Iceland - Land of Ice and Fire

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 23rd February 2000

Reykjavik, Capital of Iceland

  • The exotic scent of stink bombs greets me as I alight from the plane at Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland and accompanies me for most of my stay. Nowhere is far from volcanic fumes.
  • The capital is typical Scandi style - a hill crowded with gaily painted houses and arty shops crowned by an elegant modern cathedral.
  • Iceland is eye wateringly expensive. Nearly all the food has to be imported and alcohol is so dear the wine is provided in bottles marked by rubber bands. You pay for what you drink – only the super-rich consume the whole thing.
  • The food is eclectic - everything from fermented shark and puffin burgers to smorgasbord and pizza.
  • Everyone speaks excellent English and wears woolly jumpers.

The Golden Circle, Iceland

  • We visit the Icelandic tourist Golden Circle and the lava filled landscape, more of a moonscape, is extraordinarily eerie.
  • First, there’s the spectacular Geysir area, where the active hot spring of Strokkur spouts steaming water 30 meters into the air habitually, every 8 minutes.
  • Then, one of Iceland’s most iconic features, where the Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls), plummet into a 32-metre deep crevice.
  • Onto Þingvellir National Park, at the Continental Divide, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year. Þingvellir is also the site of a stunning rift valley and the Rock of Law - the first Viking parliament.
  • Finally, the volcanic crater at Lake Kerið.
  • The Northern Lights are sadly elusive on this trip.
  • I opt not to visit the Blue Lagoon. It’s at the top of most visitors’ agendas, but it sounds like an overcrowded tourist trap and what’s more you also get covered in mud.
  • I am also persuaded into a snow-mobile ride on the glacier, however, a decision I later regret. Neil professes to be able to drive one. It is a terrifying experience.

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