Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sources

http://www.localhistories.org/iceland.html










Introduction to my Iceland Trip

My name is Erica, and I have taken a trip to Iceland. It took me months upon months of planning and saving money to be able to go. The trip was eight days long, though the majority of three of them was spent traveling. It was very interesting, seeing the life and culture of another place in the world. The differences in environment and food were especially interesting to me. I went to many different restaurants, and saw many different environmental wonders on my trip. The primary reason that I went was to have a vacation outside of the USA in a place that was safe, but very different, and not incredibly overwhelming.

Traveling

A map of how we flew (made by yours truly!)

We left on July 5, 2016. The plane took off from San Diego Lindbergh field at 11:40 am. It was around six hours until we landed at the John F Kennedy airport in New York, at 8:15 pm. Time zones sure are confusing! We then had a one hour layover, where we took off to head to Reykjavik. Most of the flight was during the night time, so it was around 7:00 am when we finally landed. We got a rental car, went to our hotel, and spent the next few hours sleeping, as we were still mentally on San Diego time. 

http://p3.img.cctvpic.com/program/cultureexpress/20130906/images/1378435111815_1378435111815_r.jpg

After we awoke, we went to the Perlan for dinner. It is a futuristic looking restaurant, with a huge glass dome roof. In it, while you ate, you could get a great view of the natural surroundings. The food was nice, albeit expensive.

Day #1- The Blue Lagoon

On the first day, we went to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a popular tourist destination here in Iceland. It is a geothermal spa that is fed with water from a nearby geothermal plant. The drive to it from our hotel was a little long, taking about 40 minutes. The landscape was very stark, consisting mostly of barren lava rocks. From a landscape like it, you wouldn't expect very much of anything to be out here.

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However, as soon as we got there, I saw how the place got its name. The water was a striking blue colour, contrasting the rest of the landscape. It seemed as if it were a different planet. While we were there, I partook I what the place had to offer. You could just swim around in the water, get a floating massage, or even get drinks from a floating bar. I spent most of it swimming around.

http://www.reykjavik.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lava-restaurant-at-the-Blue-Lagoon-660x440.jpg

There was a restaurant, called the Lava Restaurant, at the lagoon. The food was nice, but really expensive. Later, after having a nice day at the lagoon, we went back to Reykjavik, where we ate at the 3 Frakkar for dinner.
http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/06/98/4d/09/3-frakkar-hja-ulfari.jpg

Day #2- The Golden Circle

http://www.theculturemap.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/golden_circle_route_map_iceland.jpg

On the second day traveling, I went to the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a route around southwestern Iceland, where you can see many iconic geographical features. After having breakfast at the hotel, I got in the rental car, and drove to the start of the route. There was no entry toll, seeing as it was just a route of roads. 


http://www.thingsites.com/assets/images/enlargeable/thing-sites/iceland/Thingvellir.jpg

The first thing we passed was Þingvellir National Park. Here, we saw many rivers, and fissures in the ground, caused by shifting techtonic plates. Around this park, there are a couple large farms. These farms have some super friendly horses and sheep, which let you go up to the fence, and pet them. Some horses let me do that, and they walked up to the fence when they saw me. 


http://hotpoticeland.com/wp-content/uploads/haukadalur.jpg

Later, I drove to Haukadalur, a geothermal area with a lot of geysers. When the geysers erupt, they churn up a lot of soil, which smells like eggs. I got to see a famous geyser, called Strokkur, which erupts every 10 minutes, and shoots water more than 100 feet into the air. I made sure to stay back, so I wouldn't get scalded by the boiling water. 


http://www.exploreiceland.is/files/images/infoiceland.is/Gallery/Waterfalls/Gullfoss/Medium/gullfoss-waterfall-6.jpg

Then I got to see the Gullfross Waterfall. There's a parking lot nearby it, where I stopped, and went to this concrete walkway over the edge of the water fall. I managed to avoid getting drenched by the mist, unlike a few others. 


http://www.traveltourismblog.com/images/crater%20Lake%20Kerid%20Iceland.jpg

Lastly, I saw the Kerið Crater. It is a crater full of water, located where an old volcano collapsed in on itself. The walk down to it took only five minutes.  Altogether, the trip took almost eight hours, based on how often I stopped. When I returned to Reykjavik, I had a nice dinner at the Lækjarbrekka.

Day #3- Heiðmörk

On the third day, I went to another scenic place near Reykjavik, the Heiðmörk nature reserve.

After waking up, I went to the Bergsson Mathus for breakfast. I then went to Heiðmörk to spend the day.
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3168/2853094252_e26d91a224_b.jpg

During my time there, I hiked some of the many nature trails that there are at the park. Among them were the Rauðhólar, (meaning "red hills") which are the remains of psuedocraters, made when lava hardened over a wet area, like a swamp.

http://wildlifephotographic.blogspot.com/2015/09/immersed-in-iceland-day-9-wheres.html

I got to see some of the 60+ species of birds living in the park, including Ptarmigan. Golden Plovers, and Red Necked Phalaropes.
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2185/2541857552_cb658c4161_b.jpg

I learned that over 4 million trees have been planted in the park since 1950, when the park was founded. Despite rumors that the country is too cold for trees to grow, the trees are actually doing very well. After spending the day hiking, and over all having a laid back and relaxed time, I ate dinner at the Maturr Og Drykkur.

Day #4- National Museum of Iceland

On the fourth day, I went to the National Museum of Iceland.

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I went to Cafe Loki for breakfast. I then went to the National Museum of Iceland. The NMIO, as I will abbreviate it, is a museum about the history of Iceland. It has over 2000 different exhibits, not including over 1000 photographs. When I first went in, I noticed the layout of the Museum. The exhibits were laid out in chronological order, with the oldest ones being at the front, and the newest near the end. I learned that Iceland had first been settled in 874 AD.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Val%C3%BEj%C3%B3fssta%C3%B0ur_Door.jpg

Among the exhibits were the Valþjófsstaður, which is an ancient door with engravings of stories, like the 12th century tale Le Chevalier au Lion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu%C3%B0brandur_%C3%9Eorl%C3%A1ksson

I saw Guðbrandur's bible, the first book printed in Iceland, in the 1500s.
http://www.thjodminjasafn.is/english/permanent-exhibition/key-objects/nr/2479

Another exhibit was the Blue and White, Iceland's first flag. The one on display had been stolen off a racing boat, a very long time ago. At some point, I left the Museum to get lunch at the Bergsson Mathus. For dinner, I ate at the Lækjarbrekka.