Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth becomes a bit more believable once you’ve seen this geologically youthful island steaming with latent energy. Yesterday afternoon I took the frigid plunge into ice cold water after swimming in one of the city’s outdoor swimming pools heated with geothermal energy. There aren’t so many truly sunny summer days here and we’ve enjoyed two. Tomorrow a lot of blonde Icelanders will be feeling mighty sunburnt! Even streets and driveways in Reyjkavik are heated with this green energy source, which makes me wish for some steamy vents in the Maine countryside, too.
Along with the waterfall and a geyser, we (some new friends and I in a rental car) visited Thingvellir National Park, site of the first Viking legislative and judicial assemblies, beginning in 930 A.D. Faint impressions in the ground gave mute evidence to the temporary booths that housed the gathering year after year for centuries.
For Christmas, Mom gave me just what I was dreaming of, a ride on an Icelandic horse. Dad went along, too, on one of these sturdy, well-tempered small horses, purebred from the earliest Nordic Viking settlers. The population is kept totally isolated and, as a result, is free of all equine diseases. Even championship horses, taken abroad for competitions, can sadly never return to their native country.