31 March 2008

Friday, March 21

After our overnight flight from JFK to Iceland, we headed straight to the most amazing hot springs-natural spa in the world: the Blue Lagoon. As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, so is the Blue Lagoon to Iceland. This huge spa was very relaxing: it's basically like an oversized hot tub with a waterfall, mud-mask, steam cave, and people from all over the world. We actually could see it from the plane on the way home: it's that huge! The steam steadily streams up into the sky.

After arriving at our Reykjavik lodging (an SDA elementary school), we took a walk down by the water. It was a gorgeous day.

Sabbath, March 22

We attended and performed at the SDA Church in Reykjavik, Iceland on Sabbath. Alban got to play the organ as well. Then we stopped at the tallest church in Iceland for some pictures and ended up with an impromptu performance. The evening found us wandering the streets of Reykjavik and watching the aurora borealis.

The view of Reykjavik from the top of Iceland's tallest church. The state religion of all the Scandinavian countries is Lutheran, although only about 4% of the population regularly attend church.

Walking the streets of Reykjavik at night. We found the city to be much smaller than expected and rather quiet.

Sunday, March 23

We spent a day in Iceland touring the Golden Circle, which includes the oldest Parliament in the world called Thingvellir (founded by Vikings), an amazing waterfall called Gulfoss, and the world's most reliable geyser.

This is apparently the president of Iceland's (?) summer home.

You're technically not supposed to throw coins in the water, but it is supposed to bring you good luck, and so thousands of coins are dropped to the bottom. We were entranced by the treasure trove.

Alban jumped out to this island in an attempt to retrieve some of the treasure, but alas, he couldn't reach any.

Gulfoss: an immense waterfall, made more impressive by the frozen mist that clings to the walls of the rocks. These pictures don't show how huge it actually is. It was quite icy and a bit dangerous in places.

These are pictures of the geyser field. The world's most reliable geyser erupts here approximately every 3 minutes. We saw it blow about 4 times.

This is a huge volcanic crater where apparently Bjork performed a concert a few years ago. It's quite deep and steep.

Monday, March 24

Our first Finland performance was in the Rock Cathedral, Helsinki.

Walking around Helsinki, Finland. It's a great city: we loved it. Apparently there aren't many foreigners in Finland. When we asked our bus driver where we could find Thai or Indian food, he told us that they don't have a large international population, so there aren't many international restaurants.

Helsinki, Finland.

A sculpture dedicated to Sibelius, Finnish composer. If you look at Be Still, My Soul in your hymnal, you might recognize some of his work.

Tuesday, March 25

The view from our rooms at Toivonlinna Junior College in Finland.

Turku Castle, Finland.

A tapestry hanging in Turku Castle.

Walking around Turku, Finland.