Iceland blew us away! Not just the icy winds — it was the breath taking landscapes, pristine surroundings and natural wonders, combined with impeccable organisation by my friend who organized the trip in a painstaking, meticulous manner that made this an unforgettable eight-day sojourn. Here’s the concluding part of this two part travelogue
Our first stop was the site of quaint turf farmhouses at Glaumbaer. The 19th century houses made of tightly packed grass and mud provided an insight into the tough living conditions a century ago.
Then on to some breathtaking waterfalls near a magnificent canyon. The large, deep crater with the crystal-clear water was an awesome sight. These areas form the backdrop to Iceland’s many sagas.
Reaching Husafell, we were treated to another outstanding boutique hotel. A few of us walked around to get a feel of this remote place and a handful ventured into the hot pool, which was very much like a private jacuzzi.
After a convivial evening get together where members regaled one another with anecdotes, and jokes, the hotel provided a gourmet dinner in the stately glass-walled restaurant with a magnificent view of the secluded area. At night we had a fleeting glimpse of the Northern Lights, in spite of the inclement, cloudy weather.
Our caravan moved on relentlessly! The morning saw us at the largest hot springs area in Europe where steaming vapour is forcefully emitted from bubbling pools and rock clusters. An additional treat was a stop at more scenic waterfalls.
The afternoon was devoted to one of the trip’s highlights – the Langjokull ice tunnel. We were taken to the glacier in specially designed vehicles to cope with the rough terrain where volcanoes erupted and lava flowed many centuries ago. This was where the first Moon travellers, Armstrong and Co., practised before embarking upon their great adventure in 1969.
Our journey into the glacier was no less exciting. After donning appropriate clothing and shoes, we were taken in snowmobiles to the mouth of the tunnel from where we made our way into the ice tunnel. For those of us who took the half kilometre underground trek, it was a once-in-a-life time experience, gingerly walking through the creatively designed and illuminated spaces.
Then on to the next destination – Selfoss.
Thingvellir, or Pingvellir as it is locally called, is a National Park like no other. This is where Iceland’s tryst with democracy started way back in 930 AD., when the oldest parliament in the world had its first gathering. It is also where Iceland proclaimed its nationhood in 1944.
Equally important, this was where the American and Continental tectonic plates shifted and grew apart. Our knowledgeable guide Palle informed us that part of this place is in Europe and part in Northern America! The unique geology and the ravines of the area are fascinating.
Then on to see Gulfoss, the Golden Waterfalls, another impressive wonder of nature. After a lovely lunch in a unique greenhouse (growing 300 tonnes of tomatoes), we were taken to Geysir (from where the word ‘geyser’ originated), with its still active spouters.
The customary evening get together ushered in my wife’s birthday as well as the Indian star birthday of one of our friends. Being Vijaya Dasami day, it was quite an auspicious occasion.
Leaving Selfoss, we drove to the Horse Theatre at Fakasel Horsepark. The dramatic show regaled us with Norse mythology and the unique Icelandic horses thrilled us with their unique gait and performance.
We then moved on to the famous Blue Lagoon – first for an outstanding lunch and then, to take a fun-filled dip in the warm mineral-rich geothermal waters amidst black lava fields. Icelanders do most of their business deals in such relaxed surroundings. Perhaps if Gorbachev and Reagan met in such pools, the cold war would have got over that much earlier!
We then completed our adventurous circle by driving to Radisson Blu in Reykjavik.
Pakka og bless Island! (Thank you and goodbye Iceland)