Iceland in January - no Northern Lights but Glaucous Gulls aplenty!

A Stormy Weekend.

We arrived in Iceland to be greeted by `light` snow; it seemed pretty heavy to us!
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Reykjavik was certainly pretty in the now but it did not look promising for the next night`s trip to see the `lights....

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That night (Saturday) we were kept awake by the locals who can certainly party until 5am (and then were woken by the street cleaner at 6.30am! The noise from the nearby club was so loud the TOILET even vibrated!  Not impressed....

We crawled out of bed at 7.00am to explore the town a little as we has a whale-watching tour booked for midday.

It was dark of course (dawn was at about 9am) but the cathedral looked impressive.

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Unfortunately, the wind rapidly increased to STORM force during the morning and the whale-watching tour was cancelled (along with the lights tour that night). This was the point at which we realized this was not going to be one of our better breaks...

Reykjavik is OK if you want to shop or drink or visit a museum but seems to have little else to offer
without traveling out of the city. We did manage to re-visit the cathedral in spite of the wind quite literally blowing people off their feet and a brief visit in horizontal hail to the dockside provided good sightings of eider and Glaucous gulls sheltering near the breakwater.

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Glaucous Gulls in the hailstorm.
At least Sunday night was quiet and sleep came quickly...

The coach tour to some of the key sights near the city was worth while anyway. It was interesting to see how easily the locals cope with icy roads...

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Our first stop was at Logberg where the island`s first parliament was formed (perhaps the earliest parliamentary system of all). This is also where the North American ans Eurasian Tectonic Plates famously separate producing some impressive scenery. These photographs were taken just as dawn began to colour the sky...

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This was the only we saw until we left the following day -

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The Icelandic ponies are a tough breed able to withstand the low temperatures and driving snow. I was only able to photograph them from the moving coach but the results are surprisingly OK.

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We arrived at the Geyser as the rain began; however at least it is regular and the photo` was satisfying; not up to Yellowstone though....

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The Geyser at Geysisgil.
It was the waterfall at Gullfoss that I will remember; clearly worth re-visiting some future Summer (when bird-watching is another attraction as well).

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As I indicated earlier, the sun finally made an appearance just as the airplane was taking off...

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So THAT`S what it looks like in the sun!

It is worth saying that if the lights had been seen then one`s recollections would have been much more positive but with TWO trips cancelled and the only alternative being `city life` this was not value for money. (A couple on our trip had tried 5 times without success to see the lights)!

We may return in the Summer although there are other places on the list first...

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