Trip to Iceland
Mike and Judy Henderson
July 3 to July 14, 2016
I'm going to leave this map of the cruise at the beginning of each web page so that you can relate what we describe to the location in Iceland.
7/7/2016 We docked in Grundarfjordur today, a fishing village on the west coast of Iceland.
Our tour of the peninsula brought us to the areas of Budir, Arnarstapi, and Djupalonssandur. The terrain of this area is quite interesting. This part of Iceland consists of sharp cliffs with many waterfalls. Here's one, taken through the bus window.
The first stop was at Budir, to see the small black church, completed in the late 1800's. It was built by the local people, even though the church officials did not want to put a church there.
It's quite small and simple. I didn't get a good picture of the interior of the church but I got this one from the web. I understand that the church is popular for weddings in this area of Iceland.
And here we are at Budir. The tour organizer uses small radio receivers to do the narration - that's why we have those things on our ears.
Next we went to Arnarstapi where we took a walk along the shore.
A famous rock formation in Arnarstapi.
Birds nest along the sides of the formation. It's a bit hard to see the birds in the picture, but if you look closely, you'll find them.
This is another formation where birds make nests.
The young birds are getting pretty big - they'll soon be ready to fly.
Unfortunately, it was about here that Judy slipped on the gravel path and sprained her ankle. While it was painful, she continued the tour to Djupalonssandur. Here's a beach at Djupalonssandur. We did not walk down to the beach because of Judy's ankle.
Back on board the doctor examined her ankle and wrapped it. He determined that it was not broken and recommended rest.
We departed Grundarfjordur about 6pm and sailed past some interesting landscape.
Judy was a trooper and limped to the dining room for dinner. The doc had given her some pain pills and she was able to get a good night's sleep.
7/8/2016 We woke up this morning to the rocking and rolling of heavy seas. The L'Austral is a small ship by cruise ship standards and moves a lot more than the giant cruise ships. From our door it looked like a four to five foot sea, but we were heading cross sea which made us roll more than if we were headed directly into it.
Our next stop was supposed to be Grimsey Island but Grimsey does not have docking space so we'd have to tender in. The captain contacted Grimsey and was told that the weather was too rough to safely transfer passengers, so he decided to bypass Grimsey and head directly to Akureyri. But we did cross the Arctic Circle before we changed course.
Since we arrived in Akureyri in the morning - and a day early - we took a walk through the city, just to see the place. It's the second largest city in Iceland but only has about 17,000 inhabitants. We did some shopping and had a cup of coffee, and then returned to the ship. The detour was good for the local businesses, however.
Tonight was the Captain's dinner so everyone was dressed up. Here we are with our friend, Janice.
This picture was taken about 9pm. Akureyri is on the northern coast of Iceland, so the sun sets below the mountains. But this time of year, the sky never goes dark. I believe this was shot toward the west.
7/9/2016 Today we were up early for breakfast and an early departure for a land tour. Here are our friends Gino and Sharon, who were sitting just behind us on the bus.
The first stop was Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods).
Judy and me at the falls.
And Judy and Janice at the falls.
Next, we visited Dimmuborgir, a 2,000 year old field of contorted volcanic pillars.
You may know that the American plate is moving away from the Eurasian plate about an inch per year (Mid-Atlantic Ridge). That split between the two plates runs right through Iceland, and that accounts for the volcanism in Iceland. Approximately one half of Iceland will be part of North America and half will be part of Europe in a few million years.
Well, that split goes right through Dimmuborgir. You can stand with one foot in America and one foot in Europe. Here's a view looking down into that split.
A panoramic view of the land.
We then went to the Skutustadagigr Pseudo-craters which were formed when water boiled explosively under the cooling lava. It was not as dramatic, and we were tormented by midges (small fly like insects) on the walk. We had lunch at a restaurant close by, consisting of a very nice tomato soup, fish, coleslaw and potatoes.
Our last stop, and the most interesting, was at Hverarond, a place where steam and hot mud rises to the surface. The steam carries sulfur, giving the area a strong smell.
Here's one of the steam vents. If you click on it, it should open up a video.
And a picture of the mud pit. Click to see a video of it in action
Our trip continues here.