm glad I tried some dishes I'd never seen or heard of before, but tomatoes are still not my jam. Not even when they're in a literal jam.

I did NOT soak in a natural hot tub. Not even the one at the little gym by our creativity center. I don’t regret skipping that, but maybe I will in the future? I also didn't make volcano bread of my very own, but that had more to do with letting my wrists recover than anything else. In order to make sure the bread cooks, you have to dig a little over a foot into the ground. I'm glad I joined the other ladies in walking down to the beach and digging a hole for their own bread dough, but I didn't need to try and injure myself in the name of my Very Own Loaf.

I really love my camera, and I'm working on understanding it better instead of just relying on standard presets. I had so much fun testing it out in different situations in Iceland, and I'd love to do that more in the future. 

Keflavik Airport
Check back in tomorrow for more on my trip.

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