Category Archives: Iceland

11-Day Itinerary in Iceland with Packing List

Iceland Glacier

Here is how we planned an 11-day itinerary in Iceland with packing list for a September visit. We didn’t make the full circle around the island. After flying to Reykjavik, we toured the southern half of the island driving half-way up the east coast. We then returned on the same road, but stopped to see […]

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Animals of Iceland

Icelandic Sheep

The animals of Iceland, so popular with tourists, comprise a fairly limited set. Puffins, whales, sheep, and horses are probably the most commonly sighted. I’m fascinated, however, by the claim that at the time of the first Norwegian settlers in AD 871, the southern coast of Iceland was forested and filled with animals that seemed […]

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More Favorite Short Walks in Iceland

Pingvellir National Park

Several more favorite short walks in Iceland have to be included in my list of top-tier hikes. We’ll always remember our visit to little mount Helfagell in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, partly because of its Viking history and partly because it was so hard on us. For similar reasons, we’ll probably always remember our time at […]

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Favorite Short Walks in Iceland

Anarstappi to Hellnar hike

Of all my favorite short walks in Iceland, one of the best lies along the coastal cliffs from Anarstappi to Hellnar. Our overnight stay in the Borgarnes Hostel across the street from the Settlement Center had been surprisingly comfortable. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside was clean and the beds fresh. We’d […]

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Waterfalls of Iceland

Above Skogafoss

The waterfalls of Iceland in all their beauty and frequency became a distinct pleasure during our visit. Wherever there was a height of land, there was an accompanying cascade of water. The waterfalls became the punctuation to the landscape. By the way, the Icelandic word for waterfall is foss, so you don’t need to say “Gulfoss waterfall.” […]

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Architecture in Iceland

Grundarfjoerdur

Architecture in Iceland offers several puzzles. For one, where are all the old buildings? When a country boasts a thousand years of history, you’d expect to find a few old stone churches or at least a solidly built public building less recent than the twentieth century. But that’s not Iceland. This could be due to the […]

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Icelandic Sagas and Contemporary Ethics

Every attempt I’ve made to reconcile the Icelandic Sagas and Contemporary ethics has fizzled. I intended to be conversant with the Icelandic Sagas before I left for Iceland, but on every attempt it seemed as though my ethics got in the way. My daughters and I are curious museum-goers, so I hoped to have some of […]

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Black Rock, Lava Tubes, and Moonscapes

Marker for the Hellnar hike

Iceland’s black rock, lava tubes, and moonscapes are all volcano generated, but their visual effect is highly varied. This troll sculpture, for example, is constructed from black volcanic rock and marks the trail head from Hellnar to Arnarstapi. I’ve written more about it in the blog, “Icelandic Whimsy.” Our visit to the lava tube near […]

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Why Do Icelanders . . . ?

Steam in Hveragerdi

Why do Icelanders . . . leave their doors open? Because heat is geothermal, folks, and there’s plenty more where it comes from! But the whole concept was hard for me to adjust to at first. In Reykjavik whenever I’d find a tourist shop door open, some submerged part of me would worry while I shopped. […]

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Iceland’s Water, Liquid and Solid

Iceberg

Iceland’s water, liquid and solid, is amazing in all its forms. Whether you drink it, snorkel in a fissure, or hike a glacier, it is water like none other. I’d seen photographs of beautiful Jokulsarlon lagoon that proved why the site is sought after by film-makers. The pictures feature milky turquoise water colored by refraction […]

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