My daughter had a lot of fun playing with these Icelandic horses. They are everywhere-pastures all over with these wonderful animals,ready to get some attention.
The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small, at times pony-sized, most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. The Icelandic displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. The only breed of horse in Iceland, they are also popular internationally, and sizable populations exist in Europe and North America. The breed is still used for traditional farm work in its native country, as well as for leisure, showing, and racing.
Developed from ponies taken to Iceland by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries, the breed is mentioned in literature and historical records throughout Icelandic history; the first reference to a named horse appears in the 12th century. Horses were venerated in Norse mythology, a custom brought to Iceland by the country’s earliest settlers. Selective breeding over the centuries has developed the breed into its current form.Natural selection has also played a role, as the harsh Icelandic climate eliminated many horses through cold and starvation. In the 1780s, much of the breed was wiped out in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. The first breed society for the Icelandic horse was created in Iceland in 1904, and today the breed is represented by organizations in 19 different nations, organized under a parent association, the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations.
We drove from Saudarkrokur where we were staying, to Siglufjordur,where we stopped and had a pastry and a coffee. We then drove to Dalvik where we went on a fantastic whale watch. They handed out very heavy body suits to keep us warm-we all looked like ghost busters! We saw a lot-porpoises jumping in the air and many whales that came right up to the boat. On the way back in we were allowed to go fishing-they handed out fishing rods. At the end of the trip they grilled up the fish and served it.
We then drove to Akureyri,which is the second largest city in Iceland with a population of 16,000. Akureyri boasts the best summer weather in Iceland-with summer sun in June and in July all 24 hours of the day. They have the northernmost botanical garden, an 18 hole golf course, lots of museums and great shopping.
The Blue Lagoon was accidentally formed in 1976 during operation at the nearby geothermal power plant. In the years that followed, people began to bathe in the unique water and apply the silica mud to their skin. Those with psoriasis noticed an incredible improvement in their condition. Over the years, Blue Lagoon has been innovative in harnessing this gift of nature to develop different spa services and products. Today, Blue Lagoon is recognized as one of the wonders of the world.
The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of this nearby power plant and is renewed every 2 days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.
The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur .The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
With a population of just over 300,000 in Iceland, 1/2 of that population lives in Reykjavik. It is the world’s most northernmost city-very energetic and free-thinking people live there. It is also known as the “gateway to the rugged outdoors” which the rest of Iceland is .
In the winter months Reykjavik might see only 2-4 hours of sunlight; in the summer months it can be sunny for up to 24 hours.
It was an easy flight from Boston-only 4 hours and well-worth the trip. Some of the shopping I found interesting-the wool body suits( yes,you would need that in winter! ),lots of jewelry made from volcanic rocks and of course,many items from the company 66 North which makes a lot of great outdoor wear in Iceland.
I found parts of Reykjavik to be very charming-wonderful restaurants,shops and the people are very warm and welcoming.