Iceland . . . the Land of Fire and Ice is a country full of contrasts. From steamy hot springs to top-notch spas, spectacular scenery to art museums, this unique land is the perfect place to relax, recharge, and explore. Legends say that the ancient gods themselves guided Iceland's first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, to make his home in Reykjavik ("Smoky Bay"), named after the geothermal steam he saw. Today this geothermal energy heats homes and outdoor swimming pools throughout the city - a pollution-free energy source that leaves the air outstandingly fresh, clean and clear.
On this exciting long weekend getaway, you will dine on Icelandic specialties, including delicious seafood, ocean-fresh from the morning's catch, highland lamb, and unusual varieties of game. It's purely natural food imaginatively served to delight the most discerning of diners. Reykjavik is also renowned as one of Europe's hottest nightspots, where the action in the friendly pub and club scene lasts right through the long winter nights.
But perhaps the greatest draw is the Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights. This is the best time of year to see them because it has to be totally dark to get the best effect - and this is a country where the sun never fully sets in the summer! In the evening of our arrival day, we'll head out to try and see the real thing (weather permitting). If the weather doesn't cooperate with us we'll try again the next night . . and the next.
We will stay in the capital city, Reykjavik, to experience the city's vibrant culture, learn about the region's Viking heritage, and explore the unbelievable natural landscape, including magnificent waterfalls, lava fields, glaciers, and (with luck) the Northern Lights.
A Long Weekend Getaway to Reykjavik
Day 1: Evening departure to Iceland
Day 2: Early arrival in Reykjavik
Day 3: Journey to Vik
Day 4: Explore the capital city of Reykjavik
Day 5: Blue Lagoon excursion and departure from Iceland
Dr. Erich C. Osterberg is Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College. His overarching research objective is to understand how and why Earth's environment changed in the past, and is changing today, so we can more accurately predict how it will change in the future. His specialty is creating records of past climate change and air pollution by analyzing chemical markers preserved in glacier ice cores. He is particularly interested in how glaciers responded to warm periods in the past, as this provides an example of how glaciers and sea level may respond to future global warming.