Iceland / by Bill Frakes


Any place where more than half of the population believes in fairies, and where they advertise themselves as the land of seals and poets--yet the landscape and people are incredibly reminiscent of the best of the American west--is a place I can't help but love. Great music on the radio didn't hurt my mood either, nor did the excellent coffee.  Outside of Portland, and maybe Seattle, why doesn't the USA have the same wonderfully prepared coffee I always find in Europe?   Sure, most US cities have a great coffee shop, but you have to search for it.  Here, it's everywhere.

The land is gorgeous.  Geysers, snow covered mountains and beaches within sight of each other.......not to mention the delicious thermal spring baths.  Peter Brodin from Nikon Nordic took us straight to Blue Lagoon Wednesday after we got off the plane - the perfect way to relax after a long journey across the Atlantic. The warm water coupled with the chilly air and shocking landscape was refreshing in an uncommon way.

Then yesterday Laura and I took a road trip east to Geysir - a small town about an hour and a half outside Reykjavik that consists of a gas station, a motel and the world's largest geyser. Geysir, the geyser (they are clever with names here)  has not erupted since 2000, but when it does it is twice the size of Old Faithful in Yellowstone. However, a smaller geyser 50 yards away called Strokkur erupts every 8 to 10 minutes and, unlike Yellowstone, Laura and I were the only people there to enjoy it. Watching something like that is like watching the world begin. It's beautiful in a primordial way.

After the sweltering heat, and the intensity of the Kentucky Derby, the chill air and thermal hot springs of Reykjavik have been an extremely pleasant salve.

Just the right tonic to revive me before I head to Baltimore to continue to document the quest for a horse racing triple crown at the Preakness Stakes.