Iceland is freakin’ gorgeous

DSCF0889 As promised, after yesterday’s stupid Twitter pics, I thought I’d share some of my better photos from our Iceland trip. These are all nature shots, because frankly, this island is gorgeous and it’s the best thing to share with you since I can’t shove Icelandic food through the Internet for you to try.

Iceland is volcanic, and it’s also being pulled apart by the North American and European tectonic plates. So you have mountains and volcanoes and geothermal goodness, along with some beautiful springs and falls and streams.

What you don’t have is trees. Before the island was settled around 870 A.D., it was much more forested. A millennium of settlement, along with the need for shelter and warmth, pretty much decimated the forests. They’re working on reforesting the place, but it’s going to take time. Right now, most forests are barely taller than I am. A common joke here goes:

“What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?”

“Stand up!”

Anyway, it’s a gorgeous place. And without further commentary, here’s some pretty pictures. 

A replica of an ancient church on the grounds of Skaholt Cathedral.

A replica of an ancient church on the grounds of Skaholt Cathedral.

Geothermal activity near the aptly named Geysir.

Geothermal activity near the aptly named Geysir.

Strokkur geyser, pre-eruption.

Strokkur geyser, pre-eruption.

Strokker again, this time in mid-eruption, caught by the Official Daedalus Series Photographer, Anna Martinez.

Strokker again, this time in mid-eruption. This photo was taken by the Official Daedalus Series Photographer, Anna Martinez, aka my kid.

Gullfoss, Iceland's preeminent waterfall.

Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls.

Þingvellir National Park, where Iceland's first parliament met in 930.

Þingvellir National Park, where Iceland’s first parliament met in 930 AD.

Also at Þingvellir, just a very cool wall of rocks and mossy stuff.

Also at Þingvellir, a very cool wall of rocks and mossy stuff.

We hit the road Sunday on our own. This puts the vast majority of scenic drives to shame.

We hit the road Sunday on our own. This puts the vast majority of scenic drives to shame.

After a 45-minute hike, we arrived at Glymur Falls. Couldn't get too much closer, but it was very pretty.

After a 45-minute hike, we arrived at Glymur Falls. Couldn’t get too much closer, but it was very pretty.

Viewing Glymur through a  cave inside a cliff-face on the trail. The daughter was thrilled to go cave exploring.

Viewing Glymur through a cave inside a cliff-face on the trail. Our daughter was thrilled to go cave exploring.

And there you have it. I would say this trip was a resounding success for all involved. Kate found the Iceland Writers Retreat to be very much worthwhile, and the retreat organizers had the wonderful foresight to make arrangements for spouses and kids to come along for the fun stuff, like receptions at City Hall and the President’s house, literary events and sightseeing. The writers out there might want to check out next year’s retreat, and pretty much everybody who can afford it should think about making their way up here. Iceland is a remarkable place.

3 Comments

Filed under Travel

3 responses to “Iceland is freakin’ gorgeous

  1. Wow. Thanks a lot for sharing these, Mike!

  2. Interesting photos. :) Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Whoa. Okay, I officially want to go there.

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