Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Iceland

This is the first in a series from my recent trip to Iceland.  A lot of people looked at me with a curious expression when I said my next trip was to Iceland.  It's not on most Americans radar for a travel destination, but I can tell you it's well worth the trip.  This first email is designed to clarify some things about Iceland.  First off, it's not icy everywhere in Iceland.  See, the story goes that the Norwegian vikings decided to call it Iceland when they were settling the country because they wanted it to themselves.  They figured if they named it something like Iceland no one would want to go there.  On the contrary, it's green in lots of areas and it's filled with natural beauty like waterfalls, geysirs, volcanos, hot springs, mountains, moss and lichen-covered lava fields, and, yes, glaciers.  But glaciers only comprise a part of Iceland.  The funny thing is that the vikings also gave Greenland it's name to get people interested in going there and if you know anything about Greenland its' about 80% ice covered.  So the saying "Iceland is green and Greenland is ice" is really true.  Clever vikings.  And the weather in Iceland isn't as cold as you might expect.  In fact, the average high in January in Reykjavik (the capital) is warmer than in New York City.  But, it doesn't exactly get hot here either.  The average high in July/August is around 55° but temps can get into the upper 70's.  The country stays temperate because of the gulf stream even though it's just outside the Arctic Circle.  And in the spring and fall the high and low temperature hardly changes at all. While I was there the forecast showed a high of 57 and a low of 54 for the whole week.  And Iceland is the easiest foreign country I've ever traveled in because everyone speaks English, they drive on the same side of the road as the US and they accept credit cards virtually everywhere.  Stay tuned for the next installment of this series.

Hallgrimskirkja cathedral in Reykjavik and the inspiration for the design is the naturally forming basalt columns you see on the right.

Ć¾ingvellir national park is where the first Icelandic parliament convened in 930 AD

People photographing in lava fields

Kirkjufell mountain
If you have an interest in buying photos from my travels in Europe you can find them here http://www.europefineartphotos.com