|Hallgrimskirkje in the rain|
On Friday we explored Reykjavik, famous landmarks, cafes, eclectic architecture, shops and galleries, restaurants.
|Domkirkje - the cathedral|
|Althingi - the parliament|
|Ingolfstorg - geothermal steam vents in the city centre|
|Art nouveau till among ultramodern design in the Kraum centre|
|Posthausstraeti and the Domkirkje|
|New concert hall|
|mmmm.... lemon marinaded salmon|
|Skolavorthustigur and Hallgrimskirkje|
Saturday morning saw us out and about before sunrise
|Mount Esja over the bay|
|Andrea the whale watching boat in harbour|
Then we explored a pretty residential area
before winding our way to the 'pond' - Tjornin.
|Sunrise over Tjorin - about 10.45 a.m.|
|Radhaus - the town hall|
|looking west over Tjorin|
|a small area is kept ice-free for the birds, the rest was frozen over|
After that we needed to warm up with a hot chocolate.
We put on our warmest clothes before going aboard the whale watching boat Andrea....
... but once out of the harbour we all needed the warm overalls they provided.
|glamorous as always!|
Even at 1pm the sun wasn't very high, but the views over the bay were beautiful. We could just make out Snaefells on the horizon (not in these photos, it was just too faint)
|looking towards Hvalfjordur (whale fjiord)|
|looking for whales|
It was almost time to head back when another boat passed word that they had sighted a whale. We joined them and were rewarded with several sightings of a beautiful Minke whale. I was too busy watching it to take any photos!
At about 3.45 the sun was setting over the Reykjanes peninsula, and it was fully dark by the time we returned to the harbour at 5.
On Sunday we set off even earlier, on the Golden Circle tour. Our first stop was Nesjavellir,
|The architecture represents Iceland pushing up between the continental plates|
|eerie landscape with sulphurous steam and mist over lava fields|
From Nesjavellir we travelled through snowy landscapes and across the mid-oceanic ridge which passes through Iceland.
|Looking over Hveragardi, from one mid-atlantic ridge, the other can be seen in the distance. The bright lights are greenhouses|
We passed lots of herds of Icelandic horses (not ponies, we were told, they are big enough to carry a man without him 'loosing his manhood'!).
The waterfalls at Gulfoss are stupendous - even in winter when the flow of water from the glacier has stopped and only spring water is feeding the river.
Not far from Gulfoss is the hot spring area of Geysir. The original Geysir (which gave its name to the phenomenon) is no longer active but we watched several eruptions of its little brother Strokkur.
Also the odd Viking at Geysir!
|a very odd viking|
From Geysir we headed towards Thingvellir,
And driving over the mid-oceanic ridge
on increasingly icy roads, and down into the fissured area between the ridges, now over 5 km apart.
We saw volcanoes which had pushed up under the ice cap during the last ice age
Thingvellir is in one of the largest fissure systems where the two continental plates are pulling apart.
We walked along the fissure and past the Law Rock
It is the site of the first ever parliament (Althingi) and a very important place for Icelanders.
The river was flowing quite fast although much of it was under ice.
Back in Reykjavik we had a last stroll up Laugavegur,
where I couldn't resist buying some Icelandic wool yarn!
Our taster trip to Iceland has left us with lots of things still to see and do there - our Northern Lights evening tour was cancelled as the conditions were not right, and we didn't have time to try one of the geothermal pools. So I'm booking my next trip to Iceland (for summertime) right now!