Thursday, August 12, 2010

Our Iceland Saga: Land of Contrasts

One of the contrasts in Iceland that struck us particularly forcefully was the contrast between cold and hot. Much of the island is covered by an icecap and glaciers.

Here a glacier forms the backdrop for a lake.

And here you see it having no impact whatsoever on the sheep grazing in the foreground. ;)

From a distance, a glacier looks like a (somewhat dirty) snow-covered hill.

From up close, however, you can make out the ridges and crevasses.

Co-existing with these icy cold glaciers are abundant quantities of natural hot springs.

Here are some shots of the most famous semi-naturally heated pool - the Blue Lagoon. I say "semi-naturally" because the heated water is actually an output of a geothermal power plant. It's kind of like the super-heated water underground happens to go through a power plant on it's way to heat the water in the pool. So it doesn't actually come straight from the ground, but it's not like fossil fuels are used to artifically heat the water.

The water is generally a little over 100 degrees F. I think that's pretty much perfect - you can enjoy a good long soak without getting over heated.

This hot spring contains a type of silica mud that is supposed to have anti-aging and therapuetic effects on your skin. I know that my skin felt extra soft for a few days after we went in. :)

But it also wrecks havoc with hair! It took several days of using conditioning shampoo before my hair was back to normal. :(

This was kind of funny - a big sign in the lagoon detailing the characteristics of the water stressed that it contained approximately 200 different species of bacteria. But, don't fear, according to the sign, these are NEW bacteria that haven't been found anywhere else!

Now, why doesn't that make me feel better? ;)

Tomorrow's pictures will be from our big adventure day! I'll give you a hint - I got to carry an axe! :)


Summerset said...

Cool! (and Hot!, too, come to think of it.) Would that axe happen to be an ice axe? Did you go ice climbing or trekking on the glaciers? I'm curious now. My husband has an ice axe for winter hiking, and it is something on my list to buy this winter for myself.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Wow!!! Looks wonderful:)

Cindy said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure. What a beautiful place! Very different than we have here in Florida huh :) I'm so happy you got to go there and experience something you always wanted to do.

Hey, I can sign in to leave a comment! - i'm starting to think my kids did something on my google account and that's why I couldn't before.