Teri's - The Wonders of Iceland part 2

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence

For our second day, we booked a private whale and puffin watching tour departing from the docks in Reykjavik. Private and public tours are easily available from this accessible port.  Even though our naturalist informed us that there was no guarantee that we would view anything on his list of potential animals and birdlife, we were blessed to spend time viewing Minke and humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises, as well as hundreds of puffins, Arctic terns, and other northern birds.  We even learned how to take "whalies" (our guide said it was a selfie taken with a whale tale in the background--and I will say, this took some practice to do; but, we saw plenty of whales, so we all got pretty good whalies in the end!).

We finished off our second day in Iceland touring the Capitol City of Reykjavik.  The country of Iceland has less than 350,000 residents; however, approximately 200,000 of them live in Reykjavik and its suburbs.  The predominate structure in the city is Hallgrimskirka, the largest church built in Iceland.  Across the street from the church, we found Cafe Loki, which featured sampler plates of local Icelandic food.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner of smoked trout, mashed fish, pickled herring, fermented shark, and rye bread ice cream, topped off by a shot of Brennivins.  Okay, the Brennivins may have helped with us eating the fermented shark!

We spent our third day in the Icelandic Highlands of Sudurland, off-roading for 10 hours of our 12 hour travel day.  We visited Hekla, a stratovolcano standing at 4,892 feet (1,491 meters).  This volcano has produced one of the largest volumes of lava in the world and is one of the worlds most active volcanos--in fact, it is expected to erupt at any time.

From Hekla, we jeeped over to Landmannalaugar, an area popular for its hiking, camping and mineral springs.  We finished the day viewing another beautiful waterfall.