- Back to Our Roots -
Introduction, Glaciers & Icebergs , Geysers, Vistas, Reykjavik, and Vignettes.
Dan, Leif and I finally made our long anticipated trip to our ancestral home, Iceland. We took the Ring Rider Icelandair fly & drive package to thoroughly explore the island, which is roughly the size of England. It was a "Once in a Lifetime" experience for us. And for me to be with my sons on this incredible journey was truly gratifying.
It would be an understatement to say that we enjoyed this rugged and multifaceted country! We loved our Nordic journey!!! From glaciers to waterfalls, lava fields to fjords, the ever-changing vistas were a delight to the eye, and the food different and delicious! My ever adventurous sons, especially Dan, tried everything, including horse, whale, seal, and the Icelandic delicacy, rotted shark. I concentrated on kleiners, the Icelandic donuts "just like Langamma (Grandma) used to make", and smoothies made with skyr, Icelandic yogurt, but did try the rotted shark and a few other-wordly snacks. Our accommodation while on the road was in farm house B&Bs; a slightly misleading description as they were comparable to our motels- comfortable, but located on a farm. We even managed to visit the farm where my grandfather lived and worked prior to his emigration to Canada in the late 1800s. The following is a brief description from Wikipedia:
"Iceland is a European island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 square kms (39,769 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Reykjavík, whose surrounding area is home to some two-thirds of the national population. Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is volcanically and geologically active on a large scale; this defines the landscape. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterized by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many big glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate relative to its latitude and provides a habitable environment. The settlement of Iceland began in AD 874 when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent Norwegian settler on the island. Others had visited the island earlier and stayed over winter. Over the next centuries, people of Nordic and Celtic origin settled in Iceland. Until the 20th century, the Icelandic population relied largely on fisheries and agriculture, and was from 1262 to 1918 a part of the Norwegian, and later the Danish, monarchies. In the 20th century, Iceland's economy and welfare system developed quickly, and in recent decades the nation has implemented free trade in the European Economic Area, diversifying from fishing to new economic fields in tourism, finance and various industries."
I took on the task of editing our 12 gigabytes of photos and videos and eventually produced two DVDs, (one for family consumption, & a shorter version for guests), complete with authentic Icelandic music. The following are some of the best shots to give you an idea of the diversity and rugged beauty of the Icelandic landscape.
Initially, I must address the question of luggage space that is in our U-Drive Toyota Yaris. My sons are 6' 2" plus, and I'm around 5' 11" so when Leif suggested a Yaris was all we needed I voiced a supposedly professional view that we'd need a shovel size shoe horn to wedge the three of us plus our luggage into the minute beastlet!
Well I was wrong, as can be seen in the photo at left taken as we prepared to depart our hotel in Reykjavik. "You were right guys!" In fact the 3 cylinder Yaris proved to be amazingly comfortable and dependable considering some of the back roads we attacked, and very economical!
A very special thanks to Helga, Jonas and their two children, amazing son Fridrik and adorable daughter Vigdis (at right) for being such wonderful hosts while we were in Reykjavik!!! These Icelanders lived first in Winnipeg and then in Ottawa for a few years, and are friends of a friend of Leif's. Leif e-mailed them prior to our trip and they insisted we contact them on our arrival which we did. They treated us to an excellent dinner and then insured we saw all the great spots in Reykjavik, including helping us souvenir shop and accompanying us up to the Blue Lagoon on our departure day. We certainly hope we get the chance to reciprocate in future!
Note: An article was published in the Ottawa Citizen of 21 August 2010 covering Jonas's iconoclastic walking tours of Reykjavik each summer. Just click here to see and, hopefully, read the article - not the clearest copy but the best I could do!
Now, the spectacular scenery. How about some waterfalls, and there were many, each having its own particular attraction and dimension.
As can be seen, my 'boys' seemed to delight in getting as close to the edge of these intimidating torrents as possible - maybe knowing how dad's stomach rebelled at the mere thought of such proximity!
But enough of these vertigo producing vistas! How about some glaciers and icebergs?
Just click on the Viking below.
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