We had no idea of the beauty that awaited us when we left port in Akureyri, far up the coast of Iceland. We had booked another tour for the day and before we knew it, we were treated to one wonderful sight after another. The “capital of north Iceland” sits on a fjord, and soon we were climbing towards higher ground.
The best way to describe the landscape is gold. It is high season autumn and everything is in the height of color. I could breathe in the color because it was so intense. We learned that our ship was the last of the season and we had come at exactly the right time—cool, no rain, and color.
The moss and lichen were in varying intensities of yellow green, and they grew on the volcanic rocks that poked up from the ground. The grasses were light yellow, and the low brush was gold. Large patches of ground blueberry were scarlet red, and the white-barked birch trees were deep gold. Occasionally, a deep red tree would “disturb” the symmetry of gold. The color swept up the hillsides and down into the valleys. It surrounded the lakes and the streams that were everywhere. The majesty of the color was only broken in the highlands where we rode around active volcanoes. Here, steam vents gave out an eerie feel. Indeed, when we stopped at the geothermal site with boiling mud pots and steam vents, we learned that it was the filming site of the last Star Wars movie. It was surreal as we walked amongst hissing steam rising from the vents and heard the gurgling of the 250*F boiling water and saw the multi-colored hot mud flats. Yes, the smell was surreal as well of pure rotten eggs from the sulphur, known locally as “Icelandic perfume.”
We loved the area around Lake Myvatn, the main filming site for the television series, “Game of Thrones.” Volcanic rock, “Christmas trees,” autumn gold and a beautiful meandering lake through the high hills combined for breathtaking scenes. (NASA also used this area to train astronauts for the lunar landing.) Close by was Godafoss, “waterfall of the gods.” Mighty and thunderous and with baby blue water the broad horse shoe-shaped falls plummeted down into a canyon, and a rushing river careened down the valley with more falls along the way. Volcanic rock protruded from the cliffs and volcanic islands dotted the river. It was a “wow” scene.
Back on the Norwegian Jade, we will see the first evening acrobatics show and then go to sleep with beautiful images of the day dancing in our minds. I may set the alarm so that I can get up to see if the clouds and mists have cleared so that the northern lights can be visible. WEG