A Travellerspoint blog

Iceland

Munich and the Rhine

Keflavik

semi-overcast 41 °F

As a result of an accident at Keflavik, Iceland airport, we were three hours delayed in Amsterdam, and missed out connecting flight to the US. Figuring that this was going to happen, I booked a wonderful 4 star hotel in the little village of Keflavik, only about 5 miles from the airport. Like most all of Iceland, the town is totally heated by a nearby geothermal plant that pumps hot water to virtually every building in the town and surrounding area.

Founded in the 16th century, Keflavík developed on account of its fishing and fish processing industry, founded by Scottish entrepreneurs and engineers. Later its growth continued from flight operations at the Keflavík International Airport which was built by the US during the 1940s. The airport used to hold a significant NATO military base and was a vital pre-jet refueling stop for trans-Atlantic commercial air traffic. It now serves as Iceland's main international hub. During World War II the military airfield served as a refueling and transit depot. During the Cold War, Naval Air Station Keflavik played an important role in monitoring marine and submarine traffic from the Norwegian and Greenland Seas into the Atlantic Ocean. Forces from the United States Air Force were added to provide radar monitoring, fighter intercept, in-flight refueling, and aerial/marine rescue. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the base's role was cast into doubt. The base officially closed on 30 September 2006, when the United States withdrew the remaining 30 military personnel. In Iceland, Keflavík was renowned as a rich source of musicians during the 1960s and 70s, and is therefore also known as bítlabærinn or "The Beatle Town".

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Posted by rpickett 03:34 Archived in Iceland Tagged keflavik Comments (0)

Around Iceland

Photo Album

My photo album of our wonderful Iceland trip is complete!

Click Iceland to view the album!

Posted by rpickett 08:08 Archived in Iceland Tagged photo album Comments (0)

Around Iceland

Sailaway and Reykjavik

sunny 60 °F

After our final port call, we went topside to witness the Windstar Signature sailaway party. It's a ceremony created for their sailing ships, that they implemented on their motor ships. The next morning we headed out on a city tour of Reykjavik to kill some time before our late afternoon flight. We got a great view of the city from the Pearl observation tower, visited the President's residence, had lunch at the Viking museum which housed an exact replica of a Viking sailing ship the would have sailed to North America. This one actually did!. After lunch we visited the "Bridge across two continents" which is a tectonic plate line between the North American Plate and the European Plate. Pretty neat.

Iceland is now one of my favorite countries in the world. Wonderfully scenic with great warm and friendly people. I doubt this will be my last visit!

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Posted by rpickett 08:43 Archived in Iceland Tagged reykjavik Comments (0)

Around Iceland

Grundarfjordur

sunny 60 °F

We anchored out at our final port of call Grundarfjordur on a beautiful cloudless day - a fitting last day of the cruise.

Grundarfjörður is a small town, situated in the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. It is situated between a mountain range and the sea. The nearby mountain Kirkjufell forms a small peninsula. The town received the right to do commerce in 1786. Around 1800, French merchants came to Iceland and lived in Grundarfjörður, where they constructed a church and a hospital of their own. The town has become rich through the fishing industry, and this wealth shows in the style of the original, luxurious houses being built.

The road to nearby Stykkishólmur crosses a big lava field, called Berserkjahraun. The name of the lava field comes from the Eyrbyggja saga, according to which two Berserkers were slain here by their master, because one of them fell in love with his master's daughter.

Our excursion today was to Stykkishólmur where we boarded a boat to go birdwatching at the nearby islands, and sample some 'sushi' or fresh bay scallops pulled out of the sea in front of us. The scallops were exceptionally sweet and tender, having been out of the water for only a few minutes.

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Posted by rpickett 10:40 Archived in Iceland Tagged grundarfjordur Comments (0)

Around Iceland

Isafjordur

overcast 55 °F

Today's destination was Isafjuordur - a quiet little town. With a population of about 2,600, Ísafjörður is the largest town in the peninsula of Vestfirðir (Westfjords) and the seat of the Ísafjarðarbær municipality, which includes the nearby Hnífsdalur, Flateyri, Suðureyri, and Þingeyri. It is located on a spit of sand, or eyri, in Skutulsfjörður, a fjord which meets the waters of the larger Ísafjarðardjúp. According to the Landnámabók (the book of settlement), Skutulsfjördur was first settled by Helgi Magri Hrólfsson in the 9th century. In the 16th century, the town grew as it became a trading post for foreign merchants. Witch trials were common around the same time throughout the Westfjords, and many people were banished to the nearby peninsula of Hornstrandir, now a national nature reserve. The town of Ísafjörður was granted municipal status in 1786.

For our excursion today, we boarded a boat and took about an hour ride to Glacier Fjord and an old early 20th century town that has since been abandoned. It really gave us an opportunity to see some pristine Icelandic countryside. Before we landed we sailed by and old whaling then herring factory.

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Posted by rpickett 03:30 Archived in Iceland Tagged isafjordur Comments (0)

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