September 10, 2007
We arrived In Reyjkajivik in the pouring rain early in the morning and boarded a bus for an 8 1/2 hour tour. For the first 4 hours visibility was very limited. Around noon the foggy rain haze lifted somewhat and we were able to see into the distance better. It stopped raining around 2:00pm but the cold wind persisted.
The volcanic soil of Iceland is fertile and productive. Icelanders have tapped the geothermal energy to heat swimming pools and generate electricity. Energy production is clean, efficient and cheap. It cost approximately $1,800 per year to heat a home using hot water heat. Apparently they don't have mixing valves at the sinks is homes as their biggest problems is with people scalding themselves from the 195 degree water that comes out.
The first settler was Ingolfur Arnarson, who arrived in 874. He is considered the founder of Reykjavic, and those who came after him settled mainly along the southern coast. Within 60 years, there were 20,000 people living here.
Many people know of Eirik the Red, who discovered and colonized Greenland. Even more know about his son, Leifur Eirikson, who discovered Finland, beating Columbus to North American by almost five centuries. The both got their start in Iceland.
Although this is a poor photo, it was taken just as we passed one of their fueling stations that dispenses both gasoline and hydrogen fuel. In Iceland there are approximately 250,000 motor vehicles. Almost half are fueled with hydrogen. Their plan is that within 10 years all vehicles will be fueled with hydrogen and gasoline will become an oddity.
The car painted on the side of the bus as an advertisement caught our eye. The photo upper right was taken during a lull in the rain as we drove through the countryside.
Around noon we were able to take some photos of the landscape as we travelled.
Sheep is a dominate farm animal. The white bales is grass, that they refer to as hay, that is cut, rolled and bundled for use during the winter. The area of Kerio is where we get to see the sinkholes of collapsed volcanoes. The photos that follow tell the story of how they were formed.
The above and below are views of one of the sinkholes as they appear as we drive up to them.
The ground is coarse and volcanic.
Godafos waterfall. It was raining when we stopped and very windy.
Downstream from the water fall are a number of boats. We suspect they are used for tourist purposes but we didn't inquire. As it was near noon we stopped at a lodge/restaurant for a lunch of salmon.
Across the street from the lodge was a beautiful greenhouse. The photos can speak for themselves as to the creativity of the owners. The carving above is one of the doors. Obviously, it is Eve. I didn't stop to check out the other door but I don't think it was Adam.
Trolls are beloved creatures.
On our return trip to the city we can see steam coming out of the ground in the distance.
The hot water is captured and sent to the city through insulated pipes. Note the zig zag shape. This allows for contraction and expansion of the pipe. As we get into the city we visit the water plant. It is the round shape in the distance.
Although the exterior looked interesting we were amazed at the beauty and design of the interior.
There is a gift shop in the building but it was closed. From our vantage point we can see into it behind the paneled walls.
This water feature caught our eye.
A feature that was timed to act periodically is a water spout that is activated approximately 1/2 hour apart. When the time arrives it begins to spray and shoots a stream of water 50' up and through a tube before falling back to the pool.
Norse statues are also featured.
Even though it was raining we took a quick trip out onto the viewing deck and snapped a couple of photos of the surrounding city.
These are statues of children at play outside the building.
We arrive back to the ship around 4:30pm in time for a 5:00pm departure. We leave via Engeyjarsund, from whence we arrived at 7:00am. Due to the rain haze we were unable to see much of the coastline as we entered. The above is a house or lodge (we don't know which) that we passed.
We are on our way for Qaqorrtoq, Greenland. We will take a shortcut through a fjord, Prins Christian Sund, that is about 60 miles long and would take 6 hours to traverse.
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