Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 7 Of Our 2012 NCL Cruise Vacation - Reykjavik Iceland

This morning we got up early so that we could get a bite to eat before having to to the Stardust Theater to start our excursion.
We got down to the Stardust Theater around 8:15 toting with us our backpacks and various cameras and camera gear.
Today was going to be a big excursion day that both Veronica and I have looked forward to since we initially booked it.....Iceland Through The Camera Lens.
Upon arriving early to the Stardust Theater, it was already beginning to get packed with other cruisers going on a myriad of excursions being offered for the day activities.
Through poor planning on the NCL staffs part, everyone ended up in the Stardust Theater at the same time. The theater was over flowing with people standing and sitting everywhere.
Of course everyone wanted to be on the 1st floor of the theater even those that came in obviously late but yet felt entitled to be right up front near the exit door and even after several request and a couple of firmer requests by staff members, these folks still refused to budge.
We were called for our excursion around 9AM and as it turned out there were 3 buses full of people on this particular excursion.
Our guide...I believe his name was Thor...49 years of age and according to him has 6 kids. I tell you...the Icelandic way of life along with maybe the healing and fountain of youth qualities of the Blue Lagoon does amazing things. Thor looked like he was maybe 29. He was a very caring and knowledgeable guide too.
He made this excursion very interesting and he knew about photography, setting up shots and color. I believe he owned and ran a videography business when the tourist off season was going on in Iceland...although based on what we saw and photographed,
I can't imagine Iceland being without any visiting shutterbugs.
Iceland was a place like no other that Veronica and I have ever seen. The lava fields of various types of lava, the geo-thermic activity, the people, the blue lagoon...it was all unusual, different and very beautiful.
We visited too many different areas to list and my photographs will do a much better job in showing all the places that we visited.
It was raining off and on all day long and the rain would come upon us very quickly thus making photography a challenge. It should also be noted that I hate to take any photos through the glass of the provided tour buses. I am not sure who makes these buses but if it is a tour business that had them made for them, then shame on them for not making these buses with some type of non reflective glass. This has been a big problem for me when we have taken these excursions and it doesn't matte what the excursion or what country we are in. Bottom line is that buses are not made to be photography friends. And I haven't even started on the makers of the buses putting stickers on all of the windows. Now picture this...a picture perfect setting...you now try to photograph this setting through a bus window only to see the reflection of the folks sitting on the opposite side of the bus in the windows reflection along with a big old stick that reads...in case of accident please feel free to break out glass window.
I have got off of buses so dejected because of all of the fantastic things we have seen and not having one photo come out worthwhile because of the aforementioned issues.
Despite the challenges we faced, we saw and photographed lots of great sights and learned a lot about about Iceland's history and culture.
We returned to the ship around 5PM and we felt like e had an extremely fun filled day.
We ate at Il Adagio Italian Restaurant. I had their Pizza and Veronica had Chicken Parm.
We had the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with Grace, who is currently the restaurant manager.
We had originally met Grace on our very first NCL cruise, about 5 years ago, when we cruised on the Pearl to Alaska.
Grace remembered us and vice versa. We ended up buying Grace a nice scarf in Scotland. It was nice to meet someone from our very first NCL cruise and we met some other great folks on this cruise and we hope to see them again on future cruises.
Today was a good day!















Much of the landscape in the areas that we visited were very rocky and uneven....mostly lava fields. There were some lava fields where the lava was black in color and very fine and smooth. Some areas looked like what you would see on the moon. 



Below are photos of where people in villages hang up and dry out fish after they have taken all of the good parts off of the fish. If flies are discovered on the fish, the fish would be pulled down so as not to ruin the dried out fish and to keep them from contamination. Our guide told us that the dried our fish parts are sent to Nicaragua, where the people would then re-hydrate the fish for use in stock/soups 









The landscape was was ever changing and amazing and at time the colors were very vibrant



















These geo thermal steam vents can be seen in many areas



Caught this beautiful sunset on the horizon



The colors below were really amazing







The pits were actually bubbling up

























In the distance was a geo thermal power plant. Many of the Icelandic homes are heated this way  


Below is the very well known Blue Lagoon and a large geo-thermal power plant in the background 




Veronica at the Blue Lagoon. It was raining off and on and rather dreary and cool during our visit to the Blue Lagoon







Our feet decided to join us on our visit to the Blue Lagoon















Our Blue Lagoon feet



























Here are photos of our fantastic guide..Thor..at least that is what he told us to call him by


Below are photos of something that is rarely seen by visitors and happens only one day a year. Once a year the farms and the families that have their sheep out on the free range, all gather together and with the use of feet, ATVs, motorcycles, horses and by whatever means available, they gather together and herd all pf these sheep 
to their appropriate farms. This is a really big day for the sheep farmers and when the huge job is done, it is said that all the families gather together and have a dinner and celebration.
















We also went to a rocky coastal area where the signs of old lave were evident everywhere

Darn if our feet didn't catch up to us while we were visiting the rough and rocky coastal area

It was windy, cool and rainy during our visit to this coastal area
















On our way back to thew city of Reykjavik. Along the way and in Reykjavik we saw all different types of residential housing















They have every type of fast food restaurants that they have in the United States





Up ahead of us was a domed museum that we went to visit. From the upper level deck of this museum, we got a great view of the city of Reykjavik

Cool looking statue art outside of the museum

Assorted views from the upper level outside walkway of the domed museum







The architecture of this museum was amazing







Here we are standing on the upper lever outside walkway at the domed museum




I never really gave much thought that Iceland would actually have season like we do in the States. When I thought of Iceland, I would think of cold temps, ice and snow. It was turning to the Fall season and along with the seasonal change was the change of foliage colors

A church that we went into. I find the interiors of churches to be very interesting and a great photographic opportunity



















Heading into the city center. It was fairly quiet but then again, it was a Sunday.
































































Feet on the streets of Reykjavik

Back on the ship and the start of 2 straight days at sea that were filled with rough seas, high swells and higher winds







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