According to its official website, “Iceland is not a destination. It’s an adventure set in stunning scenery.” Clients who have recently returned would agree. Here are comments and images to support the claim:
We went snorkeling in 34 degree water (55 degree air temperature). We put on long underwear, then some sort of neoprene, puffy Goodyear tire guy looking full body warmer, then the wet suit. By squatting down, the air was then forced out. We also had gloves and a hood so only the face was exposed, which went numb in about two minutes. We snorkeled in a beautiful fissure, sort of a slot canyon, with the clearest water I have ever seen.
We were told to go ahead and drink it if it got in our snorkel. It was very deep, there were a couple of scuba divers way below us. We were in the water for about 45 minutes.
Every town has a geothermal community pool where everyone gathers to socialize and relax. All hours of the day. We went to one. They use geothermal energy for so much, and they pay attention to energy usage in so many ways. For example, everything liquid is provided thru a dispenser so that you get only what you need. There are no bars of soap in the hotels that people use a couple of times and then throw away. All soap, shampoo comes out of a dispenser.
The geological activity dominates everything. Iceland sits on a fissure between two Teutonic plates, the North American plate and the Eurasian plate. The plates are constantly moving. So you have lots of volcanic activity, in addition to lots of glacier activity, geothermal waters everywhere. All of this makes for a beautiful, ever changing land of great variety in features. Game of Thrones, Russell Crowe’s Noah (water scenes), several James Bond movies, etc were filmed there. We saw the bay where the actor killer whale that played in Free Willy lived while shooting the film. (He retired to Norwegian waters after the movie, totally free.)
Whale watching in the rubber zodiacs is a little scary. They assured us that no rubber boat has ever been flipped by a whale. They have very strict rules. In favor of the whale. Only four boats may remain in the area of a sighted whale at a time. No boat may approach or drive toward a whale. You just have to pick a spot and sit, drifting and seeing what luck brings you. So we sat for 45 minutes, freezing, seeing nothing. Then suddenly a whale found us and we were the recipients of a remarkable show for a full 30 minutes. The humpback stuck around and played. Our jaws are dropping as we watch from, maybe, 100 feet. In a zodiac. We feel so blessed …. Worth the discomfort and jitters !!
Puffins, puffins, puffins, and the Icelandic flag. More puffins. Love them. They live about 40 years. The males do ALL of the work, like building the nest in a deep hole with two exits. …. And dancing to please their mates. They mate for life. If a male’s mate does not return, he will find a new, younger mate …. But then if the original does return at a later time, he must kick out the new one and resume life with the original They are quite awkward at take offs and landings when it comes to flight because of their stubby body build. Funny. Their tongues are split into sort of spikey pliers so they can pick up and hold 20+ little fish in their beaks at a time.
Icelandic horses are purebreds. No other breed exists on the island. If a horse leaves, he is not allowed to return, so that the breed stays pure. They originally arrived with the Vikings. They are smaller than an American or European horse, but very strong. They have five gaits, unlike our horses with 4: Walk, trot, cantor, gallop and PACE. They are beautiful to watch. We rode through beautiful meadows and then by a waterway where we saw lots of seals bobbing around. I want one.
The Amphibian boat used on land and sea to explore Glacier Lagoon:
I’m sure you are dying to ask, “what is the most impressive thing about Iceland”? Well, all things water, of course. But I have to say that if I could bring one thing home with me, it would be the tap water. Their water is filtered through lava rock, and it comes out of the tap smooth, clear, healthy and tasty. They never buy purified bottled water (unless for a hike) because it is delicious and healthy/pure out of the faucet. Furthermore, bathing/showering in it is fantastic as well. You come out rejuvenated and without needing any lotion, etc. you never feel dried out from immersing in the water. Your skin feels so good. Hair does not need conditioner.
One final comment of great importance, the ONLY American chain of any kind that we saw anywhere, was Subway®!
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