Most places in Iceland are quite small. 65% of the population lives in Reykjavik. The 2nd biggest town has only 8000 people and most places are smaller than 1000 people. The inland of Iceland is uninhabitable and everyone lives on the coast. The hottest day ever recorded in Iceland was 80 degrees F. The hottest for summer of 2022 is a mere 64 degrees F. While a lot of things are expensive in Iceland, there are two things which are very inexpensive: water and electricity. Homes are heated via hot water from volcanoes. The water is crystal clear. Sometimes the hot water smells like sulfur but it is very clean. Iceland was the poorest country in Europe at the turn of the century. It was under Danish control until 1944. During WWII, Denmark was taken by the Nazis and Iceland received independence. The U.S. and England used Iceland during WWII by bringing ships and subs into their deep, calm fjords around their island country, as it was a very strategic location. Iceland is actually a founding member of NATO. Tourism started in 2010 and became a booming industry for Iceland with the cruise lines. The draw to Iceland are its hiking, waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches and northern lights.
On our second day in Iceland, we took a 10 hour tour of the southern coast of the island. We saw some beautiful waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches and basalt rock formations. It was, I know….shocker….windy and rainy. We were able to see some puffins though, which was really fun. They are Lily’s spirit animal. She just loves them. We were told we had missed them by about a week. They come to a small rocky island off the coast of Iceland to breed every summer. When they leave, they all go en masse to wherever it is they travel to next. Luckily there were a few stragglers on the black sand beach we visited this day. It was so windy and rainy but I hope I caught a few shots so you can see them! One interesting fact amongst many we learned from our awesome tour guide was that other countries send materials to make aluminum in Iceland. There are 3 aluminum smelting plants in Iceland. They take up so much energy and heat to work that other countries bring their materials to Iceland to create their aluminum.
We ended our evening with some really good food. Rich had some lamb chops and I had salmon. Both were very good.