Weekend Wildcard July 12 & 13th - Untamed Iceland
by Kay Nelson
If you were to ask me when the travel bug bit I would say it happened when I was three days old. Consequently, I have visited 32 countries so far. Additionally, my northern European genes have beckoned me to the far northern lands. Scandinavia, Russia, and Churchill Manitoba each was visited during "white night." or midsummer when the sun never sets. Friends asked me if I had been to Iceland before and could not believe I was staying for 13 days. What would I do that whole time? Is there enough to see and do in Iceland. Well actually, yes indeed there is!
Yes, there is a high culture in Reykjavik. Take note of the beautiful, modern concert hall on the bay. The architect of the Harpa Concert Hall got his inspiration from the rock formations in this cave. And here is an interesting connection to the Twin Cities. Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vanska, has just been named Principal Guest Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra!
Modern, Stylish, Trendy Iceland
Who would have guessed this western European outpost would feature high fashion? This attractive model is a feature in the lobby of the Hilton Nordica. And, then at the other end of the spectrum, our guide appeared in period dress at the Eiriksstadir Museum. Glad I didn't have to reside in that dark cave-like residence . . . Talk about depression in the winter months and no privacy.
How do you like herring and smoked lox in your breakfast buffet along with bacon and eggs? I sampled it for a few days until I started having fish breath! The cod dinner with salad and boiled potatoes was a standard offering.
One night we "cabbed" out to the village of Stokkseyri ( 60 meters from Reykjavik) to help a fellow traveler celebrate his 71st birthday and we were not disappointed. The restaurant, Fjorubordid, was full of rowdy soccer fans who gave our birthday boy a group hug.
Flowers love the 23 hours of summer daylight in Iceland. Dandelion plants are about 2 feet tall! Lupine was introduced about 20 years ago and has spread across Iceland. Although beautiful, it has raised havoc with native vegetation. Think of dandelions brought to Minnesota.
The flower pot is from the beautiful town of Akureyri (sounds like actuary and the only word outside of Reykjavik I attempted to pronounce). It is only 45 miles from the Arctic circle! Very, very healthy and enviable colorful blooms.
Souvenirs were VERY expensive, but I popped for this tee-shirt that I just had to have. It gives one the scoop on daylight extremes. And then, speaking of pronunciation, take a peek at the road sign -- uffdah!
Would I go to Iceland again? Definitely. I want to see those northern lights while relaxing at the Blue Lagoon. And then there's the whales, puffins, umpteen million waterfalls, whitewater river rafting, sheep and the beautiful horses. Check it out; it is only about six airplane hours direct from the Twin Cities.