Thursday, September 08, 2011


After a couple more days in the Stockholm area, I flew to Iceland. When I started planning this trip, I quickly realized that, since SAS doesn't fly out of Seattle any more and all the increased fees and fuel charges for flying, it was going to be a better deal to fly on Icelandair. All their flights connect through Iceland, and there's no charge for stopovers, so I decided to take a couple days to see a little bit of a new country. I stayed in Keflavik, which is very close to the airport, but unless I was just going to drive around the southwest peninsula, I probably wouldn't do that again. It was nice and quiet, but not much going on. And the tour I took started in Reykjavik, so I had to go by bus for almost an hour just to start the tour.

A park by Keflavik Harbor my first night in Iceland.

As we were driving into the countryside, the tour guide pointed this out as a dormant volcano. I thought, how dormant can it be if it's steaming like that?

But then you start to notice that there are steam vents all over the place. Some small and isolated...

Some larger, with generating plants built up around them. Iceland has become a leader in utilizing geothermal energy, even exporting it in the form of smelted aluminum. (It takes so much energy to smelt aluminum that it is shipped to Iceland in its raw form, smelted, and then shipped back.)

They also use the geothermal to heat greenhouses (and presumably light them in winter), which enables them to grow about 25% of their vegetables.

A view of a southern fjord, with the rolling ridges left from different lava flows. The geology here is very new, with the land built up from volcanos in relatively recent times.

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