Trip to Iceland - Reykjanes Peninsula

27 January 2012

Lucy and her mum spent three days in Iceland, hoping to see the aurora borealis, but doing some great sightseeing during the day in any case. On the first day they went on a trip to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, near Reykjavik.

Iceland of course has a very big fishing industry; here you can see the drying process, in the perfect climate!

The motto is 'expect anything' when it comes to Icelandic weather - the day we flew in, a very bad snowstorm had brought the area to a standstill. Here you can see the road we have just driven along, cleared by a snowplough...

... and this is where the snowplough had given up and turned round!

However, we took a different route towards the fishing village we were supposed to have lunch at. Here you can see an industrial unit - the lava block right next to it is one of many in the area. Both in industrial and residential areas, the locals believe the lava blocks have elves and they mustn't anger them by moving the blocks. So you find buildings right next to them, blocks in peoples' gardens, and roads making little diversions around them.

The ubiquitous Icelandic pony (though the Icelandic people call them horses, they are apparently right on the borderline for size) which are famous for their strength compared to their size, and the fifth gait they have, known as the tolt.

In the fishing village, we had 2 options for lunch - cold bread with shrimps and hard boiled eggs, or hot lobster soup. As it was below freezing with an extremely strong and icy wind, Lucy chose the soup, and was relieved to find it very tasty.

As we leave the village, the weather continues to worsen

We arrive at one of the region's geothermal areas. Iceland is pretty much all volcanic rock, and here you can see how the activity under the ground has melted the snow in patches.

The Hetta steam crater - very sulphurous!

Our next stop was a bridge between continental masses - Iceland spans the Eurasian and American tectonic plates, and there are several places where you can see or walk across the rift. It was quite a difficult walk from the car in the distance, not so much from the temperature as from the extremely strong wind.

Lucy and her Mum, who is very proud of having got across the bridge, being very nervous about heights. Here we are standing on the American plate, with Europe behind us!

Safely back at the car, we drive to the Viking museum, where we saw a replica of a famous Viking boat, Islendingur.

The sign at the steps read 'staff only' but we were told we could walk all over the boat - whether this was a prize for coming out in a snowstorm to sightsee, or whether the staff were related to the tour guide, we didn't know!

The final stop of the day was to the famous Blue Lagoon, created by accident from geothermal works, and kept at a constant wonderfully warmed temperature.

Mum & Lucy in the Blue Lagoon - the water was indeed very warm, but the heavy rain and howling gale made it an interesting experience - one we wouldn't have missed however! The Lagoon is conveniently 3 minutes drive from our hotel, so we called for the shuttle bus and went back for a delicious dinner.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson