Vacationing in Iceland in July was a delightful trip. Carol’s father immigrated to the USA at age 19 during WW II. Carol’s cousin invited Carol “back to the homeland” to interview his mother (and Carol’s aunt) Ragna. At 92 years-old and the last of her generation, Ragna holds many stories about Carol’s father and other relatives. We recorded a few hours of Ragna’s oral history. It is a treasure.
Eyjafjallajökull Glacier and Volcano
In prior trips to Iceland we have visited many of the interesting and varied tourist spots. A new experience for us was to take a helicopter to the top of mount Eyjafjallajökull. It is infamous for the volcanic eruption through the glacier in 2010 that shut down air travel. The day we went, the wind was unusually calm which allowed us to land on the top of the glacier and take pictures.
The volcano is calmer now, but people were able to get fairly close to the lava flows when it occurred. The risks included our cousin being rescued by helicopter shortly before the land on which he was standing gave way.
One reason for the trip was as a photo expedition. New technology allows capturing many wonderful pictures with almost no cost per photo shot. I have only gone through a handful of my thousands of pictures. It is amazing to see the number of waterfalls. One we had not seen before is called “Barnafoss” which is pictured. The water fall appears to come from nowhere and run down the side of the cliff. (Click on picture to see map.)
We were in Iceland when it has 24-hour daylight. The clock says it is 11:30 PM and the sun is in the sky like it is 7:00 PM. It still seems like it is time to party … and many do. Downtown Reykjavik has great nightlife (if that’s the right term when the sun is still shining). Half of Iceland’s population of 350,000 are in Reykjavik.
The country is quite the opposite. Major roads are paved but many others are gravel or rock. The goats and sheep wander everywhere. Driving at 7:00 AM in the country we saw a handful of other cars and hundreds of sheep on the road. They move off the road at their own pace and sometimes jump onto the road at inopportune times.
The terrain ranges from fresh lava rock that looks like the moon to lush green farms with picturesque farm buildings in bright colors. Mountains, lava flows, seas, fiords, geysers, waterfalls, small seaside fishing communities, historic places that date back to the middle ages, and ubiquitous phone and internet service. With a million visitors per year (3 times the population) it is very friendly to visitors.