Most of my travels are in Central America; if that's the blog you're looking for, here it is: Hopefulist in Latin America.

This is the blog for photos and reflections of my visits to other places, beginning in 2013. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr.
HAPPY TRAILS!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

ICELAND!

Our best priced flights between PDX and London were through Icelander and turned up actually cheaper if we extended our layover coming or going - we decided to spend 4 nights in Iceland, booked a cute Airbnb apartment owned by an Icelandic man named Svavar in Mosfellsbær, and watched the weather to see if renting a car would be feasible. While we were in the UK the weather forecast was in our favor so we reserved a little car online and started planning where it would take us. Svavar gave us great grocery store and bakery advice, told us where to go to see the northern lights if the sky cleared, and recommended a geothermal pool complex a few minutes from the apartment.


We shopped in one feel swoop and prepared all of our own meals - great breakfasts, perfect picnic lunches every day, and dinners featuring salmon and fresh local vegetables. It was so confusing - no easy way to connect cost signs with the food we wanted so we just ignored them and filled the cart. Our food came out almost exactly 'even' and given the relatively high cost of meals out in Iceland was a good value at about 10,000 króna - $95 USD.






Mosfellsbær is about 20 minutes north of Reykjavík on the ‘Golden Circle’, a loosely-defined loop of roads in SW Iceland, all destinations easily accessible as day trips with a 2 wheel drive car and nearly all free of charge. The 1st full day we drove to Þingvellir National Park, home of the world’s longest running parliament and a site where the growing rift between the European and North America tectonic plates is on full display. The weather on offer was a soft rain - waterproof gear made it a pleasant hike to the Öxarárfoss waterfall and on the Skógarkotsvegur loop to an ancient farmstead and even older lava flows.








Back in Mosfellsbær we found the Lágafellslaug geothermal pools recommended by Svavar to be a real treat.


The next day we headed south west; 2 things we saw a lot of in Iceland: beautiful Icelandic horses in a wide array of colors and geothermal plants. 





We visited the Kerið Crater near Selfoss; 


this late in the year the sun stays so low at that latitude that light doesn’t hit the lake. We hiked the rim trail, 



then drove back toward Reykjavík and hiked up the Reykjadalur Valley near the town of Hveragerð. It was a steep, chilly, windy hike but the reward at the end was a soak in a beautiful, hot river - amazing.












That night the sky was clear; we headed up the road to Þingvellir away from street lights and watched to the north, fingers and toes crossed despite a low prediction of solar activity that brings aurora borealis to life. Just as we were giving up and driving away, there it was! Not a huge display but beautiful and mysterious. I set my camera on the top of the car with an open shutter and got this image of lights right under the Big Dipper.


Our last full day we headed to Geysir, the place that gave it’s name to geysers around the world.









Next stop was to view the incredible Gullfoss Waterfalls from 3 different levels.




We drove through sheep country for a soak in Gamla Laugin (Secret Lagoon) in the town of Flúðir. The oldest geothermal pool in Iceland, we relaxed with floaties, paddling our way around the pool, finding the places with just the right temperature. Hot springs measuring 100 degrees celsius (212 Fahrenheit - boiling!) surrounded the pool and the areas where those waters entered the pool we too hot for comfort.






We started the packing process that evening and finished the next morning before heading to Álafoss waterfall and the 120 year old Álafoss wool store and factory in Mosfellsbær.




What I wanted:


What I decided on:


Next stop was the Shore and Sculpture walk including the famous Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavík before heading to Keflavík, returning our trusty rental car, and shuttling to the airport.



Our flight departed at 5:10pm and arrived in Portland at 6:15pm - we passed through 7 time zones and experienced an 8 hour sunset.




This was just a small taste of what Iceland offers and it was delicious. If you'd like to see more photos, click HERE

HAPPY TRAILS!