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Not sure how we came up with the idea of going to Iceland.  Perhaps it was just one of those things...I mean, we'd never met anyone who'd been there, it sounded intriguing!  Plus, it was a short plane ride from Prague...so, why not?
As most know, Iceland is not covered in ice...its neighbor Greenland is ice...Iceland is green...go figure. Iceland was formed only 20 million years ago (compared to Eurasia at 375-325 million years old)  It is made up of many volcanoes (still active) as well as glaciers.  Almost all of their heating and electric come from hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.  (and this means that when you take a shower, the water smells like rotten eggs...honest to god...its so gross.  We couldn't take showers fast enough!  But, the locals told me that they don't mind...even love...the smell.  um, no.) 
There are very few trees (the locals joke "if you get lost in Iceland, just stand up" hahaha) and loads of untouched landscape, with only 320,000 people living in the whole country you can understand why.  Hot springs are everywhere along with some massive geysers.
A trip to Iceland is very different than a trip to Europe...you don't go out and wander through the streets of the town...you go on adventures!!!  Google visiting Iceland and you will see loads of excursions and day trips.  Because the girls were so little, we were limited to some of the more extreme tours.  We really wanted to hike across a glacier, but they wouldn't let us...(next time!)  Instead, Matt went diving in glacial waters!!  He said it was a cool (no pun intended) experience except there wasn't much to see...no fish in those icy waters!  
We rented a cute little apartment and then had each day scheduled with things to sightsee.  Matt had a to work a bit, so the girls and I got to do some things on our own too.  We had fun trying out different foods and Matt even ate whale..sushi style...it looked like maroon tuna.  Said it was yummy!   

 Our first tour took us to along the Golden Circle.  We saw a national park, the tectonic plates of Northern America and Europe, the famous Gullfoss waterfall, a medieval church and the Nesjavellir Geothermal field.  It was quite the day!  It was wonderfully cold too...while all my family was sweating away in Vegas, we were bundled up but good! 

see that little house?  its where the divide between Europe and North America lies

here you can see the piping that goes throughout the country to provide utilities to the residents

stunning views and goofy girls ;)

the girls and Matt are touching the lake where Matt went diving in glacial waters!  He had a special suit and Icelandic long underwear to keep him warm!  The spray from the waterfall was awfully chilly!

This geyser was so much fun to watch, it erupted often but the smell...oh the smell...rotten eggs, ick

the medieval church and more views  :)

Another excursion took us on a horseback ride (the highlight of the trip for me of course!)  Icelandic ponies make for an interesting ride, they have a 5th gait that is sort of like a fast walk.  They are trotting, but instead of posting up and down, you just sit tight and enjoy the ride!  At first they weren't going to let Lily ride (said she was too little)  I put up a fight and promised that she would be fine and they gave in...thankfully!  She did amazing and so did Sara!  I couldn't ride next to both girls, so I stayed nearer to Lily.  Other adults kept an eye on Sara (since Matt's pony took off to the front of the line and he could never get it to turn back around) and they assured me that she had a huge smile plastered on her face.  At one point, Lily's pony bucked up a bit, but she held on and didn't even get scared!  So proud!  I was in second heaven.  :D

We of course had to visit the famous (and very unique) Iceland church Hallgrímskirkja.  I think it looks a bit like an alien spaceship! Its supposed to represent the lava flows of Iceland's landscape.  hmmmm... The organ inside was incredible, I only wish we could have heard it being played.  The best part was the stunning views from the top of the tower.  I just love all the colorful houses and roofs.  

I was sure that the town deserved at least a bit of wandering around, so we headed out one afternoon.  Girls had fun with the viking gear!

The bookstore top left...people posing for my pic!  The gorgeous class building is the Harpa concert hall, the sculpture is supposed to look like a viking ship, and I just love the mural on the side of that house.

We found a park with a zip line (top left) that was so fun!  Daddy is always ready for a piggyback ride, more ice cream, and two beautiful little girls! 

A few more shots of the geysers and a gorgeous sunset

We also spent some time at Laugardalslaug Indoor and Outdoor Pools.  We never made it to the famous Blue Lagoon, but we were actually much happier with this pool...especially the girls!  I swear, they spent the better part of two hours marching up those steps to launch themselves down that slide.  And let me tell you, outside of the warm water, the air was COLD!  They didn't care one bit...it was so funny to watch them.  Somehow I've lost the pix I took, so I borrowed these from another website.  The small pool was warmer, but pretty packed with adults...and I don't think the little water pads were out then...either that or the girls didn't care and just kept themselves happy with the slide.  We went twice...once on our own and again with Matt.  It really was fun!  Oh!  And so, before you can even get in the water you have to take a shower...in the ladies locker room...and all the showers are open... there is even a lady in there to watch and make sure you bathe!  It was so weird!  LOL  First time the girls have ever seen so many naked women and girls!  At least they didn't comment!  ;)

If we ever make it back again, there are more awesome excursions and tours that we could do now that the girls are older....so, maybe sometime!  It was a great trip and really fun to see such an interesting country...but alas, the long summer of travel is over....back to the states.  First stop was Vegas to see family...then...home...to Austin.  (click the link to read about our new home.)
parting shots....a few more from the church tower and then...as we headed home, we flew over Greenland...see...not so green!  LOL  



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