Iceland Land of fire and ice

We arrived in Reykjavik early in the morning. The day before, the city was slammed with the heaviest snowfall since 1935 which meant that the roads were filled with snow and ice. Glenda had to go to US Embassy to see if she could get her passport renewed. Despite careful preparations, Glenda realized that, even though her Chilean passport was current, her US passport had expired. Since she has dual citizenship, she is able travel out of the country but we worried that getting back into the US would be a problem. I had helpfully offered to come back to feed the dogs if she got stuck in immigration at the Seattle airport (needless to say, this humor wasn't appreciated). A quick internet search showed that she could get an emergency passport in the capital. We found the embassy in the snow and were told we had to make an appointment to have this done. Luckily, since John frequently travels internationally, he had strongly advised us to get cell/internet coverage before leaving the US (this made communication possible overseas).

Downtown Reykjavik
Citywalk tour in downtown. Before starting the tour, the guide asked if there were any Americans in the crowd. When some people said yes, he laughed and said "ok then, there is ice on the ground and you may slip so the tour is 'at your own risk'". I guess Americans have a reputation for being litigious.

Our guide attempts to teach us a few words in Icelandic. It is a very difficult language to learn but it is thought to be one of the purest languages in Scandinavia and has changed little since the 12th century. Modern readers can read ancient texts. I found a link below which reflected what the guide told us and what we read in the National Museum of Iceland.

Walking home from the mall, Glenda and I ran into 2 people and asked them directions. It turns out that the two were from South America. As soon as Glenda found out that one of them was from Chile, they both hugged each other as if they were long lost friends.
Northern lights. This picture was taken right outside our window. The conditions have to be suitable for Northern lights. Usually it has to be very cold. Some people go outside of the capital where there's less likely to be light pollution. I had thought the lights would be up most of the night with but they only showed up briefly for 20 minutes at the most. It was freezing cold and my hands went numb when trying to take a picture. There are websites and apps that predict the possibility of Northern lights and usually the local papers will have information. On the last night we were there, the city lights in downtown Reykjavik were turned off for 2 hours so people could see the Northern lights.
Northern lights
Neighborhood coffeehouse. Coffee was very strong which was great! The name of the coffee house is also the name of the neighborhood where we stayed. One thing that was interesting was that a lot of the coffee shops had vinyl records and turntables. Sometimes we'd see an iPad playing music right next to a turntable.

Reykjavik from church, you can see the shadow of the spire in the foreground

Here is the bridge to get home. We stayed a 20 minute walk from downtown.

Walking home from the local supermarket market. Food can be somewhat expensive so we cooked the majority of our meals in the AirBnB.

In the background, locals would walk or play sports on the ice. We saw a group of kids playing soccer and they would slip, get up and keep playing

When Icelandic teenagers want to be "rebellious", they don't dress appropriately for the sub-freezing weather. We saw one teenager walking on the ice with a sock on one foot while the other foot was bare.

Ash Wednesday. Young children go into stores to sing for candy. Glenda took a picture of these children right after they'd come into the coffee shop. They dressed up in Dunkin Donut costumes in this photo.

View from our Air BnB in southern Iceland. We stayed on a horse ranch.

Sunset from our window

Selfalandafoss . To the right, you can see the ice covered stairway leading to path behind the waterfall. People were slipping and sliding down the stairs but they kept going up. This is the famous waterfall that you see in most pictures from Iceland. Of course, magazine pictures are taken in summer, but, since we are "off-season travelers" we saw everything covered in ice. Still there were lots of people coming to see the falls.
Skagafoss falls.

Famous black sand beach in Vik, most southern point in Iceland. This is view looking west, most published travel photos are from the beach to the right looking east.

It was very, very cold and windy (we almost thought we were back on a beach in Northern California).

Icelandic ponies and sheep. Icelandic wool is very popular throughout the world but super expensive. By the way, Icelandic ponies love cookies and after Glenda gave one a small piece of a cookie, it followed her around.
Gulfoss Falls. "Foss" means waterfall in Icelandic
Gulfoss falls

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