Tuesday, July 22, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE
To see all the photos of ICELAND'S GOLDEN CIRCLE click HERE.


Last night and early this morning we finished our second Torquil MacLeod novel: Murder in Malmö. both Meet Me in Malmö, the first one,  and this one center on Anita Sundström, brilliant but troubled detective of the Malmö, Sweden police department. We have one more to go in the series; Missing in Malmö which we will not be able to complete but it was fun reading novels about where we were traveling. The Jack London, Call of the Wild, was perfect for Finnmarken and Engholm Lodge with a bit of Robert Service thrown in for flavor. Yummy!

On the Road Again in a Big Hinterland Circle

We are on the downhill slide to departure and return to reality

early morning Port of Reykjavik

On our final full day we spent the entire day traveling around the south end of Iceland. It was a beautiful drive, very green with hot springs gurgling up from the ground with steam marking their locations.

We had a brief stop at a horse ranch and enjoyed seeing and listening to the stories of how they kept the purity of the breed.   Factoid:  Icelandic horses have 5 standard gaits.  Horse folks will do research and correct us if needs be.

We traveled further into earthquake country (at least one every day) stopping at the Gullfoss waterfall. We have tons of photos, but show you here only a couple so get the impact feel.

And on even further to the Geysir
Factoid:  Geysir is the only Icelandic word incorporated into English
(spelled with a second 'e' of course.)

It blows every 5 - -7 minutes 

Again many many more photos

during blow

after blow

the 2nd largest  glacier

On to a relaxing swim at a hot springs, a bite of cake cooked in the ground over the hot springs and finally to Pingvellir ( a UNESCO Heritage Site), where the Teutonic Eurasian and American plates collide AND the spectacular setting of the first European Parliament gathering in the 900's. 

Truly a magnificent space!

the gathering spot

The walk along the gathering space

Wheels up at 5 pm today for Seatac.  We arrive there at 5:35 pm.  The wonders of travel!  We've seen so much it's hard to name even the top 10.  We've enjoyed great visits with friends in Norway and met new folks along the way.  We've exchanged currencies so many times we're dizzy.  We've had some of the best food we've ever had -- mostly in Iceland.  

We have had a Magnificent Norway Adventure (plus Sweden and Iceland.)  Pacific Northwest awaits us . . 

Sunday, July 20, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE
To see all the photos of REYKJAVIK click HERE.

Sunshine kicks off our day!


As we awoke this morning, we were greeted by sunshine. Sleeping in is good! AND on a sunny morning, even better. We were up in time to walk to the Marine Museum and found a great little coffee shop right in the port working ship slips. A little coffee, a little apple torte and a great view into the harbor.

Port of Reykjavik

Artist rendition of the Port

The Art was stimulating and encouraged us to find the "Clinton" hot dog stand. There we were met with many local folks getting a hot dog... Becky ordered for us: fried onions, mustard, mayo, gravy. I think this could be our last hot dog of the hot dog frenzy of the "Scandihoovians".

Results: Underwhelmed! Totally UnderWhelmed!

Wandering further a-field

Across the road and down the way is the fantastic Miles van de Rohe Award winning designed Harpa theater/Convention Center. Designed by Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects and Icelandic architectural firm Batteríið ArchitectsThis building faces the harbor and has a commanding presence on the water front in Reykjavik.

 A different perspective from every angle.

Flowers greeted us at every turn.

Tomorrow we will greet the geysers and soak in the steam bath at Fontana.  Stay tuned for the Golden Circle trip. . . 

Saturday, July 19, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE
To see all the photos of ICELAND'S BLUE LAGOON click HERE.

Becky to the masseuse, while lying on a floating 'table' in the milky Blue Lagoon:  I think this place must be even more beautiful when the sun is shining.

Her reply: It is very beautiful.  Today, the sun is shy.

The Blue Lagoon
It's a fur piece out of town, accessible on a big group tour bus departing from central station at 10 am.  Our voucher promised us a ride directly from our hotel -- the Marina Hotel.

Already a problem -- original voucher from travel agent says, "Pick up at Borg Hotel."  So lots of confirming.  Several explanations at hotel reception and finally a "yes."  We will be picked up at Marina Hotel.  "He will park at the end of the drive and will come into the lobby and call your name."

"Hello, I am Borg."  Yes, it's not a hotel.  HE is a bus driver -- tho how the agency knew the name of the driver when we booked in May. . .  Borg had a wonderful, deep, resonant laugh from the heart and we managed to be rewarded with hearing it several more times from hotel to central station.

The Blue Lagoon is in the middle of lava beds.  We think it's a man made structure, having something to do with the geo-thermal heating used by the entire country.  The water is milky blue like opals, with steam rising in a wet fog.  

Entrance to the Blue Lagoon

There is a huge, but orderly, complex of showers and shops and bars and restaurants.  We paid at reception, scheduled massages (in the water!), and received a bright white robe and a large fluffy dark green towel.  As the lava is all covered with moss and lichen the towel is a perfect coordinate.

Rest and relaxation

The Massage
"After you enter the lagoon, 'swim' all the way to the left where the chain divides the general pool from the massage pool."  The bottom of the lagoon is, of course, not visible but our feet could tell it was an irregular surface, like lava rock honed by either man-made tools or the working of the water and minerals.

The masseuse met us at our appointed time and instructed us how to lie onto the blue floating mat with contours matching the shape of a body at relaxed rest.  The massage technique is unusual -- a back massage from under the water.  The masseuse's hands slip between your back and the mat and massage the entire area of your back.

Then your arms and hands and fingers.  Then your shoulders and finally your head.

"I will dip you now and then to keep you warm."  It's not a dance; it's a break in the massage so your body on the mat (and covererd by a towel) can be gently dipped into the warm lagoon pool.  Never cold, never.  Timing is everything, you know.

We took a break after the massage and ate our sammiches and drank lots of pure, cold, Iceland water.  Very nice.

After more exploring into the really really warm side of the lagoon -- like a hot tub -- we decided to shower, dress, and meet the return ride to town.  

The Weather

It's been quite rainy and very wet.  The shy sun stayed hidden as we swam in what must have been a low-hanging cloud.  The rain was pelting and sideways on our walk back out the path thru the lava bed, to the bus.  Rain flew at the bus all the way back into town.

That "shy" sun must be in Norway continuing the heat wave there?

Friday, July 18, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE
To see all the photos of ICELAND click HERE.

Great flight from Stockholm, tho we were awake at the 3:30 am sunrise to have coffee, pack last minute items, and meet the taxi at 5:15 am.  We’ve arrived in Reykjavik to the rain and gray and gloom of Iceland’s summer.  It’s 53 degrees.  We are actually celebrating as – finally – we are able to wear the fleece and warm socks we expected to need in Norway.  (Remember: there was a heat wave while we were in Norway.)

Bus to the hotel

Two busses actually – a big one, tour size and then a mini van from central station to the hotel.  Lots of incredible raw, rough scenery.  Lava rocks coated in lichen and moss.  Lava land reaching right into the ocean, where surely it was cooled millennia ago as it rushed and slid from a volcano.

This is the longest name we have seen so far for a street.
Becky has a friend that was here recently and she and her travel friend divided the street names in half. Each one remembering one half of the name. So Kringlumyrarbraut would become the KR Street.

 Well, wouldn’t you know, here we are in our last days listening to a pile driver in the Marina Hotel in Reykjavik. We are right on the harbor looking directly at the gigantic fishing boats. However, it might be that our hotel is sinking and they are trying to right the building as there is a deep hole right beside the wall facing the harbor.

We are hoping they don’t start working too early in the morning.  The project seems to be a hotel expansion.  On the harborside wall, where our room windows give us a ‘view’ of a working shipyard, is a deep, deep hole, half filled with muddy yucky stuff.  Meanwhile we are being serenaded by a pile driver.   Dut dut dut dut dut. . .

This last hotel is our first disappointment.  We’ve managed a ship with fold down berths and a bathroom less than 3 feet by 3 feet.  Now we are on land and have beds so close to the wall that you have to sidle in side-ways just to get to the bed. 

To avoid the "dut dut dut dut dut", we walked in the rain to the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church named after an Icelandic poet and clergyman (1974).

Statue of Leif Ericksson right in front

We walked up Skolavoredustigur Street (the SD street)

and back down Laugavegur Street (LV Street) doing plenty of people watching. 


Ms. Pétursdóttir or Ms. Guðrún?

Iceland maintains another Norse tradition: the custom of using patronyms rather than surnames. An Icelander's given name is followed by his or her parent's first name (usually the father's), in the genitive case, and the suffix -son or -dóttir, e.g. Guðrún Pétursdóttir (Guðrún, Pétur's daughter). Members of the same family can therefore have many different "surnames", which can sometimes create confusion for visitors. Because of the patronymic last names Icelanders use first names, e.g. phone books are alphabetized by first name rather than last name. This also applies when addressing an individual. Icelanders would never expect to be addressed as Mr. or Ms. Jónsson/-dóttir no matter how important they might be.

So. if you are a guy you would.....


Some Icelanders believe in the hidden people — called huldufólk — and a few claim to have seen them. They are analogous to elves, but are often considered separate. There is even a museum in Reykjavík devoted to the hidden people. This is an ancient Icelandic belief and most Icelanders respect the tradition. Skepticism thus can appear rude.

The hidden people will surely arrive later and silence the jackhammer.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE
To see all the photos of STOCKHOLM click HERE.


Becky reminded us that we have not had a soft drink of any kind since we left. No toxins in these bodies!

Must be on the downhill slope of the trip as we have been talking about missing things; 

Up and Down, All Around

Today the sun is shinning again and we had a walking guide (Eva Johnnson) for Beth and Becky. She met us at 10:00ish and off we went walking...thank goodness we had walking shoes. We walked around the Navy base, saw many house boats (not like ours) that are working boats with many from the 1800's, beautiful Navy base which has been turned into state or private buildings with the navy moved off somewhere else further out of town. And finally on this small island we saw the Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden with a magnificent Calder at the entrance.

Orion, House Boat

Grace Kelly's Yacht

Wooden Boat Construction School

More Walking, More Museums

Eva took us off the island and around to the next island and the Storkyrkan Lutheran Cathedral built in 1279. We were able to enjoy part of a service while we were there. (No photos allowed).

Out that door and over to The Nobel Museum which brought us up to date on the latest nobel laureates and the history of the prize. Sweden takes great pride in their hosting of this event where the King of Sweden presents each prize. (No photos allowed again).

Zip, Zip, Zoom right next door is The Royal Palace built in the 1800's and serves as the official residence of the King of Sweden. In the cellar, otherwise known as the Treasury, are the crown jewels. Since the royal family serves in name only, they do not wear the jewels but leave them on display for their citizens. (NO I told you NO PHOTOS)!!!

Coffee with Eva

After all the walking and viewing we were ready to sit and visit. Eva negotiated a coffee spot at an outdoor table.  

One of three phone booths left in Stockholm

We learned a bit more about conservative Sweden, shared books we all liked to read, and relaxed our tired feet.  We had all agreed that Palaces and Museums require lots of staff to maintain; we were grateful for coffee shop staff to serve us at the midday rest. 

Today is our last real day in Stockholm. We have enjoyed it immensely, loved the buildings, the people and the prices. Tomorrow very early in the morning we head to the airport and Iceland.