1 This is the Blue Lagoon and the geothermal power plant that sends in steamy seawater can be seen in the distance. It's too hot to swim in this section, but where you are allowed, the fluorescent blue pool of water is close to 104°F or 40°C.
2 Having fun with silica mud in the Blue Lagoon. The mineral-rich water is believed to have curative powers for many skin ailments, including psoriasis.
3 The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions and it was an incredible way to start our vacation.
4 In the evening, we checked out the annual Reykjavik Culture Night. With the midnight sun still keeping things light for almost 24 hours, Reykjavíkites fill the streets to celebrate Iceland’s vibrant culture well into the early hours.
5 All the people in line behind me in the previous photo were waiting to buy hot dogs. Icelanders love hot dogs! They're served in a bun above a layer of fried onions with a mayonnaise-based sauce and sweet mustard on top.
6 This is Harpa, a new concert hall in Reykjavik. The lit facade of the building was designed by Ólafur Elíasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist known for sculptures and large-scale installation art.
7 On Day 2, we checked out the city and went on a whale watching tour. But first, we bought smoothies from this charming bakery.
8 Bad Taste is an important record store/label in Iceland, home to the Sugarcubes and Sigur Rós, Icelandic alternative rock bands.
9 Hallgrímskirkja, designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson, is the largest church in Iceland. I had a hard time getting the entire structure in one shot. It was designed to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland's landscape.
10 A view of Reykjavik from the observation deck of Hallgrímskirkja. Several local buildings are sided with brightly colored aluminum - the country's abundance of geothermal energy has led to its lucrative smelting industry.
11 The next morning we had breakfast at Prikid, one of the city's oldest coffee houses. In the glass is skyr, a thick, yogurt-like dairy product. Yum! We also enjoyed exquisite lamb and seafood while in Iceland.
12 We rented a car for some sightseeing. First stop - Pingvellir National Park, where we saw some amazing rock formations.
13 I loved the mossy rocks in this part of Pingvellir.
14 An old grave marker at Pingvellir of someone born in 1796 and died in 1872
15 The next stop was Geysir, one of the earliest documented geysers, which has been active for approximately 10,000 years. Here I am in front of nearby Strokkur, which erupts much more frequently than Geysir.
16 Litli-Geysir is a hole in the ground with boiling hot water.
17 The last stop of the day was Iceland's famous Gulfoss waterfall. The river plunges into a crevice 105-ft or 32-m deep. Approaching the falls, the crevice is obscured, giving the illusion that the river simply ends.
18 A short rope barrier was all that separated me from the mighty Gullfoss.
19 We drove past several sheep, cow, and horse farms on our way back to Reykjavik. Many Icelandic farmers cover their hay bales in white plastic, which looked, to me, like a field of giant marshmallows.
20 On Day 4, we woke up early to hike across a 'tongue' of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. This farm, at the foot of the volcano that erupted last year, was one of the hardest hit by ash and glacial flooding.
21 A herd of Icelandic horses were grazing on the side of this mountain near Eyjafjallajökull. To protect these unique, smallish horses from disease, Icelandic law forbids horses from being imported and exported ones may not return.
22 Boot crampons were required in order to grip the icy surface. The ice axe also came in handy when climbing across steep slopes. The tour was called 'Take a Walk on the Ice Side.'
23 The ice in this scary sinkhole was the prettiest shade of blue.
24 A very scenic stretch of the glacier - The black on the ice is ash is from last year's eruption.
25 On our last full day, we decided to rent a car again and journey to Snæfellsjökull, a huge volcano at the tip of Snæfellsnes penninsula and an inspiration for Jules Verne's 'A Journey to the Center of the Earth.'
26 A nice view of Snæfellsjökull
27 While exploring Snæfellsnes penninsula, we came upon this little waterfall. In some areas, the ground was covered with wild blueberry shrubs.
28 Moss and lichen grow in abundance upon the lava fields.
29 I couldn't resist the softness of the moss.
30 Driving back to Reykjavik, the waning daylight turned the mountains a pretty shade of mauve.