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Calendar >  Travels With TR – Atlantic & Arctic Awe – An East Coast Adventure – Log X

Travels With TR – Atlantic & Arctic Awe – An East Coast Adventure – Log X

By   /  September 9, 2022  /  No Comments


More Sea Days and Our Final Destination – Reykjavik, Iceland

TR Robertson — Day fifteen of our trip, day ten of the cruise, began with an announcement that our scheduled stop in Narsaq, Greenland, would also be cancelled due to large swells making departing the ship by tender too dangerous. This would begin a four-day time at sea as we sailed to Reykjavik, Iceland. Morning began as usual with breakfast in the Terrace Café and for me a workout in the Fitness Center and at 10:00 am taking a seat in the Insignia Lounge for a presentation by Dr. Sherry Hutt on “Disputed Cultural Treasurers”.

Dr. Hutt is a former judge, law professor, federal prosecutor, author and has trained archaeologists, law enforcement officers and attorneys on heritage cases protection. She is an internationally recognized cultural heritage preservation and repatriation expert and currently speaks on a variety of cruise lines in their enrichment programs. Today’s presentation used a power point presentation about the ongoing legal issues involving museums around the globe on what artifacts belong to whom and what artifacts should be returned to the country of origin. Recent cases in the U.S. have dealt with the return of burial items to Native American tribes that were removed from lands these peoples once lived on. On our trip to the American Museum of Natural History I saw a huge Easter Island moi and found out the real one is in storage at the museum. Easter Island wants the Moi returned. The British Museum has numerous Greek and Egyptian artifacts the countries of Greece and Egypt want returned. The legal process dealing with these issues is complicated and a long and drawn-out battle for ownership. Dr. Hutt discussed a carved chess set that is the first chess set to feature Bishop’s and a Queen, carved by a housekeeper for a bishop in Scotland in the 12th century. The chess set was discovered in the Hebrides in the 1830’s, an island off Scotland, and pieces are now in the Scottish National Museum and the British Museum. Both countries claim rights to the whole set. As the Insignia continued around the tip of Greenland, heading toward Prince Christian Sound, the rest of the day was a relaxing time on board. That evening we ate at another specialty restaurant, Toscana, a great Italian restaurant. We planned on getting up a bit earlier for the next day as the ship would be entering the Sound and the morning would be spent looking at the steep rock formations, the waterfalls, ice flows and seeing three massive glaciers. Prince Christian Sound separates mainland Greenland from the islands at the southernmost tip of Greenland. It is named after King Christian VIII of Denmark. We would enter the Sound from the Labrador Sea and 60 miles later exit to the Irminger Sea. The Sound is only 500 feet across at the narrowest point and we passed large ice flows the entire way. Mountains on each side ranged in height of 3,900 feet to 7,200 feet. There is one tiny village in the Sound, Aappilattoq, with about 100 people living in the village. It was a brisk morning so coats, ski caps and gloves were the proper attire as we sailed along. The glaciers we saw are unnamed and our ship slowed and pulled in as close as safely possible. These incredible ice sheets went down to the sea. Most of the ice floating around us was from the calving process the glaciers go through. We stayed outside for 2-3 hours seeing one amazing natural wonder after another.

Later that morning I wandered back to the Insignia Lounge to hear a question-and-answer session with Hall of Fame broadcaster Vern Lundquist. That night for dinner we ate with friends we had met on board in the Grand Dining Room. The following sea day was filled with a series of speakers, as Carolyn and I heard a presentation by Dr. Lederer on “Sea Monsters – Real and Imagined”. He spoke about the amazing variety of creatures that live in the ocean that could possibly have led to the creation of myths surrounding “monsters” living in the oceans of the world. Following Dr. Lederer, Dr. Hutt spoke about “Tales from the Sagas of Iceland”, the tales arising from the migration, deeds and heroic conquests of Vikings in this area. Mid-afternoon, Vern Lundquist spoke again telling tales from his years around a variety of sports programs. Surprisingly, he said his favorite assignment of all time wasn’t from college or professional football or the Olympics, but it was when he covered the World Swimming and Diving Championships in Rome, one of his favorite cities. On our final day at sea, as we crossed the North Atlantic getting closer to Iceland, found Carolyn watching two of the executive chefs from the Insignia present several cooking lessons, then I joined her to hear Dr. Lederer’s final presentation on “Birds and Art”. I should mention that our Trivia Team won the Team Trivia contest later that day.

Day 19 of our trip began with the Insignia docking in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at 8:oo am. The weather was overcast, with rain in the forecast as we disembarked the ship for our Golden Circle tour of Reykjavik and beyond. Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital. The city is surrounded by ice-capped peaks, waterfalls, thermal pools and geothermal vents, and volcanoes. One recent fissure recently appeared about 10 miles from the airport. The city’s name comes from the Icelandic word for smoke, reykur, and bay, vik. The first European to set foot on the island was Norseman Ingolfur Arnarson in 874 AD. The first Parliament began in 930 AD. Iceland became a republic in 1944. Today the country is known for their wide use of hydroelectric and geothermal power. Iceland is one of the most developed countries in the world and has strong economic growth.

Our first stop was to the Perlau Observatory where we were able to go to the fourth floor to get a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and surrounding bays. Our next stop was a drive through the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then a visit to a large souvenir store, and later a walk through the huge fault of the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates walking through the Almannagja Canyon. We also walked down to overlooks of the impressive Gullfoss Falls, part of the Hvita River. It was a bit rainy and very windy, making using umbrellas a challenge. The lava fields around this area date back some 10,000 years. Our guide pointed out the formation in this area that was the site of the first Parliament, back to the 900’s, where chieftains would meet to establish laws. Our lunch stop was in a very nice hotel, also across from another large souvenir shop. A lengthy drive back to the ship and our final night on board before departing the next morning.

Carolyn had arranged for us to take a bus shuttle from the ship to the Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport. We found this airport very understaffed and disorganized for the number of tourists they were dealing with. We were flying United, heading to Chicago to go through customs, then boarding a domestic flight to San Diego. Chicago was also a little confusing as they kept changing the baggage turnstiles our luggage would appear on. We only had about an hour and a half to retrieve our luggage, go through TSA check, customs check, turn our luggage back into United for flight to San Diego, then find the correct tram that runs around O’Hara to take us to the domestic side, go back through an incredibly slow security check-in and walk a distance to get to our boarding area. We made it about 10 minutes before the plane started boarding. An extra hour would have been nice to have had, but after a hectic return to the states, we made it home and now can reflect on a tremendous vacation and fun visits to places we had never seen before.

We saw some incredible parts of the U.S. and other countries we had never seen before in this 20-day vacation. It was a lengthy time to be away from home, a little tiring but a great way to begin our travels to places we have never been before.


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  • Published: 7 months ago on September 9, 2022
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  • Last Modified: September 9, 2022 @ 1:27 am
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