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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Links to adventure tours.

    by Regina1965 Updated Mar 6, 2014

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    Favorite thing: I will be adding here links to adventure tours and all kinds of interesting trips in Iceland. I am having a hard time keeping track of everything that is going on here, so when I come across and interesting article in the newspapers or a pamphlet I will add the links to the websites in this tip.

    Mountaineers of Iceland offer various interesting glacier tours on Langjökull glacier. They own big changed jeeps and trucks which one can see on the roads in Reykjavík and Iceland heading out of the city and returning late in the evening. They also own 100 snowmobiles and two cottages on Langjökull glacier. They sometimes offer glacier banquets.

    Snilldarferðir or Brilliant tours are run by a married couple with a base at Þórisstaðir in Hvalfjörður bay. They offer ATV or quad bike tours. They own 8 Polaris quad bikes and can offer more if there is a large group. And they offer the gear, 66 degrees N overalls and all the safety equipment for the guided tours. They also offer laser-tag at Þórisstaðir. In the summer time they offer boat trips on dinghies where one can go fishing for cod. They claim to know of a secret spot where there is a huge catch of cod.

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    Trees in Iceland.

    by Regina1965 Updated Mar 6, 2014

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    Favorite thing: The Vikings said that there was great vegetation and a lot of trees here when they arrived, but after centuries of letting the sheep roam free here the ground is barren. Which then causes sandstorms, and as the Icelanders put it - our land is being blown out to sea.

    When the Vikings came to Iceland they talked about the island being green and covered in forests (which is certainly not the case nowadays). So they cut a lot of the forests and overused it. But the forest is slowly growing back.

    Now almost 40.000 hectares are covered with trees/forest, but in 1990 only 6.600 hecares were covered in trees. So that is quite a change.

    There is a popular joke here in Iceland: "What should you do if you are lost in the forest? Stand up!" ;)

    Icelanders in general like open land and great view and sometimes complain about not being able to see anything if a tree is blocking the view. This is because we are used to barren landscape. But then on the other hand we have a lot of wind, which we are not that fond of - so more trees, less wind.

    Fondest memory: Woodland now covers almost 2% of Iceland.

    The most common trees in Iceland are:

    Larch (lerki) - 25%
    Birch (birki) - 23%
    Pine (stafafura) - 14%
    Sitka spruce (sitkagreni) - 14%
    Black cottonwood (Alaskaösp) - 18%

    The cultured woodland here is divided into 2 section - old forests and younger forests. The old forest has got trees over 2 meters high and 15 years old and the younger forests are below that number.

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    Icelandic livestock.

    by Regina1965 Updated Mar 6, 2014

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    Favorite thing: In the Sagas there are tales about the farm-animals which the Vikings brought with them to Iceland. The Vikings brought with them sheep, so there have been free-roaming sheep here since the Settlement - and now they greatly outnumber the population of Iceland. And they are slowly eating up our land.

    And they brought goats with them as well and cattle and eating beef was very common back then.

    The Vikings brought horses with them and horse meat was eaten - and still is today. The Icelandic horses are direct descendants of the horses that the Vikings brought and have still not been mixed with other breeds. And they also brought with them wild boar, which we don´t have here today.

    They also brought with them colourful chicken, which we now call "Landnámshænur" or Settlement chicken.

    Fondest memory: So the livestock that we see when driving around our country in the summer time are heaps of sheep, which are let loose to roam in the mountains, happy cows, which are so happy when they are let out of the cowshed in summer time that they jump around, and horses, called the Icelandic stallion - not a pony ;)

    In winter time the only livestock that is to be seen outside are the sturdy horses.

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    The Icelandic census from 1703.

    by Regina1965 Updated Mar 4, 2014

    Favorite thing: The Icelandic census from 1703 is now on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The census is one of the most precious gems in the Icelandic Hall of Records "Þjóðskjalasafn Íslands".

    The census is registered in 92 books all in all 1709 pages, the largest one being more than 100 pages from Snæfellsnessýsla county.

    The census from 1709 is the oldest preserved census in the world and includes all the inhabitants in the country. Listed is the name, age, address (in most cases) and social status. No other country in the world has such accurate demographic information on their citizens.

    In 1709 Icelanders were 50.358. Back then Guðrún and Jón were the most common names.

    One can look up the census from 1709 and more censi here manntal/census.

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    BJÖRK Guðmundsdóttir - the singer.

    by Regina1965 Updated Feb 10, 2014

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    Fondest memory: Björk Guðmundsdóttir is Iceland's most famous international singers. She had an outside concert here in Reykjavík in Laugardalur walley in June 2008 for the conservation of the environment. It was very well attended as you can see from the photos. At least two VT-members attended, that I know of, myself and Ove who was in Reykjavík for a visit.

    Björk and I went to school together from the age of 8-15 as we are born in the same year 1965.

    Björk owns a house by Ægissíða (see my tip on 107 Reykjavík). It was painted totally black and stood out in that street. It has now been painted white.

    Her official site is Björk.

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    A few statistics about Iceland.

    by Regina1965 Updated Feb 3, 2014

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    Favorite thing: Our main export is not fish but aluminium.

    6,8% of the population in Iceland were foreign citizens (January 1st, 2010).

    Most foreign citizens travelling through our international airport are British citizens.

    95% of all 16 year olds are in college.

    Two out of three graduates from University are women.

    79% of all our electric power usage goes to the heavy industry.

    7 Icelandic movies premiered in 2008.

    95% of the nation uses the Internet daily (2013) which is the highest percentage in Europe. A little less than half the users connect to the Internet on their mobile phones.

    5% of the Icelandic nation support UNICEF, which is the highest percent of supporters per capita in the world.

    0,01% of the nation is deaf - ca 300 people.

    8,2% of the nation are immigrants (2010) or 26.171, most of them Polish immigrants (10.058). The second largest group of immigrants are Lithuanians.

    Iceland is in the second place for the countries with the best democracy, right after Norway.

    83% of Icelanders are on Facebook.

    Icelanders have the longest working hours compared to Scandinavia and many other European countries.

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    The tourist industry in Iceland.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 17, 2014

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    Favorite thing: The tourist industry is the 2nd largest industry here in Iceland, right after our fishing industry. Ca 23,5% of our foreign currency earnings comes from tourism. In 2009 we got 155 billion ISK from the tourist industry and in 2012 we got 238 billion ISK! In comparison we earned 269 billion ISK from the fishing industry and in third place is the aluminium processing with 225 billion ISK.

    In the first 11 months of 2013 ca 739.328 tourists visited Iceland, never before have we had so many tourists visit us during the winter months. So please do come for a visit, it is especially appreciated now that Iceland has got big problems after having been hit very hard by the global crisis.

    We now even get more tourists per capita than French, Spain and Italia!

    I remember back then when the only tourists visiting were back-packers in tents who even brought their own food so they left almost no money in Iceland. Back then we Icelanders were almost the only ones travelling here during the summer time. Now it is getting very crowded here, even so crowded that it is causing damage to some of our natural treasures so some steps must be taken to preserve the nature.

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    The fishing industry - one of the main industries

    by Regina1965 Updated Jun 1, 2013

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    Favorite thing: One of Iceland's main industries has always been the fishing industry seeing that we live on an island. The fish (along with the sheep) has kept Icelanders alive through the centuries. It counts for more than half of Iceland's exports with ca 26,3% of our foreign currency coming from the fishing industry. In 2012 we earned 269 billion ISK from the fishing industry.

    In 2nd place is the tourist industry - it moved up above the heavy industry last year with 23,5% or 238 billion ISK in 2012. Heavy industry - aluminium - is now in 3rd place with 225 billion ISK in 2012.

    For two summers I worked in a fish processing factory cleaning, weighing and packing fish for export. I was 13 and 14 years old and sometimes we worked from 7-19. This was a popular job due to the long hours and more pay than in other jobs. Most of Iceland's inhabitants have worked in the fishing industry in some regard, especially people living in the country side by the sea-shore. In Reykjavík there are many fish processing facories and some days you can smell the fish in the air, when they are making fish-oil.

    Before the crizis hit us there was not a news program without a least one news on the fishing industry.

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    Car Rentals in Iceland

    by AnaMM Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    Favorite thing: Car Hire in Southern Iceland: here's my experience; research for the hire was conducted the month of February & early March 2012. For our 20-day trip in March/April 2012 (minor snow, rain, clear roads) I researched all the car rental options I could find on line and narrowed it down to the least expensive at the time (Viking, SADCar, Blue Car Rentals and Sixt). Pre-arrival on Iceland, online, we booked a SADCar (Subaru Legacy) for 3 days; and then online once in Iceland we booked a Blue Car Rental (Hyundai Tucson small SUV) for 8 days. The Blue Car was only slightly more expensive than the SADCar rental and yet we had an SUV vs. a Subaru Legacy. The Blue Car was in much better shape.

    I would highly recommend using Blue Car Rentals. Blue Car also has an "older model" option, which we used, making the price more closer in line with SADCar.

    SADCar's one rear passenger door didn't work properly, it was in all around poorer condition, one wheel rim missing, the engine check light went on twice, and there was rust. We didn't have a lot of faith in it at one point but only used it for the golden circle and blue lagoon area. We picked it up in Reykjavik where they have an office. We also dropped it off at the SADCar office at 4:30p and no one was there (they told us to toss the keys in the mail slot if no one was there). This made us feel a little uneasy so we took photos of it and emailed them the photos and the time we left it. We thought we would not use them again even if we did save a little money. HOWEVER, if you are into the very cheapest but usable rental car, you need to check and maybe hire a SADCar.

    Blue Car Rental was in perfect condition inside and outside. The only thing is that the older models do not get as good gas mileage as the newer so we may have ended up paying a bit more all in (all in=rental+gas). We paid a small bit more to have them deliver it to our hotel since they didn't have an office in Reykjavik proper. So when planning your trip, be sure to figure out where pick up/drop off offices actually are located. All are at the international airport; not all are in the city.

    SUV 4-wheel v. regular car: We felt, no doubt, hire a SUV 4W regardless. It was worth it for the peace of mind since many of the secondary (non-F) roads were not completely paved (stone filled with large potholes) and yet many of the sights we wanted to see were slightly off (not more than 2-3 miles) the ring road. We felt so much more secure having the extra clearance and ability to 4W which we did need once to back out of some black sand).

    I saw where there was some SuperJeep rentals (3 days / bet. $650-$700) and if you are seriously doing F roads and can afford it you may want to seek out this option.

    Insurance: I also liked Blue Car b/c their pricing includes insurance. We also took out additional insurance via Travelex (add-on option when you purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance). Check/ask carefully about whether gravel insurance covers windscreen hits/cracks--happens easier than you'll think in Iceland). Also note that most insurance doesn't cover chassis undercarriage damage (hence the recommendation for a higher clearance SUV). There is so much more to the whole insurance coverage options and I recommend you pay close attention when deciding your insurance options. I will say that we had no extra costs associated with damage.

    Car Hire in Northern Iceland: There are EuroCar, Avis & Budget. We hired an Avis SUV in Akureyri. Car rentals costs are higher and there are fewer options. The Avis rental in Akureyri is a combo Avis/Budget (but still check both Avis and separately Budget websites b/c I got a better deal from the Avis site--go figure).

    Car Hire Before Or After Arriving on Iceland: We prebooked the SADCar b/c it was the best pricing after I researched all options. Oddly, and it may have been our off season timing, I got a better price online while I was on Iceland for the Blue Car than when I was in the middle of researching and planning a month earlier. But I'm not making a recommendation on that; it's just an observation/personal experience point.

    Fondest memory: Fond Memory: there are so many great memories to be had on Iceland. Visit Regina1965's pages on Iceland since they are so amazingly helpful in planning your fond memories. Her pages helped me greatly in planning.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Transport and accommodation in Iceland

    by dassi Written Mar 18, 2012

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    Favorite thing: http://www.jokulsarlon.com/

    http://solhestar.is/

    http://www.google.is/search?q=landmannalaugar&hl=is&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=pmtmT62aJMLB0QWF7OmVCA&sqi=2&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1333&bih=608

    http://hveravellir.is/

    http://jardbodin.is/en/

    http://www.reykjavik.is/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-3740/6165_view-1960/

    And lot of other places :)

    Fondest memory: I miss the nature at summer :)

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Adventure Travel
    • Horse Riding

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    Snow and hot geothermal water.

    by Regina1965 Updated Feb 15, 2012

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    Favorite thing: There is something so fascinating about geothermal activity in winter time. Everything is covered in snow and then all of a sudden warm water and steam come from the ground. You will see this in several areas, but the photos I add here are from south Iceland relatively close to Reykjavík by ring-road 1.

    But take care while visiting these areas in the snow (or at any other time) as even though the hot geothermal water melts the snow away then one never know what lies beneath. Way too many people have burnt themselves badly in these areas.

    This is one of the reasons why Iceland is called the land of fire and ice. There is so much volcanic activity here and volcanos are just all over the place, innocent looking mountains might be dormant volcanos in disguise.

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    The best time to visit Iceland.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 24, 2012

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    Favorite thing: The best time to visit Iceland is end of June when daylight lasts for 24 hours, so mid June-mid July I would recommend you to come for a visit so you can make the most of your stay and enjoy this magical time when the sun almost doesn't set. Spending time in nature in the middle of the night in daylight is the best thing about Iceland and makes up for the months of darkness during the winter time.

    The normal temperature in June-July is 12-15 degrees, but with the global warming we have been getting periods of "heat-waves" here, in the summer of 2008 there was a day here in Reykjavík with 26 degrees C! And for about half a month it was around 20 degrees C. One summer a couple of years ago it was 8 degrees C and raining for the whole summer in Reykjavík. So one never knows what to expect, but a "safe" bet would be 12-15 degrees C. In the summer of 2010 we had many days of 20 degrees C - I love this change in Icelandic weather. And for the fist time we have been having an autumn here in Iceland, it used to be only 2 seasons; summer and winter but now we have been having two digits in September and October. The winter of 2011-2012 has been a very snowy one, making it difficult for tourists to stick to their travelling plans.

    Have a look at this website daylight in Iceland it shows you how much daylight there is from month to month and day to day.

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    The nature

    by Kbgrace Written Jan 7, 2012

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    Favorite thing: We used Nordic Visitor to arrange for car rental and hotel accomadations. They were very helpful and gave us the freedom we wanted with enough support and advice. It was so nice to not have to worry about a lot of the details. We had 10 days to travel the ring road but really could have used 4 more. If you go in the summer, bring and eye patch since most hotels do NOT have room darkening shades.

    Skip the doggsledding, but do go whale watching, glacier walking, and horse back riding. Jokulsarlon was pretty. The boat ride might have been nice but we didn't have time.

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    Island 2010 - Nebe, peklo, ráj...

    by qquest111 Written Dec 29, 2011

    Favorite thing: Island byl už nějakou dobu mým snem. A jelikož sny se mají plnit, i já jsem se musel vydat tímto směrem. Říká se, že komu se líbí Nový Zéland, ten bude nadšený i z Islandu. A musím říct, že mě nezklamal. V létě chládek, hory i nížiny, zeleň i pouště, moře a oceány i suché planiny, příroda a člověk v naprosté symbióze. To vše na jednom místě. Pro mě nepředstavitelná země plná energie a krásy. Málo lidí, hodně prostoru a přírody - prostě krása.

    Plán na tento týden byl následující: po příletu na Island prohlédnout 2 dny Reykjavík a poté půjčit auto a vydat se na okružní jízdu přes celý Island.

    Je trošku zvláštní pro našince přiletět o půlnoci a spatřit sluníčko, ale to už další dny nebylo ani nic neobvyklého. Polární den je parádní, polární noc musí být docela děsivá :-)

    Island jako země je na první pohled malá, díky tomu, že má ale jen něco přes 300 000 obyvatel, dá se tu slušně pohybovat bez tlačenic s dalšíma lidma, zvláště pak na severu, kam mnozí turisté nedorazí. Reykjavík je hlavním městem o rozloze větší než je naše Praha, ale žije zde jen něco přes 100 000 obyvatel, což i tak je vlastně třetina ostrova. Mají tu vše potřebné k životu - obchodní centra (ne zbytečně tolik jako u nás), univerzitu, památky, muzea, knihovny, parlament, pěší zónu pro turisty, kostel, přístav a taky nově stavenou operu.

    Jen několik kilometrů od hlavního města je potom k dispozici Blue Lagoon - termální koupaliště se slanou modrou vodou a s mnoha nádobami skalice, kterou si turisté rádi pomazávají všechny části těla kvůli jejím léčivým účinkům. Je to jedna z nejoblíbenějších turistických atrakcí a tak tomu taky cena vstupného odpovídá. Bohužel žádné mládežnické a nebo studentské slevy tu neznají, pokud nejste studentem místní univerzity. ISIC z MU mi prostě nebyl nic platný :-)

    Pokračuji cestou na východ, první zastávkou je asi po 80 km od Blue Lagoon národní park Pingvellir, kde lze také objevit kromě krásné přírody a jezera jediný les na islandu.

    Cesty jsou zatím celkem v pohodě. V průvodcích jsem četl, že asfaltových silnic je na Islandu jen asi 10%, tak jsem měl celkem strach si půjčit jen VW Golf, ale není vůbec čeho se bát. Na cestu okolo ostrova stejně ve většině případů pojedete po silnici č. 1, která je téměř úplně celá skvěle asfaltovaná bez děr, zatáček a nějakých vyjetých kolejí od kamionů, jako u nás (průměrně potkáte na cestě tak max. 5 kamionů za celý den).

    Další zastávkou kousek dál (cca 60km) je další artefakt tzv. Golden Circle - Geyjsír. Je to plocha, kde je několik horkých pramenů, z nichž jeden vybuchuje každých cca 8 minut do velké výšky a turisté nepřestávají fotit a žasnout.

    O další kousek dál, jen několik kilometrů je poslední na zastávce Golden Circle a to je vodopád Gullfoss. Úchvatný obrovský vodopád dá se říct na konci světa, nebo spíš na konci normální asfaltové cesty. Potom nezbývá normálním autem, než se otočit a vracet se směrem na jih, kde se po asi 70 km napojíme na hlavní silnici č.1, která vede okolo celého ostrova. Napojím se ve Hvollsvölluru, kde taky po několika dalších kilometrech u jedné z benzinek N1 trávím první noc v autě. Cesta nebyla dlouhá díky flákání se v termálech, cca 350 km.

    Asi bych byl špatný cestovatel, kdybych se nezašel podívat na momentálně jednu z nejznámějších sopek na Islandu, jejíž jméno se dá naučit během výstupu na protější kopec - Eyjafjatlajökull :-) Bohužel nebylo vidět víc, než jen úpatí sopky, z této strany se nahoru rozhodně vylézt nedá a zbytek je schovaný v mracích. Sopka je klidná a nic nedělá, pouze všude okolo po okolních kopcích se válí spousta černého prachu jako pozůstatek letošní paseky, co tu nadělala. Z toho samého místa jde vidět už i kousek sněhu a její větší a hrozivější sesty - Katly.

    Po několika kilometrech narazíte na odbočku, kde končí asfaltová cesta, ale dá se tu jet s normálním autem a jak jsem zjistil, čeští řidiči dokonce i s autobusem plným turistů :-) Je to cesta k prvnímu z ledovců, který je ovšem díky napadanému prachu velmi špinavý. Dá se vyjít po jeho boku nahoru a to bez zvláštní horolezecké výbavy.

    Kolem 11 večer projíždím náhodou okolo nějakého mostu a vidím kousek ledovce. Začíná zde totiž po Grónsku druhý největší ledovec na světě - Vatnasjökull, který má obrovskou rozlohu a lze ho vidět z několika dalších míst podél silnice.

    Kousek dál je asi nejúžasnější úkaz z celého výletu - laguna, kde lze vidět spousty nádherných ledových ker. Společně se soumrakem to je skutečně kouzelné místo, nezapomenutelný zážitek!

    Na východě u města Egillstadir je jezero Lagaflot, u kterého se jistě stojí zato zastavit. Na jeho konci je navíc známý čedičový vodopád, kam lze pěšky vystoupat asi 3km nahoru po schodech a cestě z parkoviště. Je tu nádherný výhled.

    Poté k večeru vyrážím na úplný severovýchod země, kde je nejznámější činná sopka Islandu - Krafla. Jsou na ní vystavěné elektrárny, které výrazně napomáhají výrobě 99% elektrické energie z obnovitelných zdrojů. Jsou zde ale také nádherné přístupné lávové pole, kde se můžete po vyznačených cestách projít a nalovit si nějaké ty vzpomínky do batohu s sebou. Pravá láva je naštěstí lehká, takže úlovek ve formě třetiny batohu jako v mém případě není až takový problém :-)

    Jen malý kousek za Mývatnem směrem na hlavní město severu - Akureyri se nachází park s několika různě dlouhými turistickými okruhy a hromadou kamenů. Na konci delší trasy se nachází brána z kamenů, ke které se váže místní historie. Lze tu prý spatřit místní kouzelné troly, kteří tu žijí.

    Je tu tzv. drsný sever, jak říkají místní. Cílem je dojet až na severozápad ostrova k severnímu cípu ostrova a Grónskému moři. Asi v polovině cesty je jeden z nejznámějších a nejširších vodopádů v Evropě, tzv. vodopád Bohů, neboli Godafoss.

    Na severu jsou také mnohé vesnice, které nabízejí ve svých zátokách při pěkném počasí pohled na velryby a nebo tuleně, některé společnosti dokonce pořádají výlety na lodích na moře, kde dokonce garantují tuto podívanou.

    Na západě po projetí do jednoho z fjordů čeká jedno z dalších známých míst a to ledovec Sneafellsjökull, což je místo, které si vybral Jules Verne ve své výpravě na Cestě do středu země, jak nazval svoje dílo. A příroda a okolí opravdu napovídá, že je tu místo, kde se dá sestoupit až do samotného centra naší planety.

    Na večer dojíždím až dolů na jihozápad kousek do Grindavíku, několik kilometrů od letiště, ze kterého další den odlétám. Spím kousek od již známých termálních pramenů u Blue Lagoon. Přepadá mě nostalgie a nechce se mi pryč. Klidně bych půjčil nějaký džíp a projel druhé kolo vnitrem země a zažil bych ještě jednou tolik krásy.

    Ráno se přesouvám ještě k horkým pramenům, kde je zase elektrárna a k majáku u Atlantského oceánu.

    Další zastávkou je tzv. most mezi kontinenty, který oficiálně odděluje Ameriku a Evropu a každým rokem se od sebe v závislosti na pohybu tektonických desek Země o 20 mm vzdaluje. Celý Island je vlastně rozpůlen na evropskou a americkou část a tak často v místních vesnicích místo tradičních pokrmů jako ryby atd. nacházím pizzu, hranolky, hamburger a coca colu...škoda toho.

    Poslední zastávka je město Keflavík, kde také vracím auto a nechávám se odvést na letiště. Potkáváme se zde s další bandou lidí někde z jižních čech, kteří tu samou trasu jeli 2 týdny :-) V Keflavíku ještě naposledy obědvám, koukám na údajně nejkrásnější golfové hřiště na světě, ze kterého je opravdu krásný výhled. Golf je na Islandu národní sport a i když jsem si nikdy nemyslel, že tu lze nějaké hřiště postavit, jsou tu všude.

    Rozloučení patří letišti v Keflavíku se vzpomínkou na nádhernou zemi, krásnou dovolenou, skvělé místní ochotné lidi s výbornou znalostí angličtiny a ochotou hodnou severským zemím. Doufám, že se sem zase někdy podívám, ovšem už s terénním autem, abych mohl napsat zážitky z vnitrozemí. Díky Islande!

    Hodnocení: 10 z 10!

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  • Bonkers11's Profile Photo

    The Northern Lights .. did they appear

    by Bonkers11 Written Dec 2, 2011

    Favorite thing: Any one reading this can feel free to email me and I will add their sightings and dates based from the Northern Lights Inn

    Friday 25th the lights appeared as green, but only a cloud across the sky

    Saturday 26th no lights

    Sunday 27th no lights.

    Fondest memory: Sitting up a hill in the snow with Rachael drinking Vodka.

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