Iceland is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power.
We visited Reykjavik and Akureyri (in the north of the country) on a Celebrity (Reflection) cruise in June 2019. We were lucky to get three sunny days, albeit a little cool and windy.
We crossed the Arctic Circle.
These pictures were taken as Celebrity Reflection approached Reykjavik. The clear, blue skies make for stunning pictures.
Yes, that's REAL grass.
Benedikt Gröndal was a great man in his time, and he can be called an impressive representative of the nineteenth century as well as the house that he is taught.
Benedikt was a poet, naturalist, visual artist and teacher.
Skútustaðagígar pseudo craters were formed by gas explosions when boiling lava flowed over the wetlands. The craters are a popular site for birdwatchers and are protected as a natural wetlands conservation area.
A geothermal power plant.
Geothermal power is power generated by geothermal energy.
Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. .
Akureyri is the largest town in Iceland outside of Reykjavik. Most rural towns are based on the fishing industry, which provides 40% of Iceland's exports.
The area where Akureyri is located was settled in the 9th century but did not receive a municipal charter until 1786.
The town was the site of Allied units during WW II.
Further growth occurred after the war as the Icelandic population increasingly moved to urban areas.
The area has a relatively mild climate because of geographical factors, and the town's ice-free harbor has played a significant role in its history.
The Goðafoss or "waterfall of the gods" is located in the Baroardalur .district of Northeaster Region at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road. The water falls from a height of 12 metres over a width of 30 metres.
The river has its origin deep in the Icelandic highland and runs from the highland through the Bárðardalur valley, from Sprengisandur in the Highlands.
In the year 999 or 1000 they made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. According to a modern myth, it is said that upon returning from the Albing, Porgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.
A window the Cathedral of Akureyri, illustrates this story.
MS Goðafoss, an Icelandic ship named after the waterfall, used to transport both freight and passengers. It was sunk by a German U-Boat in World War II, resulting in great loss of life.
The only native land mammal when humans arrived was the Arctic fox. which came to the island at the end of the ice age, walking over the frozen sea. On rare occasions, bats have been carried to the island with the winds, but they are not able to breed there. Polar Bears occasionally come over from Greenland, but they are just visitors, and no Icelandic populations exist. No native or free-living reptiles or amphibians are on the island.
The animals of Iceland include the Icelandic sheep, cattle, chickens, goats, the Icelandic horse and Sheepdog, all descendants of animals imported by Europeans.
Wild mammals include the Arctic fox, mink, mice, rats, rabbits, and reindeer.
Polar bears occasionally visit the island, travelling on icebergs from Greenland.