Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, one of the stops on our road trip, is about 60 km east of Skaftafell National Park and almost 400 km from Reykjavik, and is at the base of the Vatnajokull glacier.

The outlet glacier of Vatnajokull is  Breidamerkurjokull, which is  Europes biggest glacier.

Large portions of the Breidamerkurjokull glacier crumble and break off, creating large icebergs that tumble down the steep mountainside of the glacier into the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. This is a constant process with the icebergs melting away as they float in the lagoon, or are carried to the sea by the glacial river.

I’ve seen the lagoon in movies, it was featured in the movies James Bonds Die Another Day and Lara Crofts Tomb Raider.

It was somewhat foggy/hazy on the day we were there; Breidamerkurjokull glacier was a bit obscured, but my breath was taken away when I saw the sheer magnitude of the icebergs in the lagoon. Looking at the brilliant white and stunning blue icebergs, I was thinking  yes, I have arrived in the land of ice.

~~Click once on image for a larger view, click a 2nd time to enlarge a bit more~~

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

So, I’m going a tad away from the ‘road-trip’ time-line here; one of the questions I get most often when I say I was recently in Iceland is “did you go to the Blue Lagoon?”

Ragga, the boys and I arrived back in  Hafnarfjörður on the 15th of June. I checked the ‘net for information on the Blue Lagoon and discovered that they have a full range of spa treatments.

Well, the way I figured it, after spending almost 2 weeks with me, loading and unloading the car, looking after the boys, and at times driving in some incredibly thick fog, Ragga deserved a spa treatment. When I asked her if she could book us into a massage & facial, I was delighted to discover that she’d never had a massage/facial at the Blue Lagoon. After two weeks of seeing Iceland for the first time, and meeting amazing Icelandic people, I could give Ragga a ‘new’ experience as well. Very cool.

The next day Ragga drove us over to The Blue Lagoon for what would be an experience I won’t forget anytime soon.

First, a little about The Blue Lagoon — it’s blue, it’s a lagoon, it’s heaven on earth.  [For a more information, including the science, facilities, and how to get there, check out The Blue Lagoon website at www.bluelagoon.com]

When we arrived I was struck by the incredible, natural blue milky water; it was so soft looking, in sharp contrast to the hard lava field that held the water.

The customer service was world-class; we were given soft, plush bathrobes and towels, and a computerized wristband to use for our secure lockers; the facility was spotless.

We changed, took a shower, and headed for the “in the water” massage area — yup, our massages were in the water. We lay down on a blue floatation mat, closed our eyes as the masseuse covered us with a special blanket and started the massage. In the background I could hear the sounds of the Lagoons waterfall, and throughout the massage I could feel that the masseuse gently moving the mat around the water. Total heaven!! The hour ended way too soon!!

After the massage & facial we went into the large lagoon area. I secretly think that my friend Ragga is an A++++ type personality, as she’s always on the go; so much to my pleasant surprise at the Blue Lagoon she totally relaxed. We stayed in the water for around 1-1/2 – 2 hours – [not sure for exactly how long we were there, but my fingertips were defiantly shriveled], applied Blue Lagoon silica mud mask which is provided in boxes around the lagoon and  relaxed in the seating area around the lagoon to take in the sun.

Going to Iceland?? The Blue Lagoon is a must do!!

~~Click once on each image for a larger view, click a second time to enlarge a bit more~~

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

It was a bit of a trek, but we made our way to the swimming pool close to where Eyjafjallajökull erupted on April 3rd, 2010.

What struck me most during the walk was the greyish-black landscape. There was inches of lava dust on the ground with ever resilient plant life pushing themselves through the dust. At times during the walk I was awestruck by the sheer magnetude of the devistation of the eruption; but amazed at how quickly the plant live was rebounding.

~~Double click on Images for larger view~~

Walking to the pool … notice the mountain in the background fully covered in lava dust.

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Water from the glacier above is collected here….

[when you double click on this, you can see the just how much lava dust is sitting on the pipes & ground]

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

…and runs through pipes into the pool

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

The Pool

To see what this area looked like before the eruption, go to

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Not at all daunted by the signage that declared the pool closed, the boys changed into their swimsuits and went for a dip.

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Walking back

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Bird tracks in the lava dust

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althing [an open-air assembly, which represented the whole of Iceland]  was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Over two weeks a year, the assembly set laws – seen as a covenant between free men – and settled disputes.

The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland. The property includes the Þingvellir National Park and the remains of the Althing itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone. Remains from the 10th century are thought to be buried underground. The site also includes remains of agricultural use from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park shows evidence of the way the landscape was husbanded over 1,000 years.

On the way to the park, we came across a field of ‘stone people’ and a beautiful lake…..

~~~Click on Images for Larger Views~~~

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

I love birds … big birds, small birds, fat birds, tall birds. I used to have a bird zoo – 7 large parrots, peacocks, ginnie fowl, chickens, ducks. I even used to have a boss whose last name was Bird .

So when Ragga took me into town for the day and we saw an older man with a young boy feeding the seagulls, we stopped and took some pictures.

~~~Click on Images for large view~~~

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

We drove through the Highlands of Iceland where the beautiful Mt. Herdubreid is located. It’s on the Oskjuleið Route is a 1682m high table mountain.

It is the national mountain of Iceland and often called the “Queen of Icelandic mountains” — it is beautiful and majestic…

These are the views of the “Queen” and its surrounding area, as well as an image of Egill Ar building a structure with rocks.

~~Click on Images for larger view~~

~~Double click for even larger view~~

Queen of the Islandic Mountains pinned on map

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

So … we are in the middle of nowhere … well, nowhere by my standards. Ragga slowly begins to pull over to the side of the road; I’m figuring there must be another excellent natural landscape ahead that she’d like me to see, and then I began to feel the car bumping along. A flat tire??…really??

Now, for those who know me, know that my ‘automobile’ education includes only that the gas station attendant checks the oil and tire pressure, and the garage down the road takes care of the rest. To say I’m a total dud when it comes to cars would be an understatement. I asked about BCAA [or rather, the Icelandic version] and Ragga just looked at me like I was from another planet — she rolled up her sleeves and grabbed the spare from the trunk.

We were seriously ‘out there’ and not many cars were passing by – all I could to help was give Ragga words of encouragement. After a lot of trying to get the jack to lift the car, she finally asked me for help — albeit only to let her know when a car was approaching so she could stop it and perhaps get some assistance.

She flagged down a couple from Belgium and the husband changed the tire. Egill Ar appeared to want to help, while Brynjar Leó and I felt it would be most useful if we just didn’t get in the way.

Ragga called her husband in Reykjavik who found a tire repair store in the next town where the owner would come down and open the shop and put on a new tire. The incredible part was that it was late Sunday afternoon – Iceland and Icelandic people just continued to amaze me with their hospitality and generosity.

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

©2010 Adriana Durian Photography

Námaskarð, Mine Pass, one of Icelands geothermal lagoons, is located between Námafjall and Dalfjalland, east of Námafjall and is 410 meters (1300 feet) above sea level.

Námaskarð is known for its volcanic clusters of bubbling mud pots, [solfataras], and its fizzing jets of volcanic gasses and steam [fumaroles].

Arriving at Námaskarð, the first thing I noticed was the incredible colours and geothermal activity [‘cause at this point I hadn’t yet stepped out of the car]; once out of the car, the odor coming from the sulphurous fumes was “interesting”, but manageable [the odor will not become the next best Icelandic perfume scent].

Because of the deep red & orange colours, steam rising from the ground, bubbling mud pots, and strong sulphurous odors, some call Námaskarð the Gateway to Hell. I thought it was heavenly and was intrigued by all the geothermal activity and colours.

~Click on individual images for larger view~

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

© 2010 Adriana Durian Photography

On the technical side, a sign at Námaskarð explains “Cold ground water seeps down to magna intrusions, where it is heated and transformed into steam, and then comes back to the surface. Along with the steam comes fumarole gas, which contains sulphur hydroxide which is responsible for the hot spring smell most people know. In hot spring areas, sulphur deposits are formed when fumarole gas mixes with air. Besides the sulphur deposits, a mixture of silica and gypsum forms around the fumaroles. In mud pots, fumarole gas rises through surface water, producing sulphuric acid, which makes the water acid. Rock and soil dissolve in this acid water, producing the mud which is typical of mud pots and their surroundings”.