Lydia feeding an Icelandic horse
We started the day with vegemite on toast then headed to the airport to greet John, Jay, Charles, Rob and Diane. We were in Iceland! We hired our car and headed out from Keflavik. The land was just stunning, harsh lava fields covered with the barest moss. Once this may have been light forest, but 1200 years of occupation since the Vikings resulted in 99% forest clearance and massive erosion, undoing thousands of years of soil creation and exposing the lava basement. There is an active program to prevent further erosion by planting purple lupins from Alaska - we drove though hours of lupin fields, neat rows of purple flowers in bloom.
Lydia was not thrilled with the biting cold of the Icelandic summer, but we had the perfect cure - a two hour soak in natural geothermal springs.
With snow-capped mountains around us and everyone wrapped up with multiple layers against the freezing wind, we stripped off and bathed in the boiling water, finding our perfect temperature with the intersection of hot and cold streams. The heat created a microclimate up in the desert mountains, with soft peat and verdant growth extending just a few metres from the heat.
Afterwards we drove past the beautiful waterfall of Seljandsfoss, which we could walk behind to see the thundering water shield us from the green fields. We also saw Skogarfoss, the largest waterfall in Europe. Past Vik we had a magnificent dinner in Kirkjubaejarklaustur (all place names in Iceland are literal translations, Kirkjubaejarklaustur literally means "church-farm-cloister"), with perfect pizza. We then retired after a very long day of driving, the sun still up lighting up the green pastures, well after midnight.