Sunday, July 24, 2016

June 2016 / Iceland

I got to go to Daniel's piano recital.  He is doing great!

Chelsea came and stayed at Sunny's for a couple of days while Lamar had a baseball camp.  The cousins had fun together.

We had a heat wave.  Good thing they have a pool!

We made it to Iceland.  Grandma ended up staying home in Utah due to her back problems.  Alan & I flew from Phoenix to JFK.  Our flight from JFK to Iceland was delayed due to an a/c problem on the plane, so we were late arriving.  We were happy to see Mark & Ryan to pick us up.

Our first night we stayed at Hafnarfjordur, near Reykjavik at an Airbnb run by Bjorg and Olafur who are members of the Reykjavik Branch.  Their son served his mission is SLC.

In the afternoon we visited the Thingvellir National Park

It is where the first government met in Iceland

It is the meeting place of the teutonic plates between Europe and North America.

Then the Strokkur Geyser.  It was hard to catch at just the right time.

There were some hot water holes there too.

They had some cute Viking hats in the gift shop.

The cafe had some old photos about Iceland's national sport of wrestling

And the Gullfoss Waterfall was not too far away.  The weather was turning cold, rainy & windy.

So, we hung out in the gift shop for a while

We went by the old family farm where Halldor B Jonsson lived 150 years ago.  The people who live there now were nice enough to let us in and chat for a while even though by this time it was nearly 10 pm.

The next morning we stopped for groceries for our lunches.  We stopped at a waterfall before getting on the ferry to the Westmann islands.

You could walk behind the waterfall if you wanted to

The countryside was beautiful

You can drive your cars into the ferry to go to the island

This is a model of the ferry

Approaching the island

While some of the guys went golfing, we went to a museum about a volcano that erupted on the island in the 1970s

These flowers are all over the countryside.  It helps retain the soil.

This is a golf course where a monument to Iceland pioneers is located.

This photo is a monument to the Icelanders who left to immigrate to America when they joined the LDS church.  Alan is pointing at the name of his great grandfather, Halldor B Jonnson.  He left Iceland in 1860.  These are the Icelanders in our group.  Kimberlee Gilbert (Scott's daughter), Alan, Scott, Mark and Ryan (Mark's son).

The next morning we tried to find some puffins, but since it was so windy, they were hiding out.

But we did see some sheep

We left the island Wednesday and started the route around Iceland.

We drove to Svartifoss Waterfall.

It was a fairly steep climb, but we all made it.  Kimberlee should get extra points for carrying Lydia up!

The view from the top

Then these amazing cave formations and black beach.  Too bad the water was so cold.

Dyrholaey is the southern most tip of mainland Iceland.

That night (Tuesday,) we stayed at Hamrafoss at an old farmhouse across from another waterfall

The inside of our little inn

It was the longest day of the year and it never got dark all night.

Then we climbed up to see another waterfall at Skatafell.  We started to recognize other tourists at every new place we stopped.

Another lovely waterfall that was near the Vatnajokull glacier

They do some boat tours to get up close to the bergs.

We stayed at Hofn Wednesday night

It was a little coastal town.  Everything was closing by the time we got there, but we found a place to eat anyway.

In the morning, Scott and Mark & Alan went out looking at the birds.

They were nesting and very protective of their territory.

We stopped for lunch at this little park.  The campground bathroom there had hot running water and the room was heated too!

We stayed at Egilsstadir that night.  Some people went out to see sights and some of us did laundry.

Friday we drove to Dettifos Waterfall.  We had to go on dirt roads part of the time.  It was very dry up there, except where the river and waterfall went down.

That night we stayed at Akureyri

The Disney Cruise Ship was in port.  This time of year, there are whale sight seeing trips.  In the winter, they have tours for the northern lights.

Saturday morning we continued on and found the waterfall Godafoss

Then a dormant volcano

And a hot springs mineral bath.  We accidentally forgot to bring our swim suits.

We stayed in Akureyri again that night.

Sunday morning, we drove back to Reykjvik and went to church.

There were lots of American visitors.  I met an Elder from Texas.  He was very surprised when he was called to Iceland!  But he said he uses his Espanol all the time!

In the afternoon, we were able to visit some relatives!  There is a common great great grandfather.

Birna and Sigrour Steingrimsdottir with their Anderson cousins

That night we were back to the inn where we started (Hafnarfjordur.)

Monday we visited in Reykjvik with Mark & Mary Ann

We visited the old cemetery

This young lady worked there.  She helped us find Halldor Jonnson's brother's grave.  He was only 10 years old when Halldor left for America.  He is the great grandfather of our cousins.

We had to scrape off some moss

Iceland's national cathedral

Views from inside the tower

Leif Erickson statue given to Iceland from the United States in 1930

Mark & Mary Ann

Then we visited a whale museum

And a Nature Reserve

The path to the lighthouse is closed until later in the summer.

That evening, Alan & I went swimming at the local pool.  The national soccer team was playing against England.  All the lifeguards were cheering them on.  When they won, there were fireworks and celebrations!

Tuesday, we had the best weather of all, but it was time to travel home.  At JFK, we met some missionaries returning home to SLC.

Two of these elders spoke in church on Sunday!  I'm sure they had a wonderful reunion with their families when they landed in SLC.