Originally published 27 June 2013
On the shores of the famous "Blue Lagoon"
We awoke this morning to rain, wind, and temperatures just this side of raw. Okay....probably the other side of raw if you ask Laurie. The problem wasn't so much the temperature (around the low 40's), but the wind. It would just cut you in two. Horrid weather......so what do we do? Suit up and go on a road trip! Laurie called our rental a "little putt putt car". More accurate than one thinks.....
On the tectonic plate gap between the continents
The bridge between the continents
We took off down the west coast this morning.........and the first stop was the bridge where the continental plates meet.....technically, on one side you're in north America.....and the other side...in Europe! We didn't fly halfway around the world to look at it through a car window.....so out we went into the rain and howling winds! And they were howling. We took a look around and took a few quick pics. While a cool place, hypothermia didn't sound like a fun activity to us...so we dashed back to the car. I will also mention.....we were the ONLY ones brave enough to even be there. Only the tough can hang when we go road tripping!
"The last great auk" statue. We happened upon this.
Our "putt putt" car
Our next stop was on the ocean right at one of the big geothermal fields they have here....and they're all over the place. We saw generating plants everywhere we traveled. Iceland gets ALL of it's electrical power from geothermal. As best I can tell there are no hot water heaters in our hotel. The water is geothermal water straight out of the ground. and let me tell you.....it's REALLY hot. 1/8th turn of hot in the shower and cold full on. Otherwise, it'll fry you! It is efficient, I'll give you that. Before everyone starts saying how great it is and why don't we do it.....remember, you basically have to be sitting on top of a volcano to make it happen.....
A geothermal drill rig
The ocean cliffs, a huge rookery with many rare birds
The earth is new here.....lava fields that are covered in moss.....and it looks like the crust of the earth bubbled up, covered it, and cooled off and cracked. It looks......unfinished......like work stopped in the middle. Obviously, in some places we went today....work is not yet complete and is still underway.....and others, it's reclaiming work already done. It changes every day......although not as fiercely as places like Hawaii, where you have active lava. Everything is black...because all the hills and mountains, all the road beds, all the rocks, all the cliffs..............were lava. It's very different.
Laurie disappears into the mist
A gorgeous but angry ocean
There are lighthouses on every point....and who doesn't like lighthouses! They had shipwreck maps in Reykjavic...and they had to break it into about 20 maps all of ten year periods. Otherwise, there were so many shipwrecks you couldn't see the maps. It's a mean, cold ocean, with a wicked wind pushing you right onto the rocks. Shipwrecks happen. Often. It's the wild west here.....on the ocean as well as on the land.
Among the mud pots
The mud pots are cool! We went to two different ones today.....it's amazing to watch the water and mud bubble up out of the ground, putting off huge amounts of steam. It also puts off this nice sulfur smell. But you put up with it so you can check it out. The water is very similar to acid mine drainage.....and kills the vegetation around the pots. I have no clue where the water runs off to....but it can't be healthy. It's been doing this for millions of years.....so I'm sure the earth has it all figured out.
We stopped by the famous Blue Lagoon. It's named this as the water is a strange, but very pretty shade of blue. Many people think it's one of the earth's natural wonders. It is not. The water in the blue lagoon is the effluent from one of the geothermal generating plants. A well advertised spa, "The Blue Lagoon", has bathing in the heated pools. We weren't prepared to go in. The rates I saw in the states before we left were around 80 bucks a person to go swimming. Turns out it wasn't that bad....but about 60 bucks a person. If you wanted a towel to dry off with and a bath robe, then it was around 85 bucks. Not cheap, but worth taking a look at....and it is unusual.
After this, we take the rental car on a few roads that I doubt the rental car agency would have approved. It did fine...and we didn't try anything stupid. But we did ford a creek in it. We were rewarded with fantastic views cliff side at the ocean.
I like Iceland. It does not reward the stupid. The cliffs have no fences, just a sign that says if you get too close to the edge, it will give way with you and fall. The maximum national speed limit here is 90 kph.....or 55 mph. I haven't seen the first piece of highway guard rails in this country...and MOST places, if you drift off the road, you're going over a hill...and sometimes a cliff. I seldom drove the speed limit, usually under. Many of the "highways" here are gravel or dirt. The rest are narrow with non existent shoulders and lanes narrow enough to be very unforgiving. Don't be stupid here. You won't live very long. I'm also pretty sure the national cell phone provider is a company called "No Service". Catchy.
In the middle of nowhere
We haven't seen much wildlife. I think a lot of (possibly most of) the animals here are domesticated. LOTS of birds as they nest here then migrate. But no deer or anything like that.
We did a lot of our time today on gravel roads. There are lots of them here, and they are long. The whole country is build on volcano rubble........so it's easy to find the gravel. But you have to drive carefully on them. While a much higher than prudent speed limit is allowed....it's not always a good idea.
It gets quite remote here
We went up through the mountains and lakes region then headed back. We had a wonderful dinner at a place called Cafe Duus. Now bed will come soon.
Geothermal generating plant
Tomorrow, a plane back to the states. Give me a few days to unwind and get on an even keel and I'll write up my observations on the trip. Thanks for following along with us. Next time.....join our travels!
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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