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Showing posts from November, 2015

Bryce Canyon National Park

The Ampitheater
"It's a helluva place to lose a cow", remarked Ebenezer Bryce about Bryce Canyon. (Ebenezer was a homesteader in the Paria River Valley around 1875 and the Park is named after him.) As I looked at the Ampitheater from Bryce Point, I couldn't agree more. It was awfully crowded down there with phantasmagorical rock sculptures shaped by water, frost and erosion over millions of years standing toe to toe into the distance.
Hoodoos from Sunset Point
Bryce Canyon is not a canyon. It is actually a series of natural amphitheaters carved by erosion. And the air is so clear at Bryce that we could see far into the horizon. The Hoodoo (Bryce Canyon's newspaper) writes that "On a clear day you can see over 150 miles and even recognize landforms in Arizona!". As we drove from one vista point to the next, I appreciated more and more the panoramic views of Escalante National Park which borders Bryce Canyon. At Rainbow Point, we had reached the highest poin…

Reykjavík Basics

Where to say:
Center Hotel Klopp Klapparstig 26, Reykjavik  Buffet breakfast included Central location. A block from Laugavegur, the main shopping street.
Foss Hotel Baron Baronstígur 2-4, Reykjavik Buffet breakfast included Across the boulevard from Sculpture and Shore Walk and a short walk to Höfdi House.
Where to eat: It is expensive to eat out in Reykjavik. If you're on a budget, it might help to buy food at the supermarket. There are several supermarkets conveniently located in the city center or try the Thai Restaurant on Laugavegur where the food is delicious and reasonably priced. 
Catfish at Sushi Samba
Samba Sushi Japanese and South American Fusion cuisine. Thingholsstraeti 5 View their menu here:  sushisamba.is This is an expensive restaurant. Prepare to pay at least $30.00 for the dish shown above.
Pearl Cafe Perlan Open from 10 a.m. To 9 p.m. www.perlan.is Perlan is a destination on its own. It sits on a hill and has a 360° view of Reykjavik. There's a bus that sto…

The Golden Circle

Thingvellir National Park
One of the closest areas to visit from Reykjavik is Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. The Park is of historical significance to Icelanders. This is where the oldest open air parliament in the world (the Althing) was established in 930 and continued to meet till 1798. Thingvellir is also of paramount geological interest. The North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates run through the Park and have created a rift which continues to expand. 
Thingvallatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland and lies south of the Park. It is the habitat of 150 types of plants and 50 invertebrates. 
Gulfoss
Gulfoss (golden falls) is fed by glacial melt from Langjökull, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. When glacier melts and flows down the river, it carries sediment with it. Hence the water is somewhat golden in hue. Gulfoss cascades in two tiers down a 32 meter canyon. Sunshine and a spray of mist in the air will create a rainbow to make your heart leap. Yes, Wor…

Skálholt

Skálholt Cathedral, South Iceland
Skálholt has been the spiritual center of Iceland since the ordination of the first Catholic bishop, Isleifur Gissurarson,in 1056 and through the advent of Lutheranism in the 16th century. The Catholic bishop from North Iceland, Jon Aráson, was captured and beheaded together with his two sons in 1550 effectively ending the Catholic faith in Iceland. The Lutherans maintained their Episcopal See at Skálholt until 1785. A major earthquake and volcanic eruptions toward the end of the century finally drove the bishop and school to Reykjavík where the See was installed in 1801. This led to the decline in importance of Skálholt as the religious, educational and cultural center of Iceland. Renewed interest in Skálholt in the 20th century saw the construction of a new cathedral on the ruins of previous churches. It was consecrated in 1963.
Excavations in the area have yielded artifacts including a stone sarcophagus and tombstones which are displayed in the ch…