September 19, 2016 |
'Iceland far exceeded my expectations," I told a friend after I returned from a seven-day excursion with my family in and around Reykjavik, the world's northernmost city. My expectations were pretty low. My husband, a geologist, spent months researching this vacation and effervescing about volcanoes, lava fields, glaciers, and tectonic wonders. I spent an equal amount of time dreading those things. I worried the volcanoes would erupt mid-climb, lava fields would prove tiresome, and a place called Iceland would just be cold.
February 1, 2016 |
KOPAVOGUR, Iceland - In this small city just south of the capital Reykjavik, a two-lane street in a quiet residential area abruptly loops and narrows to avoid a small hill dotted with lichen-speckled rocks. The diversion seems inexplicable, but anyone around here will tell you the reason: Elves live in those rocks. There are many such spots in Iceland - houses with distorted walls, narrowed driveways, and roads suddenly split in two - all to accommodate the huldufolk , or "hidden people," Icelanders name for elves.
January 3, 2016 |
Feodor Pitcairn had been to Iceland seven times with his trusty Hasselblad cameras, capturing a wild landscape of glaciers, steaming geothermal gases, and vivid green mosses. But what he really wanted was an active volcano. Pitcairn, of Bryn Athyn, had just about given up when he got the call in late August 2014. Within days he was leaning out the side of a helicopter, orange lava spurting below. Images from that trip and the others are featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington through April 2017.
December 28, 2015 |
'A three-hour tour? On a boat?" my brother asked with a raised eyebrow. "What could possibly go wrong?" He walked toward the gangplank ahead of the rest of our group of six, softly humming the Gilligan's Island theme song. A brisk week in November found my brothers and me, along with our significant others, trekking around Iceland in search of culture and relaxation - but mostly, the elusive and entrancing aurora borealis, the Northern Lights. We hadn't traveled together since we were kids, and I felt that seeing something really magical together would help make up for lost time.
October 21, 2015 |
Fengur and Score were former show horses from Iceland. They loved the cold, their caretaker said. When it snowed, they rolled around in it like dogs, bucking and rearing and snorting. Fen was more reserved. He was older, 19, black and a former champion stallion. Score, 15 and chestnut, was mischievous, running off for miles if you let him. Finally, their favorite season was here. Sunday was the second day of the winter schedule, so Fen and Score started the night in their Bucks County stable instead of wandering around outside.
May 4, 2015 |
"Want to go to Iceland?" I asked my husband and 14-year-old daughter. She immediately said yes, but my husband looked at me quizzically and asked, "Why Iceland?" I responded, "Why not?" I had gotten a brochure from my alma mater, detailing an "Iceland Weekend Getaway" scheduled during my daughter's spring break in March. She had never been to Europe; this would be a good opportunity to get her feet wet. But I wasn't sure how being vegetarians would go over in Iceland, which is known for unusual food options such as rotten shark and puffin.
February 23, 2015 |
When I told my Norwegian friend Lise that we were going to Iceland for New Year's Eve, she questioned my sanity. In contrast to its nearly unlimited daylight in the summer, in the midst of winter, Iceland relishes about four hours of sunlight a day. Its skies change from rain to sleet to snow in a blink, and the ground is frequently so icy that you need to add metal tracks to your boots. But even in winter, Iceland provides extraordinary vistas of ice-covered lava fields; natural hot springs as prevalent as community swimming pools; seafood so fresh it may have been caught that morning; breathtaking geysers that entertain every few minutes; tap water so clean it makes bottled water feel, well, foreign; waterfalls so majestic as to be humbling; and the piece de resistance: a New Year's Eve display of bonfires and fireworks like nowhere else in the world.
September 3, 2014 |
Symphony orchestras draw great cachet from their geographical homes: Any group with Vienna, Berlin, or Amsterdam in its name is going to command immediate attention from audiences, even if those cities' third-tier orchestras would be lucky to match Scranton's Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. So can an orchestra from Turkey, Iceland, or Lapland hope to be noticed at the world's busiest orchestra festival, the summertime BBC Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall? Actually, it can. One of this year's Proms winners seems to be the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra.
July 2, 2014 |
I went to the land of the ice and snow with the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. Touching down in Reykjavik, Iceland, days before the summer solstice, I couldn't but echo Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," with Robert Plant's ululations accompanied by images of animated kittens on a Viking ship from a viral video etched in my Internet-addled brain. I was in the northernmost capital in the world along with a WXPN World Café Live Travel Adventure. XPN's cultural trips have previously gone to Cuba, Brazil, New Orleans, and other locales, bringing members along for the recording of the David Dye-hosted World Café "Sense of Place" series.
July 6, 2013 |
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Icelandic lawmakers introduced a proposal in Parliament on Thursday to grant immediate citizenship to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, but the proposal received limited support. Ogmundur Jonasson, whose liberal Left-Green Party is backing the proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee. Six members of minority parties were in favor out of Parliament's 63 members Thursday - the last day before summer recess.