Our yen for high-latitude travel led us to O.A.T.'s Untamed Iceland, in splendid fall garb with spectacular geology, history, and scenery. NB: [click] means you can click the image for a larger, or different, picture.

The awesome Harpa Center graces Reykjavik's waterfront. [click]

Near Alþingi (Parliament House), you can find one of Iceland's block-head politicians. [click]

Trolls abound on Reiyajavik's streets. [click]

<= Reykjavik street signs encourage socially-responsible behaviors--part of the FreeTheNipple campaign? [click]
We bypassed one odd museum [click ^] to head north through the 5.77 KM long Hvalfjörður Tunnel. The road drops 165 M below the fjord while traversing the tunnel, confusing to a watch barometer!

Barnafass Falls flows out of a cliff when water hits a resistant rock layer. [click]

Ropey pahoehoe basalt lava flows cap the rocks at Barnafass. [click]

Iceland was deforested shortly after the Vikings arrived in the ninth century.

Ash flows covered with grass and moss framed the view.

Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe, provides heat for two towns. [click]

Our deluxe coach--19 seats. 16 people, with trailer for checked luggage by Settlement Center. [click]

Columnar joints mark the end of the Gerðuberg basalt flow on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Iceland is geologically young, with oldest rocks about 15 MY old (Tertiary and Quaternary periods). [click]

A quick march up Helgafell yielded stunning views and wishes granted. [click]

We spent two nights at the Hotel Stykkisholmur, which served fine lamb, near this church. [click]

Another day, another waterfall. This one had trails made by the "Hidden Folk" (mid-fall, on right?)! [click]

A beach walk along the south shore yielded a pinniped sighting and other dramatic views. [click]

Bjarnafoss waterfall near Buðir gave us a chance to stretch our legs. [click]

You know you will have a fine sea-cliff walk when the way is lighted by a rainbow! [click]

Remnants of lava tubes that ran into the ocean. [click]

Our clearest view of Snæfellsjökull--of Journey to the Center of the Earth fame. Luckily...[click]

Andesites on basalts--west Snæfellsnes peninsula. [click]

Kirkjufellsfoss. [click]

What's on the menu? Greenland Shark at quirky Bjarnarhöfn. Hákarl is cured (buried. dried, and pickled in Landi, Icelandic Moonshine) before eaten--quickly, with a shot of Landi to decrease the urine taste, which I have yet to acquire. [click]

A rough surface of Aa lava, colonized by moss and other green plants. [click]

A replica of Leif Erikson's sod-sided home, Haukadal, near Breiðafjörður. Leif Erikson Day celebrates his status as the first European to land on the New World, ~1000 CE. [click]

Icelandic horses are pony-sized (13-14 hands), developed from Shetland and Connemara ponies. We watched as pleasure riders put them through their paces at Gauksmýri.

As we slowly drove to Akureyri, home for two nights, we encountered snow at higher elevations. [click]

Goðafoss waterfall (Waterfall of the Gods), still liquid, filled the air with thunderous spray. [click]

Sulfurous air presaged the Námafjall geothermal area, east of Lake Mývatn. [click]

"Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn, and caldron bubble"--mudpots! [click]

The area shares many features with Yellowstone's Geyser Basin. [click]

Shifting winds changed sulfurous plumes--watch were you step and what you breathe! [click]

This mountain splits on the mid-Atlantic ridge, with the North American tectonic plate on one side and the Eurasian plate on the other.

Fearless guide, Beggi, risks a cave-in to retrieve warm water from Grjótagjá. [click]

Dimmuborgir features weird shapes in lava rocks and cliffs, with a few special elves? [click]

Iceland: 323K people (2013), ~450K sheep. The last meal for animals being finished for market is often kale.

Lake Mývatn and basalt incursions. [click]

Pseudocraters on Lake Mývatn, with sheep for scale.

This was a common scene on the road back to Akureyri.

Mountains above Akureyri, under a nearly-full moon. [click]

Next: whale-watching at Dalvik! [click]

A humpback breaches at the end of the rainbow! [click]

After traversing 11.8 KM of tunnels, we arrived in Siglufjörður, our northern-most part of the trip (66° 11' N, < 30 miles from the Arctic Circle). [click]

Siglufjörður's comprehensive Herring Era Museum documents the decline and fall of a fishing industry that built Siglufjörður. Herring girls, packed the barrels of salted herring. [click]

Even this life-sized sculpture would have to stretch to activate the longest waterfall in Siglufjörður! =>

Next: a flight to Reykjavik and a ride to Þingvellir (Iceland's Parliament Plains).

We walked between two tectonic plates--North America on one side, Eurasia on the other. [click]

The drowning pool, capital punishment for women.

Site where the lawgiver settled disputes.

Stokkur erupted on the next Golden Circle stop: Geysir. [click]

Minerals and microorganisms color hot pools at Geysir.

Gulfoss (Golden Falls) cascades down 32 M in two steps to drop into a gorge. [click]

A look up the top drop! Rain and spray combined to drench onlookers. [click]

Just down the road: another waterfall on the Hvita River, with a fish ladder. [click]

Iceland uses much of its geothermal energy to heat greenhouses. [click]

After a night at Selfoss we perused documentation at the Eyjafjallajokull Erupts Visitor Centre. [click]

Eyjafjallajokul's 2010 eruption had many effects. Today, it is much less dramatic! [click]

We walked behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall. [click]

Skógafoss drops 60M. A 527-step staircase leads to the top. [click]

Ron and Marilyn at top of Skógafoss; thanks Jo!

On the south coast, pounding surf breaks basalts into black sands and carves caves into cliffs. [click]

Our leader, Beggi, in his usual pose: looking in awe at the majesty and power of nature. [click]

A peek at Katla, capped by Myrdalsjokull glacier, which we were slated to visit the next day. [click]

Evidence of Katla's explosive power lies in high-silica flows, falls, and floods. [click]

Myrdalsjokull's glacial ice is intermixed with ash from Katla. [click]

This Myrdalsjokull face is over 300' tall. [click]

A wild ride down a black beach returned us to Vik, near our southern-most point on Iceland (63.410° N)

A coating of ice/frost forced cancellation of our planned rafting of the Hvita (slippery!) [click]

Bobby Fischer lies in Selfoss. His queen is down.

Fire and Ice at Skjalftinn, site of Quake 2008. [click]

Across the mountain, the Hellisheiðarvirkjun Geothermal plant separates steam from water, uses the steam to generate power, and sends hot water to Reykjavik for heating. [click]

We returned to Reykjavik for some tall ones! [click]

Even Leifur Eiriksson likes a tall one. [click]

The National Museum of Iceland has exhibits from Viking settlement (drinking horn) to contemporary Iceland. [click]

The Höfði House secured a place in history with the 1986 summit between Reagan and Gorbachev.

Vertiginous view up at Hótel Ísland. [click]

Kiki adds color to a Reykjavik street.

We enjoyed a marvelous farewell meal with our affable, well-traveled, smart and entertaining group members, who enhanced every part of an enchanting trip! Exiting, we thanked Leif.

On the flight home, a pervasive cloud layer broke over a bit of rugged Baffin Island. Bucket list?

Back to Ron's Home Page (with links to other travelogues).