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Iceland

The Blue Lagoon

Our Last Day in Iceland

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Our final day in Iceland focused on our visit to the iconic Blue Lagoon.

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The lagoon formed in 1976 as runoff from the nearby geothermal power plant. The water truly is a milky-blue & is touted to be good for the skin. The large lagoon includes many connected large & small pool areas. We enjoyed meandering through all of them. We also applied our complimentary silica face masks and slurped on our “Krap” brand cherry slushies.

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We said our goodbyes to Happy Camper & boarded our three-fourths full flight to Seattle. Earl & I had an empty seat between us, which made the trip spacious & comfortable. A quick layover in Seattle gave us a chance to clear customs before boarding our final flight to Ontario. Then Home Sweet Home!

Posted by WorldTravl 23:05 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

The Horse Whisperer

Completing the Ring

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We camped last night at a farm / guesthouse / campsite out in the middle of wide open pasture lands.

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This morning of our last full day in Iceland, I thought about all the amazing things that we've seen & done & about the three things I didn’t get to do: 1) see a puffin, 2) visit a geothermal power plant (the plants' visitor centers are temporarily closed), & 3) touch an Icelandic horse. Yes, I could book a horseback riding activity, but I didn’t really want to RIDE one (plus it’s pretty expensive); I just wanted to meet one up close & personal.

As I looked up from washing my face in the restroom, there upon the wall was a sign that read, “Horse Whisperer.”

One hour later, at this same farm, I was in the paddock with Emma & ten Icelandic horses! Emma had rounded them up from out in the field. She gave me a bag of bread to feed to the horses & told me to go on in. I was instantly swarmed AT A VERY CLOSE DISTANCE by all the horses...a bit overwhelming to someone with next-to-no horse experience. Emma came to my rescue to create some space.

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After the food was gone & the feeding frenzy was over, I got to brush & pet to my heart’s content, all the while asking questions of Emma. It was the perfect amount of horse exposure.

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Our two-hour drive, again through a variety of landscapes, headed us back close to the airport. Along the way, we stopped at an N1 filling station. Earl gave Happy Camper a bath. Then we filled H.C.’s tank with diesel & filled our tanks with pylsur (hot dogs...one hot dog condiment option is crispy fried onions) & soft serve ice cream.

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Posted by WorldTravl 18:40 Archived in Iceland Comments (1)

And You Think YOU Need to Dust?

The Westman Islands

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Yet another night at a beautiful campsite, this one with waterfalls!

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We left Happy Camper in the parking lot & took the 40-minute ferry to the town of Vestmannaeyjar on Heimaey Island, one of the Westman Islands.

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The island experienced a volcanic eruption in 1973. It started one night in January. All the fishing boats were in the harbor because of the bad weather that day, so they were able to evacuate 5000 of the 5,300 inhabitants. Three hundred chose to stay to observe, work, or whatever. The eruption lasted for six months. Ash covered the town. Ash poles like these show how high the ash reached in different areas of town.

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Lava destroyed 400 structures. These “new” lava areas are currently blooming with spring wildflowers. Street signs mark the streets that lay well below.

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The lava also increased the size of the island 20% and narrowed the inlet, actually making the harbor waters calmer & safer.

Around 2006, the city excavated one of the homes that had been completely buried under pumice & ash & decided to build the Volcano Museum around it...literally.

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While we were in the museum learning about the eruption, the evacuation, the clean-up, & the rebuilding, a gentleman approached us & said, “This is the woman whose house this is.” Seriously? Gerður, who must be in her 70’s, talked with us personally for a few minutes about her home & the night of the eruption. She lives in Reykjavik now & just happened to be at the museum with a tour group while we were there. She said she has been a guest escort with four tour groups in the last few years.

This island was kind of my last hope to see a puffin. I got really close.

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These street signs indicate directions to the town swimming pools. Today’s facility on the island was terrific! It has one large indoor pool. Outside is an elaborate children’s area with shooting water fountains, water mushrooms, & a short climbing wall in the pool, so a fall simply puts you back into the water. In addition, there are three straight racing water slides side by side, a taller curvy one, and a final TALLER one that shoots out a few feet above a kind of trampoline slide, which extends another 20 feet before dumping into the pool! Earl & I both tried that one out. In addition, there are three hot pots of varying temperatures, a steam room, & a one-person-only cold plunge. Earl & I are now honorary Icelanders for having done the cold plunge!

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Posted by WorldTravl 22:50 Archived in Iceland Tagged volcano island Comments (0)

Volcano Soup

South Coast

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We started the day with hot chocolate & a bagel in this school-bus-turned-cafe right next to our campground. Isn’t it cute?

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The basalt formations at the beach are dramatic.

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The water at Skogafoss falls straight down over the edge, with nothing to impede its descent. I walked up quite close to it just fine...until the wind turned, & I got pretty soaked! It was worth it, though.

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We enjoyed a hot lunch of Volcano Soup (beef goulash soup) & bread at a quaint roadside cafe.

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In the hot pot at today’s town pool, a couple from Reykjavik chatted us up, It was really fun to interact with some locals.

Posted by WorldTravl 20:45 Archived in Iceland Comments (1)

Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Around

Glacier in Southeast Iceland

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We had another beautiful campsite last night.

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We used their washing machine to wash clothes, but the dryer kept tripping the breaker. The morning was warm & sunny & windy, so the clothes dried quickly on the clothesline.

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The fjord scenery changed to wide expanses of brown silt & dirt due to Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. Giant white, blue, & clear chunks of ice bob around in Glacier Lagoon, with the glacier in the background. How big does it have to be to qualify as an iceberg? Am I holding an iceberg?

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Nearby is a beach where the sand is very, very fine & very, very black.

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We pulled into two places for the night. Both were very filled up, which was the first time we’ve encountered so many people at campsites. So we decided to drive another 45 minutes & take our chances. We ended up at yet another beautiful & sparsely populated campground. We are just across the road from the coastline. The hills are green & covered with Nookta purple lupine, & the fog has just rolled in.
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Posted by WorldTravl 23:43 Archived in Iceland Tagged glacier camping southeast iceland black_sand lagoom Comments (3)

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