Thursday, 29 December 2016

My trip to Iceland — Part B Day 1 in Reykjavik


I got out of the Reykjavik airport and waited for a bus to take me to the Blue Lagoon near Grindavik (vik may be from old Norse meaning inlet or small bay – something to do with Vikings??).  I had already called and made reservation otherwise they don’t let you come in and it is very busy this time of the year.  The large man-made Blue Lagoon is geothermally heated.  It is about 3-5 feet deep and you can walk around in the hot water slowly sipping on a beverage of choice.  The lagoon contains 9 million liters of water. 

The geothermal water originates 2,000 meters below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities.

On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals. When the water emerges, its temperature is generally between 37°C and 40°C (98-104°F). The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals.

The blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. During summer there can also be a hint of green in the water. This is the result of the algae, which multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight.

I checked into the Blue Lagoon.  They gave me a locker for my suitcase and another one for my clothes for change.  Then I walked into the beautiful blue lagoon full of hot water.  Steam from the lagoon was rising under the Sun presenting a marvelous and mysterious spectacle from out of the world.

The Blue Lagoon was a totally unique and wonderful spa experience.  I doubt that there are many places like this around the world. 

Everybody was in their swimsuit and having a relaxing time.  I stayed immersed in water for an hour. I put silica mud on my face and it was very soothing.  My jet lag left in a hurry. 

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Dr Ron Virmani- MY TRIP TO ICELAND — PART A



I started my New Year 2016 with a Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After that, there was hiking in Patagonia,  and at the Southernmost tip of the world - Ushuaia where I spent some time watching cute Penguins.  Then I visited the .

My next trip was to Peru and Machu Picchu.  I did some hiking there too.

Wanting to go to the other end of the world, I booked my next trip to Iceland.   Everybody wants to see the Northern lights.  However, they are only visible when the sky is dark.  Because the Sun barely sets in Iceland in summertime (Iceland is called the land of the midnight Sun), you can’t see the Northern lights in summer.

But the winter in Iceland would be too chilly for me.  I believe that the summer is the best time to visit Iceland.  The landscape is lush green and the days are long.  It is perfect for many activities such as hiking, diving, glacier trekking, whale watching etc.

So I planned an August tour to Iceland.  It is part of high season, so the prices are high and crowds are big, just for information.  Also, I found that Icelandic language is quite hard to read and deal with.  It was a bit easier to read Cyrillic when I was in Russia a few years ago.  Even though I jogged in the Red Square and saw a ballet in Kremlin, I did not meet Putin.

I flew from Charlotte to Minneapolis in the afternoon.  Then on to Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) on an overnight flight.

Iceland is a Nordic island country in North Atlantic ocean.  It has a population of only 330,000 and an area of 40,000 sq mi, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe.  Iceland was formed 20 million years ago by volcanic eruptions and is still volcanically and geologically active.  The interior consists of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands.

Geologically, Iceland is part of the mid-Atlantic ridge which marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American plates.  Iceland has 10,000 waterfalls.

Irish monks were in Iceland before it was settled by Norwegians in 874.  It became a Christian country around 1000.  Iceland was under Norwegian and Danish kings at later dates.  It became independent from Denmark in 1944.

Iceland is not part of European Union and has its own currency – Icelandic Krona.  One USD equals about 100 ISK.

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