By Frederic Friedel
Iceland is an island, around 100,000 sq km (40,000 sq mi) in size, located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It sits on a volcanic hotspot on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and my geologist wife had it on her bucket list. She convinced me to join her on a fairly luxurious round trip, and we spent a week circling the island, clockwise, on the Ring Road N1. You can read part one of my report here.
The Ring Road connects all the inhabited parts of the island and passes the most interesting geological places. It involved long rides in the bus along sometimes adventurous highways, past (literally) a hundred volcanoes. Click on the pictures in this report to see them in larger size — and wait a second or two for them to resolve.
Our tour guide was Roswitha, a German lady who provided us with full information on the geology, language, culture and traditions on the road segments of the trip. She planned all the stops, with constant attention to the weather, which in Iceland is very capricious. A popular t-shirt reads: “Welcome to Iceland — if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes…” Roswitha was constantly checking her smart phone and adjusting our itinerary accordingly. She did an excellent job, and many thanks for that.
You get on an amphibian car to visit the icebergs. It was touch and go for us: the temperature was 5°C, and there was a constant drizzle. But the wind was calm enough for us to embark on this marvelous expedition.
This is a stop you mustn’t miss. Petra María Ljósbjörg, was born in 1922 in a tiny traditional farmhouse. As a child she fell seriously ill, for a whole year, but pulled through and grew up to be a very tough, industrious and stubborn girl — with a passion for beautiful stones. Petra, who has now passed, was a collector and a naturalist — you can read all about her in the Steinapetra web site.
This is the second of a three-part series on Iceland. The final section will feature waterfalls (Niagara, Schmiagara), geysers, lagoons and — puffins!
I would like to mention, again, that on our first evening in the capital Reykjavik we explored the location of the chess Match of the Century, between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, which happened almost exactly forty-five years ago. I am writing up reports commentating this great event. This is the first part, and this the second — more will follow in the series, each article appearing 45 years to the day after the events took place.