Robin's Adventures

Arctic Circle, Greenland, and Iceland
Jewels of the North

Geothermal Plants

Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places in the world. As a result, a great deal of geothermal energy can be produced and harnessed for heating and for producing electrical power.

During the winter, for example, sidewalks in some of the major cities are heated. Almost 90 percent of the homes in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy and about 30 percent of the nation's electricity is produced this way.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a large man-made lake fed with hot water from a near-by geothermal plant. The water has many minerals, most notably silica, and is supposed to be good for your skin. The water temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and it is a milky blue color.

The Steamy Peninsula

Our next stop was at Reykjanes, which means the steamy peninsula. This is the most southwestern tip of Iceland and it is very active volcanically.

This is the site of the first lighthouse built in Iceland, although the one currently standing was rebuilt after the first was destroyed in an earthquake.

We hiked to the top of the basalt cliffs to get a view of the surrounding areas. Just off the coast is a pinnacle rock that is home to a large colony of northern gannet birds.

There is also a statue of a great auk, a bird who became extinct after the last breeding pair was killed on that island in 1844.


Gunnuhver is a very active geothermal area on the steamy peninsula of Reykjanes. Legend has it that there is an angry female ghost named Gudrun whose spirit was trapped here 400 years ago.

We saw lots of mud pots, steam vents, and mineral deposits. Iceland's largest mud pool, at 65 feet wide, is located here. Gunnuhver is also the only geothermal area in Iceland where the groundwater is seawater instead of freshwater.

Bridge Between Two Continents

The Bridge Between Two Continents is a small footbridge that spans a large gully-like fissure that supposedly separates the Eurasian plate and the North American plate.

The theory of plate tectonics says that the earth's crust contains about 20 major plates that are constantly drifting apart at rifts and converging at trenches. The unique aspect of the rift here is that everywhere else in the world rifts are formed under the ocean. Iceland is the only location on earth to have a rift on land.

Viking Ship Museum

Our next stop was at the Viking Ship Museum. One part of the museum had wonderful dioramas of colorful characters. As we wandered through this area, we listened to some interesting and entertaining Viking legends. We were impressed with how creatively the tale was told and the images were presented.

Outside the museum there was a display of farm animals. Some of the animals seemed to be very expressive.


After a long day of exploring, we were back in Reykjavik where we were staying in the very comfortable Hotel Borg right off of the town square. We walked around the area and saw the beautiful glass opera house and the parliament building.

That's What a Hamburger is All About...

We had a little fun with the street signs...

Rock Cairns

On our way to Thingvellir National Park we passed a large flat area that was covered with cairns, or stacks of rocks. Our guide was not sure of the significance, nor did an internet search reveal a reason for this display, but it was interesting to look at and perhaps that was the sole purpose of its existence.

Thingviller National Park

Thingviller is important in the history of Iceland as the site of the oldest parliament in the world, which first met in 930. The area is also important geologically because it is part of a great rift valley caused by the tectonic boundaries of the mid-Atlantic ridge.