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Day 10 (Part 2) – Tuesday – Paris Outside the Window

April 17/19 In light of the recent sad events at Notre Dame Cathedral, I am reissuing this post from happier times. I hope the cathedral can be rebuilt in the 5 years Macron promised.

 

Resting time now over, Paris skies still sunny and blue,

drawing us out to enjoy the hot weather and fine view.

Past stores bright and shiny with fine clothing and macarons,

we ambled towards the Seine to see sights further along.

On Ile Ste Louis, past traffic and tourists, seeking shade,

everyone sauntered along, as if in some slow parade.

Pausing to enjoy the showy blossoms dans le jardin

arriving at last at Gothic Cathedral Notre Dame.

Feeling the heat and tiring at last, we headed for home,

stopping to watch a piano man’s fingers bounce and roam.

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Please Resume Normal Blog Reading Activities

It has been fun, reliving this 2017 journey on the 1 year anniversary. Thanks to those that read or reread these posts. I do appreciate you all.

This will be my last post to this blog spot. Please join me at my PhotoBlography site.

https://photoblographysite.wordpress.com/https://photoblographysite.wordpress.com/

Allan

Tell us it Ain’t Over – Europe 2017 – by the numbers

This has long been my favourite way to wrap up a long travel blog sequence and I see no reason to make an exception here.

Just a note…if you have missed a post, they are all still here in numerical order from newest to oldest (top to bottom) All you need to do is scroll down to the post you missed. Cheers.

0

  • # of bags of roast chicken chips (crisps) consumed
  • # of welcome package French SIM cards in stock at FSR offices in Nice
  • # of times our passports were checked going into Iceland

1

  • # of nights spent on a plane
  • # of nights spent in Galway City
  • # of nights spent in Westport
  • # of times Nice police blew their whistle at us (for going behind a barricade on beach)
  • # of Russian Orthodox churches visited
  • # of canal cruises in Amsterdam
  • # of waterfalls walked behind in Iceland
  • # of macarons eaten in Paris
  • # of macarons sundaes eaten in Paris
  • # of cases of conjunctivitis on this trip
  • # of doctor visits on this trip
  • # of suitcases purchased
  • # of oil paintings purchased
  • # of toques purchased
  • # of blessings by nuns
  • # of Salade Lyonnaise eaten
  • # of times we encountered sheep being herded on the road in Ireland
  • # of times traveled below English Channel
  • # of walks under Thames River

1.48

  • Exchange rate – Canadian $ to Euro

1.68

  • Exchange rate – Canadian $ to British Pound

2

  • # of friends visited on this trip
  • # of nights spent in Derry
  • # of rivers in Lyon (Rhone and Saone)
  • # of bicycle rides in Amsterdam
  • # of apartments stayed in
  • # of geysers seen in Iceland
  • # of 1st class train rides
  • # of archaeological sites visited on this trip (Lyon and Trim)
  • # of visits to Billy Thai’s Restaurant
  • # of donuts eaten in London
  • # of visits to De Vier Pilarin Pancake restaurant
  • # of bottles of gravy browning purchased
  • # of countries visited where elections had just or were about to occur.
  • # of cities in France where we saw car race courses being set up
  • # of young Blue-tits we saw fledge in Sheffield

2.22

  • cost of a 1 hour bus ride from Nice to Menton in $CAN

2.45

  • cost in $CAN for a liter of gasoline in Iceland

2.5

  • # of hours our lunch in Menton took to complete

3

  • # of currencies used on this trip (Euro/Pound/Krona)
  • # of B & B’s stayed in
  • # of Salade Nicoise eaten
  • # of nights spent in Lyon
  • # of nights spent in Paris
  • # of nights spent in London
  • # of nights spent in Reykjavik
  • # of visits to Borough Market in one day
  • # of windmills visited in Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam
  • # of days we went to pancake restaurants for breakfast in Amsterdam
  • # of double-decker buses ridden
  • # of visits to Leon Restaurants
  • # of visits to Islanski Barinn Restaurants
  • # of visits to Sandholt Restaurant

4

  • # of nights spent in Amsterdam
  • # of nights spent in Trim
  • # of nights spent in Collon
  • # of cousins visited on this trip
  • # of Iceland Independence Day Ice cream bars consumed
  • # of colds suffered or caught in travels
  • # of sips of Guinness Pat had at Linehans Trad Night
  • # of highway overpasses driven over in jets on airport taxiways
  • # of soldiers in street patrol groups in Nice
  • # of Blue-tits seen
  • # of ice cream cones eaten
  • # of suitcases used (2 checked and 2 carry-on)
  • # of cities visited where terrorist acts have occurred before or during our trip.

5

  • # of nights spent in Nice
  • # of train journeys
  • # of hotels stayed in
  • # of courses in our meal at a Braijade Meridounale in Menton
  • # of pints of Guinness Allan had at Linehans Trad Night
  • # of city transit systems (bus/train/subway) used (Nice/Lyon/Paris/London/Amsterdam)
  • # of waterfalls visited in Iceland (Þingvellir/Gullfoss/Urridafoss/Seljalandsfoss/Skogafoss)
  • # of hours of rain in 42 days that minimally impacted our travels
  • cost of good bottle of wine in Monoprix in Nice in Euros

6

  • # of countries visited
  • # of hours time difference from Canada in Iceland
  • # of highway overpasses driven over in jets on airport taxiways (2 at Brussels, 4 at Schipol)

6-10

  • average time in minutes between eruptions of Strokkur geyser in Iceland

7

  • # of airplane flights
  • # of nights spent in Sheffield
  • # of hours time difference from Canada in England and Ireland
  • date in May of the French presidential election

8

  • #  of airports visited
  • # of windmills in Zaanse Schans
  • # of hours time difference from Canada in France and Nederlands
  • # of pints of Guinness consumed in Ireland
  • # of pubs visited
  • date in June of the English election

9

  • # of train stations used in travel
  • # of buses ridden
  • minimum daily low temperature in Celsius during our travel in Iceland
  • average cost of demi-pichet  of house wine in restaurants in Paris

10

  • # of wooden tulips purchased
  • cost in Euros of day pass for travel to Zaanse Schans
  • # of recorded followers to the blog

12

  • # of streets culminating at l’Arc de Triomphe, Place de l’Etoile in Paris
  • # of different beds we slept in

12.5

  • # of hours riding trains

13

  • # of protesters shot and killed in Derry on Bloody Sunday
  • # of glaciers in Iceland

15

  • # of cities visited
  • maximum daily high temperature in Celsius during our travel in Iceland

15-20

  • average height in meters of Strokkur geyser in Iceland

17

  • century our apartment in Lyon was constructed in
  • date in June of Iceland’s independence day from Denmark

18

  • # of Euros for 7 km taxi ride from Lyon train station to apartment
  • km walked in Lyon in one day

20

  • # of Euros for 1.7 km. taxi ride from Nice Hotel to train station

21

  • # of paid attractions visited

24

  • # of hours flying

25

  • cost in $CAN for a package of 25 souvenir napkins (made in Germany) in Iceland. (not purchased)
  • cost  of pharmacy dispensing fee in Nederlands

29

  • hottest  Celsius temperature during our travels (Paris)

30

  • average cost in $CAN of breakfast for 2 in rest of our travels
  • # of active volcanic systems in Iceland

32

  • height of two steps of Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland

34

  • # of likes on my travel blog

35

  • # of minutes it took for the once every 15 minutes car rental shuttle to arrive at Sixt Rental car at Keflavik Airport

37

  • price in $CAN for my Iceland toque

37.9

  • length in kilometers of undersea portion of Channel Tunnel

42

  • # of days on this trip

45

  • cost of foreign doctor visit in Euros

50

  • # of mosquito bites on Allan’s back in Nice Hotel

50.45

  • length in kilometers of the Channel Tunnel

54

  • # of blog posts on this trip

55

  • average cost in $CAN of breakfast for 2 in Iceland

56

  • # of times Patty looked for roast chicken chips (crisps) in stores

68

  • floors above the ground of the Shard’s Loo with a View

74.5

  • height in meters to top of Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik

75

  • depth in meters at deepest point below sea bed of Channel Tunnel
  • # of minutes spent in the line waiting to get into Anne Frank Museum

78.67

  • Exchange Rate – Icelandic Krona to Canadian $

80

  • # of comments on my blog (1/2 of these were my replies)

90

  • # of islands in Amsterdam

98

  • # of visits to my travel blog

100

  • # of km of canals in Amsterdam
  • # of Krona required to pee at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park in Iceland

112

  • cost for 2 to go up the Shard in Canadian $

115

  • depth in meters below sea level of Channel Tunnel

119

  • # of gigs of photos and video taken on this trip

120

  • average price in $CAN of simple suppers for 2 in Iceland

128

  • price in $CAN of our 5-course meal in Menton with wine pairings and liquers

160

  • maximum Eurostar speed in kph through Channel Tunnel

165

  • # of canals in Amsterdam

244.3

  • meters in height of the observation deck of the Shard in London

284

  • # of steps to top of l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris

302

  • top speed in kph achieved on our trip on Eurostar from Paris to London

310

  • height in meters to the tip of the Shard in London

360

  • cubic meters per second of water flow over Urridafoss waterfall in Iceland

450

  • # of meters elevation drop on Nietzche Path from Eze le Village to Eze Bord de la Mer

564

  • population of Collon

650

  • largest number of windmills working in the Zaan at the industrial peak

750

  • height in feet above the ground of the Shard’s Loo with a View

765

  • # of days Anne Frank spent hiding from the Nazis

925

  • # of photo view on my travel blog

991

  • # of windmills remaining in Netherlands today

1,753

  • # of bridges in Amsterdam

3,050

  • # of houseboats in Amsterdam

5,000

  • # of Amsterdam Jews who survived the Holocaust

5,543

  • population of Westport

8,268

  • population of Trim

12,000-15,000

  • # of bicycles fished from Amsterdam canals each year

17,465

  • number of kilometers flown

98,000

  • # of Amsterdam Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust

123,300

  • population of Reykjavik

258,552

  • population of Galway

330,823

  • population of Iceland

443,693

  • # of households in Amsterdam

506,615

  • population of Lyon

551,180

  • population of Sheffield

847,000

  • # of bicycles in Amsterdam

850,000

  • population of Amsterdam

2,241,346

  • population of Paris

8,674,000

  • population of London

Day 42 – Part 2 – Saturday – Things not to Like about Iceland

Leaving.

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Don’t get me wrong, Iceland has a few warts, mixed in with all its beauty marks.

  • The high prices for food, lodging, sightseeing, souvenirs and most everything make it mostly unaffordable.
  • Most roads are rough and rugged. You have to be very careful whether the car is yours or a rental. There are too few roads with shoulders, too few locations to pull off to see the sights and in many cases, not enough signage to mark the Points of Interest or distance to next town.
  • The weather can change in the blink of an eye. That being said, we managed to keep ahead of the rain throughout our stay.
  • The airport is congested, confusing and under construction. I doubt they will catch up to the expanding traffic in the near future. The costs for the reno must be huge when you see all the wood flooring and benches going in. There are not many trees on Iceland, so one must assume this is all imported.

We had packed up, checked out of our apartment, seen our last sights and were headed for the airport to turn in our rental car. All went well, until I saw the rental return agent studying every inch of our vehicle and using a mirror to inspect the underside. At last,  he was able to advise that Yes! There was some damage. He seemed relieved that he had found something. Sure enough, there were scratches on the underside of the front spoiler, you know the one that we all hit on parking curbs, speed bumps and pothole jouncing roads. As I had not had a similar inspection at vehicle take over, how could I argue? Back into the office to fill out a report. He seemed disappointed to learn I had taken the extra insurance, but happier when he told me I would still have to pay the deductible charge.

Paperwork complete and deductible paid, we were finally on our way or were we. The shuttle bus to take us to the airport was supposed to run every 15 minutes, but it had been 35 minutes since the last one. Just when we were thinking of hoofing it, the bus showed up and we all piled on and piled on and piled on. We had virtually no room left after our 2nd stop and we still had one more to go.

In the airport at last, check-in was completed, baggage was dropped, security check done and we were looking for a chance to spend some more money on food. No problem here, after all, this was Iceland where food costs were high.

We arrived at our boarding gate early and sat waiting for the flight to be announced, but it never was. People were starting to stand up, so we did too and all of a sudden, we were going through the door to the gate, where we stood, while the gate agents looked confused. Intermittently, they would scan a few boarding passes and a few people went through into a tiny holding area in front of the boarding bridge. We also got through before the agent, now alert told everyone else there was no rush and to take a seat until after the pre-boards had been handled. Pre-boards on and then our little group boarded ahead of those who had priority boarding rights. We were on and seated with carry on stowed in no time. Confusion definitely benefited us.

We waited about 15 minutes for some passengers on a late connecting flight and all too soon, we were on our way.

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After beverage service and duty-free sales, the staff announced that June 17th was Iceland’s Independence Day (Iceland became an independent republic on June 17, 1944. Prior to that, they had been a Danish state) and to celebrate, they would serve ice cream. As there is no free food included on Icelandair flights, this truly was something to celebrate. When the staff came back down the aisle with bars remaining, we asked if we could celebrate again and got a second bar. They were only going to melt, anyway. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, ICELAND! YOU ROCK!

The rest of the flight was uneventful. We watched a couple of movies, ate the food we had brought from the Grab and Go Express in the airport and enjoyed the scenery as we flew over Canada from East to West.

Despite our late departure, we arrived in Edmonton at 5:25 PM, the time announced in the schedule. We were finally home after 42 days of exciting travel. Can you be both happy and sad at the same time?

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Day 42 – Part 1 – Saturday – We Lava Iceland

There are many things about Iceland to love:

Unique public art glinting in the infrequent sun at Reykjavik harbour.

Gleaming new Harpa concert hall.

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Modern new condos along the harbour

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Beautiful clouds in a threatening sky.

Names and words that are impossible to say or spell.

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Colourful houses on Reykjavik streets.

Interesting architecture of Halgrimskirkja and other buildings.

Unique traffic signs

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Icelandic flags

DSC03741Birdlife

Lupins

Public beaches, where you wear wet suit gloves and booties and the lifeguard wears a parka.

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Picnic sites with lava tubes with ladders.

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Rough lava scenery

Geothermal power and heat plants.

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Fishing villages like Grindavik.

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Being able to see the colour of Blue Lagoon without actually having to pay the exorbitant price to go in.

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We were only in Iceland for 3 days, but it left us wanting more. We can only hope we can get back some day and that we will be able to afford it.

 

Day 41 – Friday – Still Wet Behind the Ears

I do not know what we expected when we first landed in Iceland, but, everything  so far has exceeded our expectations. This day was no exception. Breakfast at Sandholt today, breakfast bowl for Pat and granola yogurt and fruit and a cinnamon bun for me. add in the 2 coffees and the bill came to $50.23. As Linda would say…”Can you Dig it? All of the prompts on the payment terminal were in Icelandic. As I waited, I read “Taka Kort”. Hey I understood this and removed my card.

Today was our day to explore the South Coast, at least as far as Vik. We only made it about 25 km, before we had to pull off to look at the landscape of moss coloured lava fields and volcanic cones. While watched, Golden Plovers wandered around on the moss, making a peeping sound. We suspect they were protecting a nest..

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Another 25 km up the road,  we spotted a hang glider dancing dangerously close to some high tension lines What was this guy doing? We pulled into a viewpoint parking lot to watch and to enjoy the view over Selfoss.

Our original first stop was to have been Urridafoss, but this turned out to be our 3rd stop and you guessed it. It was another 25 km down the road. Attraction signs are not always prominent and often just beside the turn off. We almost missed this one. If we kept stopping this frequently, we would never make it to Vik(Veek).

Urridafoss did not really come up on our radar, as it was a very low waterfall. But, when we got a look at it, it was beautiful and turned out to have the highest water flow of any waterfall in Iceland. Little cascades fed into the river from several angles.

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This spot on the Thjorsa River  (longest in Iceland at 230 km) also happens to be one of the best fishing spots in Iceland, with Brown Trout, Sea Trout, Atlantic Salmon and Arctic Char. As we watched, it did not take these fishermen very long to snag a big one.

We stayed here quite a long time, enjoying the falls and river from all angles. We finally decided we had to make a move and as we headed back to Highway 1, we spotted this road sign. Despite the spelling, we understood it, were we learning to read Icelandic.

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We regained the Highway and headed for Seljalandsfoss, a 60 meter high waterfall that is on every tourist’s radar, as you can actually walk behind it. The parking lot was busy and we could see everyone gearing up for a wet trip, as we arrived. I was a bit worried for my camera, as it was getting water spots on it from a great distance away, but, sheltering it as best I could, we headed down the rough rocky trail. It did not take long for our glasses to be covered with spray, but kept stopping to enjoy the thunder of the waters as they rushed over the rocks above our heads.

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Once you got past the waterfall, the path got a little more rugged and as I looked back, I saw Patty puzzling her way through the rocks. Good thing she had her hiking poles.

Did I mention yet, that Iceland is covered in lupins. Most of them are blue purple, but every once in a while you would see some that were pink or white. Patty took this shot from the car as we rolled along towards Vik.

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Given that our 2 sandwich picnic yesterday had cost us $57.44, we opted to catch lunch on the road today. At long last, arriving in Vik, we searched for a restaurant. Anything down by the water was full of tour buses, so we headed up the hill to see what else was in town. Patty had spotted a place as we drove into town and it turned out to be the right choice. I had cream of asparagus soup and fresh bread and Patty had the smoked char. the food and coffee were great and we were soon on our way to explore Vik.

Vik (population: 318 if everyone is home) is famous for its black sand beaches and ocean views of rock pinnacles, but they are also home to nesting sites of many sea birds, including the puffin. Oh, and did I mention that Iceland is covered in lupins?

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In other photos of the area, we had seen a hole in the rock scene similar to Percé Rock on the Gaspé, but where was it? After talking with some other folks, we found out it was on the other side of the mountain and the only way to get there was to drive.

On arrival, we spotted the hole, but also saw the cave guarded by basaltic columns similar to those at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and by a waterfall in Whangarei, New Zealand. The rocks were quite beautiful, even in the softly falling drizzle.

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But, we could linger no longer. We had a 7:00 PM reservation is Islenski  Barinn and it was a Friday night. We could not let that slide, given the number of folks turned away the previous night.

We blasted back to Reykjavik along Highway 1, past

…glacier capped peaks

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…60 meter high Skogafoss where we stopped briefly

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…sheds built into fallen volcanic rocks

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…we did stop in to see the short film on the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and how it affected the farmers living right below the glacier at þorvaldseyri farm.

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…past cascades flowing over rocky crags

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…and rainbows over lupin fields

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The sun came and went and the rain pounded our car as we headed back up the mountains and into Reykjavik. All that being said, the rain on this date never really affected us.

We arrived at the restaurant early and settled in for supper. This would be our last meal here and we had become regulars.

A walk about the town and a bit of shopping. A very little bit, as all we bought was a toque for me at $37. There were lots of shoppers in the stores, but few buyers. Stuff was exorbitantly priced. $2 fridge magnets for $15, a cheap dollar store tray for $40 and a pack of 20 souvenir napkins (made in Germany) for $25. Forget the Icelandic sweaters from $180 to $700.

OK, we would just take in the views around town.

Goodnight all. Tomorrow would be a big day of packing and travel. Our wonderful trip was coming to a close.

Day 40 – Thursday – Land of Fire and Ice – Driving the Golden Circle

Our top reasons for renting a car in Iceland were.

  1. Affordability – The cost for the shuttles to and from the airport and the two tours we wanted to do would have been almost $900. The three-day rental was only $400.
  2. Flexibility – Bus tours would mean we would be spending more time getting on and off the bus than seeing the sights. The car would allow us to take our time to see what we wanted to see.
  3. Mobility – We could use the car to see a bit more of Reykjavik and the surrounding area on the last day, without booking another tour.

Every day when we woke up and went to bed, we would check the 5 day weather forecast ad every day it would tell us to expect rain showers in Reykjavik. The truth is there were rain showers, but for the most part, they were not where we were.

A lot of breakfast places in Reykjavik did not open until 9 AM. We set off to find one open at 8 and settled on Lauf, a place that had numerous small plates on the menu. You marked your choices on a card and they would bring your selections. Great in theory, but Pat had allergies, so a little more complex in the end. We managed to get fed, but plates were small and the cost for breakfast was around $55. After breakfast, we purchased sandwiches from Sandholt Bakery ($57 for 2 sandwiches).

On the road at last, Gertie got us out of town nicely and within minutes, we justified our choice to rent a car. The scenery was stunning, even in the cloudy light we faced this day. It was not long before we spotted this church and just had to turn off the road for a look. The lupins made framing shots easy.

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Back on the road, we rolled through more stunning scenes until we hit þingvallavatn lake (the letter þ sounds kinda like a t) at the edge of  Þingvellir Nasjonalpark. The lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Iceland at 84 square kilometers with a depth of up to 114 meters.

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Moving on, it did not take us long to get to the National Park, the site of the first Icelandic Parliament in 930 and now a beautiful walk in the rift valley created by shifting tectonic  plates. After paying $6.55 to park and $2.61 to use the washroom, we set off on our hike. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. We were barely out of the vehicle, when the sand flies were on us like stink on a monkey. We swatted and flished, buttoned our coats up to our chin and covered our heads with our hoods, all to no avail. They were everywhere, even on my camera lens. They must have got the memo that advising fresh tourists were coming.

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There were rock swirls from lava flow

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beautiful flowers

and birds of every description.

At long last, we decided we had best be moving on and instead of paying another $2.62 to pee, we bought a couple of magnum ice cream bars for $10.50. It was at this point that I came up with a new name for Iceland….I would call it PRIceland.  I am going to digress here to explain why most things in Iceland are so expensive.

  1. Labour rates are among the highest in the world and include 12% union dues, 37-46% income tax and parental leave at almost full salary.
  2. Farming is tightly regulated and there are importation restrictions on many agricultural items as well as price controls on local products. Almost everything required to run a modern farm must be imported. Locally produced milk costs twice what imported milk would cost, but, milk importation is forbidden.
  3. Importation costs on this island nation are high.
  4. There is an 11% VAT on food and another 24% VAT on nearly everything to make food.
  5. If you are in a tourist trap outside a major center, prices will be high, because they know people will pay them.

Due to this, Reykjavik is the most expensive capital in Europe to visit.

Now, back to spending our money. En route to our next stop (Geysir Thermal Region) , scenery continued to astonish, with mountains, valleys, streams and rivers. There were plenty of choices to pull over for our picnic lunch…which we ate inside the car….to avoid the voracious sand flies.

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Arriving at the Geysir (Gay-Sur) visitor center, we were happy to be able to park and pee for free. Setting off across the road to the geothermal area, it began to sprinkle intermittently. We gathered with a large group around the smaller geyser Strokkur and did not have long to wait before it erupted 30 meters into the air. Wow, OK, lets hike over to Geysir only 80 meters away and watch that show. We waited and waited and waited, all to no avail. And the funny thing is there were only about 10 of us waiting. Eventually we gave up as Strokkur continued to erupt every 4-6 minutes. We wandered around the rest of the place past bubbling pools, muddy paths and lupins, every once in a while hearing the shrieks of delight as Strokkur performed. But, Geysir never did (until much later when we drove by on our return trip). Turns out Geysir is not a regular kind of geyser. It has erupted up to heights of 170 meters but eruptions are infrequent and unpredictable and at times can stop for years. Good thing we did not hang around.

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Leaving the area, we crossed some road reconstruction and marvelled that any car could survive these road conditions. Our destination was the waterfall, Gulfoss on the Hvita River, which was not far away. We soon arrived to another packed parking lot. While the drop is only 32 meters in two stages, the size of the falls is immense. At one point, a hydro-electric generator was proposed for this site, but due to lack of money and public protest, it never happened and the site is now protected by law.

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We felt very lucky to be here, especially as the slight drizzle seemed to dampen the sand flies enthusiasm. Oh, they were still there, but now they were trying to get out of the rain and into our car, for our continued swatting enjoyment.

As much as we tried, Gertie could not find our next stop, Kerid, a 3,000 year old volcanic crater,  55 meters deep, 170 meters wide and 270 meters across. Driving along, we just managed to turn in after spotting the small sign. The parking lot was small, as were the crowds and at only $5.22 admission each, it was a steal. Sun was starting to break through the clouds, so the shadows and colours of the crater and lake were quite dramatic. As we climbed up to the top, we spotted another crater and another and another, marching off into the distance. We were clearly in a volcanic zone.

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Golden Circle route almost complete, we headed back to Reykjavik about an hour away, stopping to admire the scenery

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or simply rolling on by and window snapping.

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No luck finding parking near our apartment, so we headed up the hill to Halgrimmskirkja and the free parking. We opted to go back to the same restaurant and had the fish of the day, grilled salmon on mashed potatoes with Portobello mushrooms and bacon sauce…….yummmm, bacon sauce.

Did I mention that there are almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year. Leaving the restaurant, the sun was shining and I thought there might never be a better time to go up the 74.5 meter tower of Hallgrimskirkja, the largest Lutheran church in Iceland, built in 1945. Crowds were light and we were son admiring the fine views of Reykjavik.

Below is:

the Perlan hot water storage building used to store heated geothermal water  for heating, as well as housing concert/exhibition space, a restaurant and 3 shops.

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the beautiful Harpa concert hall, opened in 2011 at a cost of 164,000,000 Euro

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and some older Reykjavik houses, including this one with a sod roof.

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The tower was getting crowded, so we decided to head down for a look at the church interior. A little austere, but nonetheless, beautiful.

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Returning to our apartment for the night, we stopped for a chat with some new friends.