Iceland - a short essay on my travels in Iceland
by James K. Sayre
17 July 2005
Iceland was the first country that we studied in fourth-grade geography class and it made a big impression on my young mind. After that, a chance to visit Iceland was always a small dream. On the return flight home from a business trip to England in November, 1978, I got my chance to visit Iceland. We were on an overnight non-stop Pan Am 747 flight from London to San Francisco, when I noticed, from watching the night skies, that we seemed to have turned around. I mentioned this to the stewardess. A couple of minutes later, the captain announced that the plane had lost power in one engine, and that as a precaution, we were flying back to and landing at Iceland.
We landed at the Keflavik airport without further incident and we were bused into Reykjavik where we were put up in a first-class hotel. The next morning, after a hearty Scandinavian breakfast, we were treated to a bus tour which included a visit to some greenhouses and the original Geysir. This Geysir had been so weakened by the massive use of underground steam and hot water supplies to heat the homes and businesses of Reykjavik, that a boxful of detergent was necessary to coax the Geysir into eruption.
Iceland had a dark, stark, volcanic and almost treeless landscape that seemed almost eerie. Just before leaving, I stopped at the duty-free shop and bought a nice dark woolen Icelandic blanket and several skeins of beautiful dark-colored Icelandic wool yarn (which a former girlfriend later crocheted into a nice blanket). Finally, with a replacement 747, Pan Am flew us back to San Francisco and the workaday world. A four-grader's dream come true, a mere quarter-of-a-century later.
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