Iceland – Steve Eilenberg

  • Reykjavík as seen from the Pearl
  • Icelandic horses eating and preening
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Iceberg detail 1
  • Hallgrimskirche at night. Reykjavik Iceland
  • Icelandic horses at old farmhouse, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Icelandic girl with hat
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Iceberg abstract
  • Harpa Concert Hall grand lobby, Iceland
  • Red car and mountains. Iceland interior
  • Planet Iceland
  • Videy Island, Iceland 1
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Iceberg detail 4
  • Still life, Videy Island. Iceland
  • Down by the harbor. Reykjavik Iceland
  • Sled dogs, Langjökull glacier, Iceland
  • Geysir, Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón. Cracked iceberg on black sand beach at glacial river lagoon
  • Meadow and mountain,  Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • The Pearl, Iceland
  • Glacier coach.  Langjökull glacier, Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Glacial lagoon
  • Thingvellir National Park buildings. Iceland
  • Waterfalls and rainbow. Interior, Iceland
  • Kopávogur Church, Iceland
  • Midnight rainbow, Iceland Interior
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Diamond ice on black sand beach 2
  • Geyser, Iceland
  • Interior detail of lava tunnel near Langjökull glacier
  • Steam vents near Geysir
  • Jökulsárlón, Glacial lagoon at night
  • Iceland Steve Eilenberg23
  • Harpa Center, Iceland
  • Stained glass wash
  • Puffins, Iceland. Near Stykkishólmur
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Diamond ice splash on black sand beach
  • Harpa Concert Hall,  window detail, Iceland
  • Midnight landscape, Iceland interior
  • Puffins, Iceland. Near Stykkishólmur 2
  • Smack down graffiti, Reykjavik Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Diamond ice on black sand beach 1
  • Arctic tern, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Glacier walk, Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Iceberg detail 2
  • Stykkishólmur church,  Iceland
  • Carving in lava tunnel, Iceland
  • Icelandic horses hacking around
  • Iceland Steve Eilenberg10
  • Welcome sign, Iceland
  • Strange girl in red at the Government House, Reykjavík Iceland
  • Lunch hall, Videy Island. Iceland
  • Kopávogur Church interior details, Iceland
  • All for one. Icelandic horses
  • Old farmhouse, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Ash covered ice.  Langjökull glacier, Iceland
  • Setting rainbow. On the way to Stykkishólmur. Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • Stykkishólmur church interior,  Iceland
  • Dynamic rocks at the beach, Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Iceberg detail 3
  • Lava tunnel, near  Langjökull glacier, Iceland
  • Motel Sign, Iceland
We’ve been asked about our upcoming destinations many times. Indonesia, Antarctica and New Guinea have been on the list, but nothing has produced larger eyes or louder gasps than Iceland. This is, after all, the land of trolls, fire and ice, that others fly over on their way to Europe.

The impetus for the trip came from a home exchange request from Reykjavik. A lovely couple with two kids wanted to experience the heat of Sedona in July. Harpa feared scorpions and the searing dry heat, which might transform her youngest into a toxic combusted ashpile. Hedging her bets, she bought an inflatable pool from Sedona’s  nearest K Mart, while we brought blackout masks from Amazon (no darkness in July).

There is no tipping in Iceland and I found this emblematic. In general, they are reserved,  proud and slightly unusual people. My understanding is that they are a genetic blend of Vikings and the Irish Celts (whom they captured as slaves on their way to discover this uninhabited island which they call “Island”). They briefly discovered America (something Columbus never quite did), but finding native American Indians to be particularly unpleasant,  they went back home to be eventually “cured” of Paganism and developing their unique style, voice, and eventually, economic prowess.

On our first day in Iceland, I managed to get sunburnt and we had 4.5 minutes of relative darkness (thank you, eye masks).

Reykjavik is a pulsing small city with excellent galleries, museums, coffee shops and the newly built Harpa Concert Hall, which was a revelation. We had one of our best all time meals at Dill Restaurant in the Nordic House (by Alvar Aalto) and, mind you, never ate putrefied shark or whale meat. That’s not to say it wasn’t available, but just not overly visible. Icelanders do have a maniacal weakness for hotdogs (more on this later); this was the only affordable offering we found in this beautiful country.

What about the language, you ask? Well, a neighbor’s cat visited us the first day. Its 6 year old owner soon appeared and I asked the cat’s name. She looked at me, made a face and said “you couldn’t pronounce it…so you can call her Cutie”. How prophetic this was. Our Garmin GPS with the Aussie accent wasn’t deterred  when us giving  instructions, but the names were incomprehensible.  The names were preceded by “turn right” or “in the roundabout, take the second exit” so I was able to make out. The problem arose when we discussed where we wanted to go, where we had just come from or what we wanted to go back to.  Not having a prayer in pronouncing things, we created dummied up facsimiles. This gave us no end of amusement and was essential to  our communication.

According to the internet, the longest Icelandic word is: vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúrslyklakippuhringasteypumótateikning.
That said, everyone spoke English.