A recap of our all-too-brief time in Iceland, expressed in numbers. And pictures. (And words.)
2.5 – Number of days we spent in Iceland.
0.125 – Percent of the country we were able to visit in this time.
1 – Grains of salt with which you should therefore take any opinions, positive or negative, expressed below.
11:30 – Time of night at which we arrived, which was five minutes before the official sunset for the day, and not all that long before 3:30 – time in the morning at which sunrise officially began. However… 0 – Minutes of total darkness were experienced.
29 – Waking minutes of our stay during which it wasn’t raining.
2 – Continental plates that bisect Iceland’s interior; also the number of centimeters by which they drift apart each year. A narrow divide separates the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates, and nowhere is it better visible than in Þingvellir. Standing here, between these two violent land masses in the vast rift valley, was truly one of the highlights of the trip.
50 – Estimated (by me) percent of people in North America and Europe who take comfort in knowing they are ever so slowly drifting apart from one another.
15 – Estimated (by me) percent of every króna spent on purchases at a tomato farm, returned in kickbacks to tour companies who include a tomato farm on their tour of Iceland’s “Golden Circle” of natural wonders. OK, so the tomatoes are in a greenhouse incubated using geothermal heat, which is quite interesting (“kinda neat”, to those on the North American plate), but seriously… did we need to stop at a tomato greenhouse? “Yes,” says Meg, who enjoyed the hearty fresh tomato soup, and liked the smell of fresh tomatoes so much she (rather weirdly, I thought) rubbed the plants to convey their scent onto her hands for the day.
3 – Average number of minutes spent at intersections bobbing our heads up and down looking at a map then a street name, back to the map, back to the street name, then up and down again, and again, before feeling comfortable that we were on the right street.
8 – Average number of minutes between eruptions like this one, rumbling out of the earth’s belly and shooting up into the air at Geysir, the place from which all similar features in the world take their name.
38 – Temperature in degrees centigrade (that’s 100 balmy Fahrenheit degrees for people on the North American plate) of the water in the famous Blue Lagoon, where we spent a very welcome, languorous afternoon. I even let Meg put healing silica mud all over my face, but I would never admit that in public.
38 million – tons of water that flow over Gulfoss each day, making it far and away Europe’s most powerful waterfall. On days like we had at Gulfoss, the falls work in concert with the clouds above to create a truly soaking experience for visitors.
360 – Degrees in a circle. We closed the loop on our European adventure at the same airport where it all began on our connecting flight to Paris — Iceland’s Keflavik Airport — before making our way back to the USA for the second leg of our journey. Stay tuned…