Daily Archives: August 24, 2007

Volcanoes, Icebergs, and Glaciers, Oh My!

Spoiler.

If you are planning to go to Iceland ever and want to be surprised don’t look any further.

Or if you find vacation photos boring, please go away too. I won’t be offended.

So, for the rest of you, here’s what happened. I decided, out of the blue, to go last month, and booked a tour that circumnavigated the island. Iceland is way closer to New York than I realized — takes about the same amount of time as the Limoliner to Boston or a flight to Seattle. And the time difference for me right now is four hours. The place is gorgeous, surpassing all I’d heard about it, with tons of great stuff to do. We stayed in very nice hotels and ate quite well (something I had not expected knowing that so much is imported). It was cold which I liked, expensive which I didn’t, but overall it was a grand vacation I highly recommend.

During my time in Iceland I traveled through lava fields of different kinds, walked along remarkable beaches of black sand, passed craters, dormant and dead volcanoes, peered into pseudo craters, wandered up and down sulfur slopes, observed bubbling mud pools, jumped when geysers blew, saw puffins and tons of other birds, had a snowball fight on a glacier, went on a whale watch where some people saw a minke whale, rode an adorable horse, went on a magical boat ride in an iceberg filled lagoon, saw countless waterfalls, soaked in the Blue Lagoon, and did a whole lot more. I’m not much of a photographer, but here are some I did take:

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Lava fields with geothermal steam in the distance.

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Near where the North American and Eurasian plates meet.

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Behind Seiljalandsfoss

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A rainbow at Skogafoss

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One of many boiling sulfur mud pools at Namaskard.

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The view from my hotel window of Lake Myvatn.

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At a small village where only one nonogenarian still lives.

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His church

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Icelandic cows (from which the tasty skyr is made) in front of the enormous Vatnajokull glacier.

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On the glacier.

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On a boat on the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

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On an Icelandic horse.

An all around grand and fantastic vacation (when I read and listened to adult books only for a change!).

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An Icelandic Children’s Author

Akureyri, in northwestern Iceland, is the birthplace of the Reverend Jon Sveinsson (Nonni), “..one of Iceland’s most famous and best-loved children’s authors.” according to my Lonely Planet guide. I visited the Nonnahus, his childhood home. It was fun peeking into the recreated (I’m assuming) rooms, but most of all I was fascinated by the evidently worldwide appreciation of the man’s work as I was completely unfamiliar with it or him. Several rooms were filled with translated books and photos of Nonni all over the world. Of particular interest to me was that he was especially admired in Japan, visiting there in 1937, of all times! I asked the young woman at the museum if she’d read his books and she said she had only after beginning to work at the museum as they were more for boys. They looked, I must say, pretty old-fashioned. I passed on buying the English edition as it was rather spartan in look and I couldn’t see ever reading it (and everything in Iceland was just too pricey to a whole lot of impulse shopping anyway). The stories were filmed in 1988 and here is a video that gives you a taste of them and some of what I saw in Iceland (as I recognize many of the settings).

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Remembering Harry: In Iceland

Below is the window of a bookstore in Akureyri, a lovely town in northwestern Iceland. If you can’t figure it out, the windows are full of the four Hogwarth’s house crests. And here are some photos of their release activities for the final book.

 

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I’m Back…

and will follow this post with a few about Iceland, beginning with two that are children’s literature related.

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