Thursday, December 17, 2015

Iceland's Golden Circle Tour

The Golden Circle Tour is a marketing attraction and a must when visiting Iceland.  It will take you to some of Iceland's top cultural and geological attractions and allows you to see a lot of the country outside of Reykjavik in one day.  In winter months, it's best to take a guided bus tour as the weather in the highlands could make driving challenging.  Pingvellir National Park, Geysir, Gullfuss are the highlights as is crossing from the North Atlantic to the Eu-Asian tectonic plates and driving on the Mid-Atlantic Riff.  Iceland is the only location where the riff rises above the ocean.  Our tour stopped at the sight of the meeting place of the first Icelandic Parliament (which is the oldest parliament in the world).   It's an outdoor venue, on the riff, and marked with a Flag of Iceland.  The photo below is a chasm that runs through the site.  

Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is one of the most famous attractions in Iceland and it;s obvious why.  These falls are dynamic and powerful in sight, sound. beauty.  The river was nearly dammed  in the mid 1800 for development until the heir of the daughter of the  landowner threatened to jump into the falls.  Parliament rescinded and made the falls a National Park.  

Strokkur Geysir (gay-zeer), the small of the  two geysirs, erupts about every 5 to 10 minutes and shoots
between 15m and 30m (45ft to 90ft) in the air.  

One of the thermal pools at Geysir.  It's about 2PM: notice how low the sun.  

Another view from Geysir Thermal area.  

Sunset at Skalholt.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Churches of Reykjavik, Iceland

 As I'm turning 60 next year, I was looking for and adventure, to a place less traveled, little known, and little understood. Iceland and Reykjavik have been on my list of "to go places" for the last three years so my wife and I traveled there Thanksgiving Week, 2015.  We hoped to see the Northern Lights, but the clouds had other plans for us.  Instead, we experience a country we knew little about, but came to love.  The pace of life, the people, the culture, the climate are inviting and relaxing.  I could live there if it wasn't at 64 Degrees North: Iceland in the last week of November has about 5.5 hours of day light, which was difficult. We are already planning our next trip....

These photos are the first in a series I'll be posting.  Seeing how this trip was, in some ways, a spiritual adventure, I think it is fitting to start with the Churches we visited in and around Reykjavik.

The Basilica of Christ the King at dawn (9:30AM)

The Sanctuary of Christ the King

Skalholt Cathedral, played a significant role in
Icelandic religious history.  Once the site of Catholicism, it is now
part of the Church of Iceland (Lutheran).  

The Sanctuary of Shklholt Cathedral was very peaceful. 
This image of Christ is a mosaic of colored tiles.  

Hallgrimskikha Cathedral stands high above all in Reykjavik.
You will see it from where ever you are.

Lifer Eiricsson Stands outside of Hallgrimskikha Cathedral.
This statue was a gift from the USA to Iceland.

Facing the alter inside Hallgrimskikha Cathedral.

Looking towards the back of the Hallgrimskikha Cathedral
with the pipes of the organ looming over the 

The Alter of Hallgrimskikja Cathedral 
These pipes could fill Reykjavic with music.
Next trip I have to hear them!  

 A Stain Glass window of the Blessed Virgin
inside Hallgrimskikja Cathedral .
Looking  north westerly over Reykjavik from the tower of Hallgrimskikja Cathedral.