Always start with the iconic photo... September 21, 2017 My first Road Scholar Tour
The beginning of this tour was sort of difficult for me. I departed JFK at eight pm, flew all night without sleeping. Arrived Reykjavik at six in the morning, shuffled through the airport for a while, boarded a bus that took us to a hotel for breakfast, and then on to the Blue Lagoon. We were all feeling pretty beat up by the time we got in the water.
Soaking in the lagoon was a great experience. The skies poured down cool rain for much of the time we were swimming around in that warm salty water. That was a sensual banquet! I relaxed, was able to unwind after the stress of the air travel and connecting with my first tour group.
After lunch at the Blue Lagoon restaurant, we went up to the top of the Perlan to see a panoramic view of Reykjavik and take some photos. We were due to embark on The Ocean Diamond at four o'clock, so we also had time for a quick visit to Hallgrímskirkja Church. And I like the Leif Ericsson statue very much.
We embarked, had a fun lifeboat drill, dinner, and finally bedtime. Half an hour later, the loudspeakers squalked to life encouraging anyone who wanted to see the Northern Lights to come up on deck. The skies were so cloudy, I thought there might not be another chance, so I dove into some warm clothes and dashed outside. I did see the Aurora that night--not anything like the photos I've seen, but it was the read deal. I'm glad I got out of bed.
Beautiful light in the late afternoon before we left the harbor.
Here's about half of our group in front of the ship.
We saw so many rainbows that after a while we almost stopped getting excited about them. The skies were stormy and amazing for most of the time, except when it was pouring rain. We were being served fish twice a day, and the food was great, but we saw so many sheep, the group collectively started wishing for lamb. As the week progressed, our menu did move through chicken, roast beef, lamb soup, and roast lamb. No one came home hungry, I think.
Overnight, we sailed out to The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and toured the largest town on the peninsula, Stykkisholmur. There was a talk on the hunting of the Greenland shark, which is treated to reduce toxin levels and is eaten in Iceland as a delicacy known as kæstur hákarl. Any food that needs to be followed by a shot of schnapps to be tolerated? Yeah, no thanks. Somebody else can have mine. Lower left image above shows a fella with a pretty big one! I assume that the huge vertebrae next to the barrel are from a whale? (lower right.)
These are Icelandic Elkhorn Sheep. Good to have a knitting machine handy. Those guys on the right above are called tweed.
Ahh, nice to know The Vikings invented the Mercury outboard motor.
Barður Snæfellsás stone sculpture at Arnarstapi, said to be the guardian spirit of the area. His saga is set near here. This guy is half human, and half troll.
The hike we took at this location was the one day the rain was really persistent. So we hiked in the rain, and it was ok.
There were a lot of really nice people on this tour. Jens and Freyja were so smart, and really super interesting guides.
Plenty of waterfalls. And always the line to the loo.
We visited so many interesting places that the week feels like a blur as I look through the photos.
These were the only kind of puffins we saw on the trip. They don't nest in the stony kind of ground that we were touring, and by the end of September they've migrated, anyway. My pal, Margaret took a tour in the summer, and they went out to the bird cliffs in the Zodiacs. We were the end-of-the-season tour, so clearly things would be scheduled differently.
I think I need to break this post up into two parts. Like the Paris post, this is waaay too long for just one part.