Northern Sights: Reykjavik

Click here to read Northern Sights: Reykjavik at SOAR Halifax

Less than three hours off of the plane and with only a few fitful hours of slumber, I was atop Pila, a member of the unique Icelandic breed of horses, meandering through a lava field. A peace settled over me as I soaked in the outline of ancient volcanoes in the distance and the stark contrast of deep black lava rock, rich green moss, and red and orange brush.

Eager to make the most of our time, my travelling companion and I headed straight from our horseback riding adventure to explore the city of Reykjavik. In a four-hour self-directed walking tour we took in an aerial view of the city, visited the harbour, talked to strangers and learned about Iceland’s history and art.

Day two we awoke before dawn for a 10-hour tour. Gullfoss waterfall, fed by a glacier, is full of twists and cliffs. The river rushes by, turns a bend, drops, then rushes onward again. The Great Geysir is a lesson in the joys of anticipation. The water bubbles and wavers, teasing and tantalizing until finally an eruption that could be missed by a turn of the head bursts to the sky. After eating bread baked from the heat of the earth, we walked along the ridges where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates separate by centimetres each year.

Day three we stopped off at the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. I was hesitant, thinking it’d be too commercialized, but the natural beauty shone through. We swam in milky blue water, the temperature naturally oscillating from lukewarm to scalding and that perfect place in between. Gazing at the mist floating across the water and the lava rock surrounding me I lay back, a silica mud mask on my face, and truly relaxed. What a taste of Iceland!

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