Tag Archives: Iceland

3 August 2019:
Seyðisfjörður, Iceland:
Trapped in a Pearl Shell

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have rounded the top of Iceland and reached Seyðisfjörður on the east coast, one of Iceland’s most picturesque towns with a collection of 19th century wooden homes, surrounded by beautiful nature.

Poet Matthías Johannessen called Seyðisfjörður a “pearl enclosed in a shell.”

It exists because of its protected harbor established by foreign merchants, mostly from Denmark. It’s a small town of about 665 people, spread across 82 square miles or 213 square kilometers.

The town sits at the end of the fjord. A road over a mountain connects to the rest of Iceland, about 17 miles to the Ring Road.

Here’s what we saw today, on a beautiful (and scarily warm day) in town and up and over in the central valley.

Seyðisfjörður was one of many places used by British and American forces during World War II and some of the elements of the bases can be seen around the fjord,including a disused landing strip.

And this was one of the few places that saw actual combat, or at least an attack, during World War 2. On February 10, 1944, the British oil tanker El Grillo, at anchor in the harbor was attacked, by three German FW-200 Condor bombers flying from occupied Norway.

The captain chose to scuttle the ship, still laden with bunker oil and defensive weapons. El Grillo, Spanish for The Cricket, is still on the bottom. It was not until 2002 that most of the remaining oil and its weapons were removed. Today it is one of the most popular dive sites in Iceland.

A popular restaurant in Seyðisfjörður—one of only a few in town, but nevertheless said to be one of the best outside of Reykjavik—is called Kaffi Lara, and within it is the El Grillo bar. And they offer a craft beer named after the sunken tanker.

Every week the car ferry MS Norröna of the Smyril Line comes to Seyðisfjörður from Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Which brings us to murder and mayhem. In 2015 the Icelandic television series “Trapped” was set in the town, and partially filmed there.

A very engaging, low-key murder mystery, the show begins when a partial corpse is found in the harbor as the ferry arrives. Across ten episodes we come to know the intense, tormented police chief and his small staff, and also what seems like almost every other resident of town.

The cold and wild winter of Iceland is essentially another character, as a powerful storm cuts off the town from Reykjavik.

The TV series stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, a hulking teddy bear of a man who has become Iceland’s unofficial and unlikely hunk. Olafur Darri was born in Connecticut in the United States, but moved to his family’s home country of Iceland and has become the nation’s best-known actor in films and on stage.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

2 August 2019:
Akureyri, Iceland:
Small Town Big Island

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Akureyri would be a small town of little note almost anywhere else, but here in Iceland its population of about 18,860 makes it the fourth settlement in the country, and numbers two and three are part of the capital district of Reykjavik.

They’ve got a golf course, a bowling alley, a ski hill, a shopping mall with 35 stores, and a police force of about five officers. Oh, and Vífilfell, the largest brewery in Iceland, with about a 30 percent market share nationally, mostly for its Viking beer. Skál fyrir pér! Cheers.

Its ice-free harbor has supported its economy back to ancient times for fishing and trade.

Akureyri’s architecture shows strong influence from Denmark. Seasonal residents were here in the 9th century, but permanent settlement by 12 rugged people started in 1778. In modern times, fishing and tourism support the town.

The morning was foggy and dark; we went for a visit to Godafoss, a substantial waterfall fed by snow melt from the huge glacier on the east side of Island.

Godafoss today
Painting with light, on a dark morning at Godafoss

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

1 August 2019:
Ísafjörður, Iceland:
The Ring Road by Sea

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Sailing out of the capital city of Reykjavik, we’re off on a partial circumnavigation of Iceland and from there to the islands of Faroe, Shetland, Orkney, and the United Kingdom.

Ísafjörður, the Ice Fjord, is the furthest north port we will visit on this cruise, at 66 degrees 4 minutes North, 23 degrees 7 minutes West. That is just 55 kilometers or 34 miles below the Arctic Circle.

It’s a pretty small town—most places in Iceland are—with a population of about 2,559 close friends and sisters, cousins, and aunts.

We arrived this morning to a glorious day under blue skies and a warm sun. Here is some of Ísafjörður without the ice:

Silver Wind at the dock
All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved 2019.

Vigur Island and The Birds

I went with a group of guests on a boat trip deeper into the fjord to visit Vigur Island, a privately owned speck of land that is home to three families…and tens of thousands of birds.

We saw puffins and guillemots and eider ducks, who were quite well behaved. And then there were the terns, who don’t much like people or other birds; they are very protective of their nests. It was straight out of a scene from The Birds.

Alfred Hitchcock (and British author Daphne du Maurier, who wrote the novelette on which that great movie was based) would have been delighted, or terrified, or both.

Vigur Island
A well-behaved puffin, posing for us
And a pair of zealously protective terns coming in for a strafing run

We will cross the Arctic Circle—while at sea—on Thursday night after we depart Ísafjörður, and then drop below it to Akureyri. After we leave Akureyri we will go back into the Arctic for a few hours as we round the northeast corner of Iceland early Saturday morning.

A month from now, our plan calls for us to cross back over from London to the east side of Iceland and then to Reykjavik. In doing so, we will have accomplished an aqueous circle of Iceland.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

31 July 2019:
Reykjavik, Iceland:
Back on the Island

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard.

We are back on Silver Wind for a series of loops that will begin in Iceland, which is an anglicized version of the Icelandic name, Island.

There is ice in Iceland, up in the glaciers and snowfields year-round and most everywhere in winter. But in summer, it is a very green, very large island, the second largest island of Europe after Great Britain.

It is also a hot place, in places. At the place called Geysir–the source of the word geyser–people come from around the world to wait for eruption of a plume of water. Elsewhere on the island of Iceland, people wait for or watch for or hope to avoid the fairly regular eruptions of the many significant volcanoes.

A bit less dramatic, but an easy close-up thrill, is a visit to Geysir to see the geysers. They burst forth every few minutes, starting with a little burp and then rising to a hot fountain. Each time is slightly different from the one before, and so we all stand there for a few dozen episodes.

We leave the capital city of Reykjavik tonight and make three stops along the coast of Iceland before heading east on our tour of islands to visit Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, then Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, and then to the United Kingdom to visit Edinburgh, Scotland.

The last scheduled port of call on this cruise is London, and we are due to arrive late at night at the capital city and sail through the Tower Bridge.

I hope you’ll join me here. Here’s our plan:

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

8 July 2018:
Seyðisfjörður, Iceland:
Feeling Trapped?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have rounded the corner at the top of Iceland to Seyðisfjörður on the east coast, one of Iceland’s most picturesque towns with a collection of 19th century wooden homes, surrounded by beautiful nature.

Poet Matthías Johannessen called Seyðisfjörður a “pearl enclosed in a shell.”

It exists because of its protected harbor,

It’s a small town of about 665 people, spread across 82 square miles or 213 square kilometers although most near the harbor.

Silver Wind at the dock today.

Settlement here traces back to the early period of settlement in Iceland. The burned down ruin of a stave church nearby has been carbon-dated to the 10th century, with earlier graves from the 8th century.

The modern history of the town began in 1848, with settlement by Norwegian fisherman.

I went with guests on a tour of the highlands. It is almost impossible to point a camera anywhere in Iceland and not come away with a good photo. Here is some of what I saw:

Photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

MURDER, THEY WROTE

Every week the car ferry MS Norröna of the Smyril Line comes to Seyðisfjörður from Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Which brings us to murder and mayhem, at least in fiction.

In 2015 the Icelandic television series “Trapped” was set in the town, and was partially filmed there.

“Trapped” is a very engaging, low-key murder mystery that focuses on a partial corpse found in the harbor as the ferry arrives. Across ten episodes we come to know the intense, tormented police chief and his small staff, and also what seems like almost every other resident of town.

The TV series stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, a hulking teddy bear of a man who has become Iceland’s unofficial and unlikely hunk. Olafur Darri was born in Connecticut in the United States, but moved to his family’s home country of Iceland and has become the nation’s best-known actor in films and on stage.

Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

7 July 2018:
Akureyri, Iceland:
The Second City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Akureyri would be a small town of little note almost anywhere else, but here in Iceland its population of about 18,191 makes it the second largest urban area in the country, behind only the capital district of Reykjavik.

They’ve got a golf course, a bowling alley, a ski hill, a shopping mall with 35 stores, and a police force of about five officers.

Most importantly, it has an ice-free harbor which has been the source of its economy back to ancient times for fishing and trade.

Here is a bit what we saw today in ever-amazing Iceland:

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Akureyri’s architecture shows strong influence from Denmark.

If you are a fan of the Belgian-French book series, “The Adventures of Tintin” you will be thrilled to realize that in the tenth volume, “The Shooting Star”, the ship Aurora stops at Akureyri.

And now us.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

6 July 2018:
Ísafjörður, Iceland:
The Ring Road by Ship

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Every year, thousands of people arrive in Reykjavik to drive the Ring Road, the only route that circles the island. It is 1,332 kilometers or 830 miles, mostly paved…of mountain passes, coastal chicanes, barren deserts of lava, huge glaciers, spouting geysers, and volcanoes at almost every turn.

The road was only completed in 1974, tying together some bits and pieces built during World War 2, and other stretches that date back many centuries.

It’s not easily accomplished— conditions are not often anywhere near perfect. There are not all that many places to stay, and as far as I am aware, the dormitory-like hotels do not come with a butler and room service.

We are setting out on our own version of the Ring Road, by sea, in great luxury.

Our first port of call as we head clockwise is Ísafjörður, the Ice Fjord, which is the northernmost place we will visit on this cruise, at 66 degrees 4 minutes North, 23 degrees 7 minutes West.

That is just 55 kilometers or 34 miles below the Arctic Circle. We will cross the circle—while at sea—after we depart Ísafjörður, and then drop below it to Akureyri.

Ísafjörður is a pretty small town—most places in Iceland are—with a population of about 2,559 close friends and sisters, cousins, and aunts.

Here are some photos I took today, once again under a startlingly blue sky and relatively moderate temperatures for which we are all grateful and more than a little bit surprised.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

4-5 July 2018:
Reykjavik, Iceland:
A Hot Place with a Cold Name

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have made it to the always surprising city of Reykjavik, the capital of the island nation of Iceland.

Iceland is a hot place with what seems like a cold name.

To those guests leaving us here in the middle of the North Atlantic, I wish you safe travels until we meet again. To those joining us, welcome aboard.

We’re going to make a circle of the Ring Road, by ship, and then onward to the Shetland and Orkney islands, then eventually back to London.

Here’s our plan for the next voyage:

When we arrived, I went on a tour with guests on the Golden Circle, a tour that includes samples of much of the wonders of Iceland. The sun broke through as we arrived at Geysir, the source of the word geyser.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Let’s get something out of the way right at the start: Iceland in the English sense is a misunderstanding of the Icelandic name of the country.

The proper name of the place is Ísland, which does not mean a land covered with ice. It simply means “Island.”

I said Iceland is hot. There are hot springs and geysers, many active volcanoes, and lava fields cover much of the land.

And when it does get cold, the majority of the nation’s heating comes from geothermal sources, piped hot water that directly or indirectly heats homes and buildings.

Why is Iceland hot?

In Geologic terms, it sits directly on the rift between the Eurasian and North American plates. Half the country is heading east and the other wants to go west.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge moves about 2.5 centimeters or 1 inch per year; that doesn’t sound like much but we’re talking about a huge amount of rock pushing and grinding almost constantly.

The hotspot in that plume funnels hot stuff from the interior of the planet, which formed the island about 16 to 18 million years ago.

Iceland has 30 active volcanic systems, of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in 874.

The combination of the plume and the moving plates brings volcanos, hot springs, geysers…and tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

3 July 2018:
Djupivogur, Iceland:
Arriving in Europe’s Wild West

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The nation of Iceland is a large island with a pretty small population: about 332,500 people spread over 40,000 square miles or 103,000 square kilometers.

The westernmost country of Europe, Iceland is also the most sparsely populated country of Europe.

Our first port of call is a fairly large town, with a tiny population: 437 square miles, or 1,133 square kilometers, with about 456 residents when everyone is home.

Silver Wind, our lovely small ship, will more than double the local population when our guests and crew arrive.

Vatnajökull

On this trip I went to the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest (by volume) glacier in Europe, covering about 10 percent of the nation of Iceland.

I wish I could tell you of grand views, but we were engulfed in fog all day. But the vastness of the glacier was all around us.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos by Corey Sandler 2018, all rights reserved

The Norse and the Vikings get most of the publicity, but they were most likely not the first settlers of Iceland.

It is pretty clear that the first outsiders to set up habitation on this cold and bleak island were Irish monks, probably about the year 795, according to an Irish scribe named Dicuil.

The Irish came over from the Faroe islands.

But these monks don’t get the credit as first settlers, because they were, you know, monks. Celibate. Monastic. Monks.

No wives, no children, no offspring. That’s the story, and we know no more.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

19 September 2013 Reykjavik, Iceland

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: A WILD RIDE TO THE MOON

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in Reykjavik on Wednesday night, more than 12 hours late. It wasn’t a traffic jam that held us up, but rather a pretty fierce ocean storm between the northern reaches of the United Kingdom and Iceland.

While we were in Belfast, with plans to move out the next night to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, our very capable and cautious captain Angelo Corsaro wore a ridge in his worry beads. There was a storm, with huge swells and high winds, heading our way.

The decision was to stay overnight in Belfast and delay our departure before heading west toward Iceland. Doing that would give us the chance to come below the heart of the storm and miss its worst effects. It also meant we would have to skip our call at Stornoway, which was a shame: I had planned on shopping for a replacement for my 20-year-old Harris Tweed jacket at the looms there.

The plan worked, but we can only imagine how bad it would have been if we had attempted to stay on schedule. We traveled for two days in an extra-tropical hurricane—the remnants of Humberto—that spread in a spiral more than a thousand miles across.

Barometic pressure dropped below 960 hectopascals; that’s way low. And that low pressure engendered high winds of as much as 95 kilometers or 55 miles per hours. Wave heights were as much as 30 to 35 feet.

That said, Silver Whisper acquitted herself very well. The stabilizers stabilized most of the roll and our navigational plan reduced much of the pitch from bow to stern. But it was a noisy, somewhat bumpy ride.

Throw things at me if you will, but I am one of the horrible people who actually enjoys the feeling of motion on a ship.  Excuse me while I duck the plate someone just threw at me.

Most of our guests managed quite well, and I gave three lectures during the storm. The guests in the theatre were nicely seated; I was the one sliding to and fro on the stage.

ARRIVAL IN REYKJAVIK

What do you do if you get lost in a forest in Iceland? Stand up.

That’s a local joke in and around Reykjavik, which—to be charitable—is not the most green place on the planet. Green as in trees, that is. When it comes to sustainable energy, they’re way beyond Green.

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Hot springs and fumaroles just outside of the capital city of Reykjavik on the Erykjanes Peninsula. Photos by Corey Sandler

We’ve been to Reykjavik many times. It is one of our favorite places because of the spectacular landscape. In and around the capital city is mostly a lunar landscape, but the rest of the island includes green meadows, huge icefields and glaciers, waterfalls, and rocky coasts.

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A hot spring and a hot geothermal plant. Photos by Corey Sandler

The weather, though, is always challenging.

When we arrived Wednesday night we were heartened by the fact that the sky was clear. There was a hunt of the Northern Lights, obscured by the artificial lights of the city.

But when we awoke Thursday, we were back in the rain. A cold rain. In places just a few degrees above the point where we would have been in a snowstorm.

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Climbing a (small) volcano for a peek within. Photos by Corey Sandler

Before I met guests on our tour, I spoke with a local, asking for the forecast. What a shame, she said, it has only rained here twice this summer. She took a beat, and then continued: once for 20 days, and the next time for 40.

So we dealt with the rain but still had a glorious time at hot springs, hot geysers, and lava all around.

At the hot springs there is a distinct odor of sulphur in the air. The Icelanders, of course, have an explanation: the hot water they use to heat their homes and fill their tubs comes second-hand, they say. The trolls have already bathed in it, which accounts for the odor.

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Iceland is split down the middle by a fissure, one side moving toward Europe the other toward the United States. Insert your own political commentary here. At this bridge, we walked from one continent to the other, at least as defined by geographers. Photos by Corey Sandler

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Love Locks again, on the bridge between the continents. Photo by Corey Sandler

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Inside the Pearl, a huge storage tank for geothermal water in Reykjavik. There’s a gift shop, too. Photos by Corey Sandler

The solution, I learned, is to hire ourselves a magician to clear the skies ahead of us as we head out tonight for Greenland. When Icelanders refer to a magician or a wizard, they speak of someone who “knows beyond his nose.”

Presumably that means brimstone and sulphur is not involved.

All photos copyright 2013, Corey Sandler. If you would like a copy please contact me through the Order a Print tab on this blog.