After a busy traveling day we made our way "home" to the Alftroo Guesthouse. Nestled in the countryside we immediately felt comfortable - put on our slippers - made a few cocktails - and prepped dinner together with our guide, Oliver.
Pam prepping tomorrow nights meal - lamb cooked in the outdoor fire pit~fabulous!
Paula and Sandi with the table all set - enjoy a bonding moment and a martini!
....and before we knew it.
The dinner bell!
Oliver serves up his famous Icelandic fish stew. A cozy dinner - family style
with a toast to our adventures of the day ~ with more promised for tomorrow.
Today we head out and stretch our legs as Oliver gets us going in the right direction. Our morning begins with a hike at Reykjadalur. Where a few of our brave souls will take a dip in the natural hot springs.
Jim, my happy hiker!
We begin our hike seeing a few small thermal springs popping up along the mountain side.
As we turn each corner we are greeted with more steam billowing up from the springs.
It was an amazing sight watching the sun come up over the mountains to welcome us as we made our way along the mountain path with water bubbling alongside of us.
The "changing rooms" as you can see with well exposed. To the few that decided to take a dip in the warm waters realized it wasn't as easy as they thought to get themselves "put back together" without a few frozen appendages!
The rest of the group continued on to the end of the path and were greeted with more waterfalls and rock formations. It was a delightful hike - unlike hikes here in NH where we are predominantly surrounded by trees blocking our view. This day we had the splendor of the countryside along with the rising sun every step of our journey.
and sunshine and we walked back to our starting place.
As you look forward you are greeted with the coming of the new day.
As you look back you see the grandness of all you've experienced. If you look closely you can see Diane on the far right. She provides that sense of scale and justice due to the ground we covered.
After our "caving" experience we packed up into the van with our trusty guide Oliver and were on our way to our next adventure.
Þingvellir or Thingvellir lies in a rift valley
between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
As we meandered around we were able to experience the grandness of this space.
You could feel how it would become a protected national shrine for Icelanders. A country small in size feels quite mighty in stature.
On to our next stopping place a wee bit down the road. As you can see the weather outside was just a tiny bit inclement for this traveling day. Didn't hamper any spirits in our group though. The countryside (visible only to folks in the front of the bus) due to the fact that the inside of our bus was fairly steamy in nature as well.
Oliver, our guide, had told us of the Icelandic phrase “þetta reddest” described as the country's motto. "it will all work out okay"
I suppose you could view the Iceland as a barren, harsh, cold environment but through our experiences we joined in with the Icelanders and developed a carefree mentality and "went with the flow" feeling that everything will work out in the end.
Next stop was to the Geyser Hot Springs. These two glíma wrestlers demanded a photo op as we walked past. Really - how could you not?!
They exhibit traditional Icelandic martial art originated by the Vikings.
They liken it to Sumo wrestling - I would say perhaps wedgie wrestling?
Once again the colors were present through the muted fog and rain
a calm pool
the beginnings of an eruption
Strokkur letting loose
....spouts every 5-9 minutes
Once again the landscape changing at every spot that we visit.
Next up was the Gullfoss Waterfall. You could feel the different energy as soon as you started to walk about. The sun was about to set (on or about 3:40 pm mind you) and you could see and feel the change in the atmosphere.
Gullfoss - means golden waterfall. You could see from the surroundings how it would take on a golden hue with the sunshine. That will have to wait for another day. Seeing it at dusk made you focus on the sheer power of this river. Hvita River flows over this two tiered waterfall into a 32 meter deep crevasse.
powerful - mesmerizing - awestruck - grand
The walk back up to the visitors center was brisk. Folks steps quickened as we made our way back full circle.
Next up the warmth of our Farmhouse and some furry friends!
Our second day of Icelandic adventures was an early morning walk to the Leiðarendi lava cave also known as a lava tube. We walked in darkness to the cave's mouth and one by one went below the earth's surface. These caves or tubes were formed by two separate eruptions, one two thousand years ago and the other one thousand years ago. The Earth above was barren and flat covered in lava rock and soft green moss with the mountains in the distance shrouded by fog. Inside the cave was a kaleidoscope of reds, yellows and greens from the minerals that had flowed through all those years before. One of our guides, Johann, shared stories of playing in these caves with his brother as youngsters.
There were also stories of trolls...
The light from our head lamps offered a glimpse into this underground world. It was wet and it was dark. We all sat in a circle and got comfortable - our guide Oliver had us turn off all of our head lamps one by one.
darkness - total darkness
just the sound of the rain dripping through the cracks
below the surface
It was an eerie feeling but at the same time a comfortable feeling. We knew we were safe. We knew we were all together and we knew we could turn our light back on. Take away those elements and fear and darkness would have prevailed.
As the group began to approach the exit they could see the light of early dawn. I could see their headlamps as they gathered together before squeezing through the final cracks.
Oliver led the charge with Bill and the rest of the crew following single file.
It was a fun experience to be sure and we all enjoyed the visit
...but I think it would be safe to say
nice place to visit but wouldn't want to live there.
An Icelandic song that is sung during National Festival.
This is the first line in the lyrics....
Á þessu ferðalagi fylgjumst við að
On this journey we will accompany each other
Leaving Logan at 8pm landed us in Reykjavik at 6am Iceland time. Most folks that visit Iceland head to the Blue Lagoon for a warm soak in geo thermal pools - throw on a little face mask and suck down a prosecco to start their day.
So began our day. We gathered our bags and made our way to the bus, eyes groggy, seeking a spot for a cup of Joe. The landscapes in Iceland are quite dramatic as is the wind. Being in total darkness at this hour we were treated to the later and what Icelanders humorously refer to as "sideways" rain. Our group consisted of seasoned travelers with a quest for adventure and always a smile.
With our cups in hand, coffee sloshing to and fro we found our seats and shoved off to the Blue Lagoon.
In darkness the Blue Lagoon was an energizing experience. I liken it to the broads of Lake Winnipesaukee on a windy, dark night! We gathered with our fellow travelers and started on our
adventure together. I have to say it was wonderful - the darkness, the warmth, the wind, the laughter, the masks...... It was like being a kid and feeling pure joy!
Paula and Mike out on the deck - Paula sharing a smile and a new hairstyle for Mike!
Thinking of a plan for the day..... catch the earlier bus and head into Reykjavik
Walking the city streets, taking in the sights, observing as light begins to come into play.
I happened upon this window with the items on the windowsill catching my eye - especially the expression on the women pictured. I love quirky and she had quirky written all over her! I hesitated for a moment to take a photo and caught up with the group at the stop light. We continued our explorations and later met up with our guide Oliver who would lead us on our adventure through Iceland.
I was recently commissioned to create a body of work for the good folks of Rist Frost Shumway Engineering in Laconia. Wanting to update their website they were seeking environmental style portraiture to showcase themselves and the engineering community with the work they produce.
I was excited to work with Chris, Ann Marie and their crew. We selected a few session dates for their employees locally and around the Boston area to fill as their schedule allowed. A professional group of folks with approachable personas even though having their portraits taken was not high in their comfort zone - "is it ever" Each individual responding well with direction and confidence.
A respectful and enjoyable group to spend some time with and photograph.
We worked together and made the experience an enjoyable collaboration.