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Exploring the Wonders of Iceland With My Teenage Grandson
What was the summer weather like?

When you hear the word Iceland one automatically thinks freezing cold. That is generally not the case during the summer. Most days we experienced were like late fall days in New York, Montreal or London (about 10 or 11°C/50°F.) The problem with the weather is its changeability; one minute you are basking in the sun and the next it's raining and you are being blown about by very strong winds. The trick is to have three layers available with you - (1) a thermal long sleeve t-shirt (2) a fleece (3) a windproof, waterproof jacket and then you are ready for all eventualities. When it rained Josh wore his lined, multi-pocket travel jacket from Global Travel Clothing and it kept him warm and dry. Good waterproof hiking shoes are a must as well! Inside the bus and in all the hotels it was comfortable enough to peel down to just one layer. Being a good Journeywoman I always carried a shawl in my backpack.

P.S. Having the same bus with us all of the time spoilt us silly. There was no shlepping of extra jackets or backpacks when they weren't needed. We just left everything on the vehicle which was never left unattended.


What did we see and do?

If you are a photographer and/or a lover of landscapes and geology this itinerary is absolutely perfect for you. In eight days we travelled the Golden two-lane Ring Road that took us completely around the island. We were shown the best examples of Iceland's natural wonders - colossal, gushing waterfalls like Gullfoss, the Icelandic equivalent of Niagara Falls (it produces 200 tons of water per second). We drove through the sand desert of Modrudal; we were shown glaciers, luminous blue icebergs (where scenes for two James Bond movies were shot).

Remember the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010 and for six days caused havoc to air travel across parts of Europe? We were able to see it in the distance and it is perfectly quiet now (though our guide explained that one quarter of Iceland is an active volcano zone). We walked along beaches and got up close and personal with green moss growing on the surface of huge lava fields. Some days a multitude of wild flowers including bright red poppies dotted the landscape. At Geysir I photographed my grandson, Josh amidst the vapors erupting from underground hot springs. The smell of sulphur permeated the air but none of us really cared. We were too busy taking pictures. We saw a herd of wild reindeer; we petted Icelandic horses with their long manes and handsome faces. We drove past a river that teems with salmon; celebrities like David Beckham are reputed to pay $2000 per day for the privilege to fish there. Throughout, I couldn't help but marvel at the intricate workmanship in the icelandic sweaters on sale everywhere we went.

In Reyjkavik's Botanical Gardens we were able to see an ancient pagan burial mound. Our bus made a stop to examine sod houses of long ago. It took us to Thingvellir where the American and European tectonic plates meet. One evening Josh skipped stones on a lake near our hotel. It was past ten but he could still see what he was doing because Icelandic summers remain light all night.

From the beginning of our journey to the end, each day was filled with new and interesting things to see and hear about. This route was an absolutely excellent introduction to Iceland, a multi-level sampling of what the country has to offer. Best of all? I got to enjoy all of this raw beauty alongside my grandson. I know that I'd go back in a minute, and Josh can't wait to be old enough to backpack this route with his own nature loving pals. P.S. You can see the full itinerary here. Note that there will ample time in your schedule for optional tours to the Blue Lagoon one day and/or to cruise amidst the icebergs on another. Both interesting and great fun to do.

   

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