Archive for category: Iceland

Iceland Observations

25 Jan
January 25, 2014

Currently working on the printing of photographs from the trip to Iceland which thankfully is an indoor activity here in this freezer-like, snow covered, polar vortex city of Ottawa. Today the temperature here is minus 27C while well north of this location, near the Artic Circle, Reykjavík  is at plus 3C. Interesting that for two months now, the daily temperatures in the land of Fire & Ice remain above, way above – as in more than 20-30 degrees Celsius, what we experience here in Ottawa during winter in this land of snow & cold.

For camera gear on this trip, I used the Canon 5D Mark II with the 24-70 f2.8L and the TS-E 24 f3.5 L II Tilt-Shift lenses almost equally. Least used were the 16-35 f2.8L II and 70-300 f4-5.6 IS lenses. I filled about 80 GB on CF cards which were uploaded each night to a WD My Passport portable hard drive. The use of a tripod with spirit level on your camera and cable release is essential, especially in cold weather.Skyr

Restaurant food is expensive.  Inexpensive meals such as pizza, sandwiches, burgers, etc. are available in bakeries, at N1 and other gas stations. Of course the best food deals are at Subway where a 12-inch sub costs about $11.00 CAD.  Enjoyed eating Skyr which is similar to yogurt and delicious.

October is not a busy period as compared to the summer.  We traveled to areas which were of interest to us and not so popular with other tourists.  We found that Icelanders are friendly & helpful. When traveling the Ring Road around the country, the scenery is breathtaking, everyday.  We did not experience a single problem with my lack of Icelandic language skills, unfortunately limited to Góðan Dag, Takk Fyrir and Bless Bless. For traveling by car, the speed limits are respected by 99% of drivers (nice!). Lots of Toyota Land Cruisers (some with lots of modifications) with price tags starting around $100,000 CAD.  Gas prices in October 2013 were around $2.45/litre.Brennivin

Beer, wine and liquor are expensive and only available at my favourite Icelandic store – Vínbúðin. In some of the smaller towns and especially in the off-season, hours are limited to one hour/day i.e. 17:00 – 18:00. Viking & Gull make an excellent choice for beer.

Brennivin – not sure what you are supposed to do with this but it definitely is an acquired taste!  Brennivín, aka “Black Death”: hard Schnapps made from fermented potato pulp, best swallowed ice-cold and very fast – and try not to grimace!

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Iceland – Small Towns

21 Dec
December 21, 2013

While Reykjavík has its charms, visiting some of the smaller towns provided many of the highlights on the Iceland trip. My favourites were Eyrarbakki, Húsavík, Akureyri and especially Sauðárkrókur.
Búðarstígur 1, Eyrarbakki - SunnuhvollVerslun Guðlaugs Pálssonar, EyrarbakkiGeneral Store, SauðárkrókurKaupfélag Þingeyinga Warehouse, HúsavíkPhotographed using a Canon 5D Mark II camera and a TS-24mm f3.5L II lens.

Iceland – Wooden Churches

15 Nov
November 15, 2013

Most Icelandic churches are humble and beautiful buildings, but more so the wooden structures with some dating to 1703. These wooden churches below are my favourites: Búðir, Laufás, Húsavík, Strandarkirkja and Sauðárkrókur, respectively.Black Church, BúðirChurch at LaufásIMG_8259xStrandarkirkjaSauðárkrókur Church Church in Eyrarbakki

Photographed using a Canon 5D Mark II camera and a TS-24mm f3.5L II lens.

Iceland Reykjavík

30 Oct
October 30, 2013

On the final days of our trip to Iceland, we visited some of the more familiar sights in Reykjavík.HallgrímskirkjaHallgrímskirkja (church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran or Church of Iceland parish church.  With a height of 73 metres (244 ft), it is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland.  The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

HallgrímskirkjaState Architect Guðjón Samúelsson’s design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape.It took 38 years to build the church. Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986, the landmark tower being completed long before the church’s actual completion.  Situated in the centre of Reykjavík, it is one of the city’s best-known landmarks and is visible throughout the city.SólfarSólfar or the Sun Voyager is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931 – 1989). Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. The sculpture is located by Sæbraut, by the sea in the centre of Reykjavík.
HarpaHarpa is a concert hall and conference centre. The asymmetrical structure was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours.  The huge opera house was built with funds from private investors, but only until 2008, when the financial crisis halted all construction. The government took over the project and completed it in 2010.
HarpaViews from inside all of that glass are stunning especially on this bright and sunny day and our last day in Iceland. Later, we headed for Keflavik airport and our flights to Toronto & Ottawa.