We flew into the Keflavik Airport and then took a but to Reykjavik. On the way to the city, we crossed through a former lava field. I’m not showing pictures from the bus because it was early morning, raining, and I don’t know how to work the flash on my camera so I only got photos of the window. Sigh.
Anyhow, imagine if you will black volcanic rocks with green moss growing on them, and off in the distance, tall mountains spiking up out of the mist.
At one point, the rocks were huge ovals with cracks on the top. It looked like huge domed bubbles which had cracked on top, only these things weren’t soap bubbles, they were ROCKS.
Later in our trip, we went to a volcanic site that is used as a geothermal power plant (the whole island gets its power from geothermal and hydroelectric sources. I think they could also put up a few windmills and get the wind power too, if they wanted). Anyhow, this gives you an idea of the scenery.
Nevertheless, despite all these pictures, I am having a hard time conveying the eerie mystery of Iceland. Maybe you just have to go there, but it is an extremely unusual place. I can see why a fanciful prince would think it might be the perfect place to find a bride who was as cool as ice on the outside and a lusty volcano on the inside. This is a description of Brunhilde, but it holds equally true for Eyjafjallajökul, the volcano which is UNDER a glacier, and when it exploded in 2010 it put miles of ash into the atmosphere and grounded many airline passengers in Europe.
Iceland actually used to have a lot more trees, but within 200 years the humans had deforested the place Lorax/Easter Island style. There are some trees, but they are small. I don’t think I saw any trees over 20 feet while I was there. It also doesn’t help when you pasture a lot of sheep. Sheep are very destructive to plants, eating everything down to the nubbins.
There are now ‘tree farmers’ in Iceland who are trying to re-grow the Iceland forest. They plant American aspens to act as windbreaks for the native Icelandic birch.
An Iceland joke:
Q: What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?
A: Stand up.