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Reykjavik, Iceland

1-800-845-1717

Awaiting Your Return From Shore

The fire, frost and water symbolized by the red, white and blue of Icelandís flag are manifested in this northern land. The country is located so far north that parts of it touch the Arctic Circle where ice and snow defy penetration by modern civilization. Volcanoes on occasion spew forth rivers of glowing lava. Yet Icelandís name is something of a misnomer; thick tundra and mountain flowers cover the country in the summer, when warm ocean currents produce a climate similar to that of the northern United States.

As living evidence of the expanding Atlantic Rift, 20-million-year-old Iceland widens almost an inch a year. Great rifts, boiling water and new earth are the results of this creative process. The island was inhabited briefly during the 8th century by Irish hermits; permanent settlement began in 874 when a Norwegian named Ingolf Arnarson arrived at present-day Reykjavik. In 930, the settlers formed a legislature, the Althing, creating the Commonwealth of Iceland.

From the 10th to the 14th centuries, Iceland developed a literary form, the Icelandic Saga, which spread throughout the Nordic culture and into the English and German languages. It was used to spin stories of the gods, record historic events and glorify heroes.

Reykjavik, or Smoky Bay, was so named in 874 A.D. by Ingolf Arnarson when he sighted the numerous hot springs on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. He built a cabin here 900 years before Reykjavik was incorporated. Today this remarkably pollution-free city on Faxa Bay is a major seaport, the capital of Iceland and home to about half of the countryís 270,000 people. Wrapped around a sweeping bay, Reykjavik has managed to retain its charming Old-World atmosphere. A pastiche of red-blue-and green-roofed houses together with the tall gray tower of Hallgrimís Church dominate the skyline. In the Old Town, many of the wooden buildings have been lovingly restored and stand side by side with modern timber and concrete structures. Few chimneys are seen as heat is almost exclusively supplied by steam piped from the nearby hot springs.

There are fine museums and art galleries; historic pubs present a hub of activity in late afternoon. The unusual, beautiful countryside outside of Reykjavik includes such natural wonders as volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, mountains and spectacular waterfalls.

Awaiting Your Return From Shore

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Silversea Cruises (1-800-845-1717)

Silversea Cruises (1-800-845-1717)

Silversea Cruises (1-800-845-1717)

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