Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chillin' in Iceland in the Summer

At 66 degrees latitude, the northern most point in Iceland just grazes the Arctic Circle. This August, Alex ended his summer of fun with a trip to this cold, but beautiful country of Vikings, trolls and volcanoes.

There are roughly 310,000 Icelanders and most of them live in the Capital City of Reykjavik, but another million people visit the county annually. At any given time during the summer months, tourists are likely to outnumber the locals. By August, fall has set in and the summer temperatures that had soared to the low 60s have turned chilly with windy and rainy days.

Geologically, Iceland is undergoing processes now that the rest of planet Earth underwent 10 million years ago. About a tenth of island is permanently covered in ice with many of its highest mountains active volcanoes capped by glaciers. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge actually runs right through the middle of the country and divides the country into two continents. So while Iceland is the westernmost country in Europe, Alex ran across the bridge connecting the two ridges with one foot in North America and the other in Europe. The ridge is separating at 2 cm annually.

Reykjavik Excursions will charge you premium prices, but a day’s drive from city will bring you to the gorgeous Gullfoss waterfall, 10,000 year-old rock lava formations, craters now filled with water to form small lakes, boiling mud pools and bursting geysers.