Our first glimpse of Iceland was as we approached the north coast from the west nearing the end of our cruise on the Celebrity Summit. Simply put, it was beautiful.
Our first port of call was at the city of Akureyri, located near the end of the longest fjord in Iceland. The scenes were breathtaking as we glided up the waterway.
We had signed up for a small group tour to Godafoss which was amazing. It got its name, “Falls of the Gods” when the Christians ransomed the King to convert and demanded that they throw all their talisman and religious artifacts into the waterfalls.
Iceland is an extremely active area for volcanos and geothermal activity, one of the admirable things the Icelandic people have done is harness that energy. As we were driving on our tour the driver pointed out one of the plants that shoots water down into the earth where it immediately converts to steam. The steam then turns turbines to produce electricity and hot water for their homes.

One of the tidbits of information we received from a number of different sources is that you never want to invite a person from Iceland to stay at your home, especially during the winter. Apparently the normal thing to do when you get home, any time of year, is open your windows or patio doors and then open the oven door and turn the temperature to maximum. Once you have done that you turn on your hot shower to run and make a cup of coffee and read a bit. When you are done your coffee you then can take your shower. There were minor variations of this story but after I had heard it from the third totally independent person I had to start to believe it. The thing is now that the infrastructure is built, their electricity and hot water are essentially free. One couple we were chatting with in Reykjavik stated for their rather large house they paid just under $50CDN a month for utilities.

In the West Fjords where they don’t have geothermal activity to generate steam ,they do have an abundance of water so hydro power is readily available in that region. In parts of Reykjavik they even have underground heating for their sidewalks and plazas so they are clear of snow all year. Brilliant!
Because of the geothermal activity here every town and outpost has some type of hot baths. Some people have expanded their pools to commercial enterprizes due to the demand from tourism.
We had the opportunity at a rest stop to check out some traditional sod houses. The thought of someone surviving a north Icelandic winter in these huts certainly speaks to the ruggedness of the original people here.
Our second stop in Iceland was in the West Fjords region at the city of Ísafjörður. We did another small group tour from there to visit Dynjandi waterfall. This included a couple of 7km long tunnels, some very impressive engineering in a very remote place.
Once we had seen the falls from the bottom we knew we had to go up. This also provided some great views of the valley below.
The obligatory photo to show we had made it as far up as is safely possible. Quite an impressive waterfall to behold.
Though we were incredibly lucky with the weather for our entire time in Iceland, we did come to understand the warnings about the wind. Sometimes you just had to hunker down and hide from it for a bit.

We certainly enjoyed our glimpse of the northern regions of Iceland, but were looking forward to getting off the ship and exploring Reykjavik on foot for a few days.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

3 comments on “Iceland

  1. Anonymous

    Iceland looks and sounds lovely! Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Phil Davies

    Peter and Karen…Michelle and I just love reading about your adventures. Keep up the blog, it is very much appreciated. Salud! Phil and Michelle

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