Saturday, February 11, 2012

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice

July 27, 2009, I blogged about my visit to L'Anse aux Meadows, and how in 1100 AD Vikings from Greenland and Iceland came there.

The word Geysir orginated
with the Icelandic language
Looking back, I suppose that it was appropriate that I follow the Viking trail back from the eastern shores of Canada to Keflavik, which is Iceland's international airport.   Okay, they came by boat, and I went by plane, but why quibble?

I was in Iceland for one week, from August 29 to September 6, 2011.  Most of the time I was there, it was damp and cool.  Iceland's weather isn't particularly enticing.  It's a small, modern country, and it appears that the Icelanders, unlike Mexicans, look forward rather than into the past.  There are few signs of an ancient cultural, except for minor displays in the museum. 

It's an expensive place to visit and to live. 

Since the weather isn't good and it's expensive, why go?

Kerith a volcanic crater lake
I left Iceland with an intuitive understanding of how the earth was formed.  Iceland is situated on two tectonic plates, the North American and the Eurasian.  The constant shifting of the plates gives rise to the opening up of the earth.  At its core, the earth is molten.  By all rights Iceland, situated north of the 60th parallel, ought to be covered in snow, but it isn't.  During the winter, it will see, perhaps, -2 C. 
This is because of the thermal heat from the earth's center creates hot springs, geysers and volcanoes.

I enjoyed watching the Icelandic sheep leaping joyfully around the meadow. 

Gulfoss Waterfall
Reykjavik is a small, well-planned city with plenty of green spaces, walking and bicycling paths.

The most surprising part of my visit was the shopping mall.  Let me tell you, I hate shopping, and hate isn't too strong a word.   But, the stores in the shopping mall were amazing.  Apparently, Icelandic people are very particular about the products they buy, and this is, naturally, reflected in the products being offered.

The land of fire and ice is well worth a week or two visit.  I have a lot of photos of Iceland.  However, at this point they are without captions.  

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