Iceland ProCruises: One last Iceland museum, world’s only about Phallology

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – No way around it. To get into that museum restroom, I was going to have to grab the door handle and pull. No problem in most places. But this is the famous Icelandic Phallological Museum. The handle on that door was shaped like – you guessed it – a penis. Two visitors behind me were waiting to see what I would do. What else? Seize the unusual opener, give it a jerk and walk …

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Iceland ProCruises: Island rises from the volcanic ashes

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Shortly after midnight on Jan. 23, 1973, residents of Heimaey were awakened by the blare of fire engine horns. Looking outside, they were horrified to see bright red lava exploding into the night sky and a wall of fire spewing from a fissure snaking across the island. Although they had long lived within the shadow of a volcano, the eruption  came as a  surprise to the 5,300 Icelandic residents. “Can you imagine …

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Iceland ProCruises: Cruising on a photogenic glacier, sharing it with a seal

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – James Bond was here. So was Batman. And Laura Croft the Tomb Raider. No wonder filmmakers have chosen this Icelandic spot for movie magic. The Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon is spectacular and considered one of the top natural wonders in a country that is known for natural treasures. Hard to believe the glacier lagoon has been here a mere 70 years or so. The lagoon was formed as the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier began to …

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Iceland ProCruises: Whales, horses, sheep, mosquitoes and crossing the Arctic Circle

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Imagine Iceland without horses, those beautiful short husky creatures that look so striking on the country’s landscape. That’s the way it was until the Vikings came more than 1,000 years ago and brought  Nordic horses with them. Although they are smaller than most horses, I learned shortly after arriving in Iceland not to call them ponies. “Icelanders get very offended when you say they are ponies,” said Hermann Guõmundsson, expedition team member …

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Iceland ProCruises: Visiting a restful lagoon and powerful waterfall

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – No way around it. I was going to get cold. Very cold. I’d have to made a mad dash in low 50-degree temperatures, still wet from the dressing room shower to that glorious warm lagoon outside. Chilling for sure. But well worth it. Since opening in 2004, Myvatn Nature Baths has proven to be a comforting experience for travelers and residents. When I saw the shore excursion listed on the Ocean Diamond’s …

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Iceland ProCruises – Searching for trolls and elves

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Stopping to take photos of elves in a flower garden in Siglufjördur, I heard a man’s voice behind me, “You must be an American.” Sure am, I replied. He nodded at my Indiana University cap as a hint that I was from the States. Then the man named Viktor began regaling me with tales of trolls and elves and how important they are in Icelandic culture. The lady who owns the flower …

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Iceland ProCruises: Walking on glacier said to be portal to center of earth

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Today we walked on a glacier. I’ve seen many glaciers in my travels but I’ve never set foot on one. This was quite an adventure. First we docked in Stykkisholmur at about 10 a.m. Those of us going on the glacier tour (and it seemed like almost all of us were) then disembarked and climbed on tour buses. One nice thing about our cruise, I’ve been told, is that we seldom leave …

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Iceland ProCruises: First evening on ship

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – It felt like one of those episodes of “American Idol” where someone is standing on stage, then starts singing. And you can hardly believe your ears. Well, that’s what happened on our first night aboard the Ocean Diamond. It was an evening gathering to meet the ship’s expedition team and learn about life onboard and our interesting itinerary. Then expedition leader Örvar Már Kristinsson opened his mouth and started to sing. The …

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Iceland ProCruises: Touring the Golden Circle in Reykjavík before boarding the Ocean Diamond

ABOARD OCEAN DIAMOND-Now this is the way to start a trip. After a two-hour flight from Indianapolis to Boston, I caught a five-hour flight to Reykjavík on Icelandair. The Icelandair plane was clean and comfy. I had a window seat which I prefer. The man seated next to me plugged in ear phones and immediately fell asleep. The plane left on time, flight attendants dimmed the lights and that was it. I awoke as we were landing …

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Trading Hoosier summer for Iceland snow aboard the Ocean Diamond

Hoosier summers are hot and humid. That’s the norm. So what I am doing pulling out sweatshirts, snuggly vests, warm black socks and fleece-lined shoes? I’m getting ready for a 10-day cruise around Iceland on the Ocean Diamond. Woo hoo! I have never been to Iceland but a well-travelled friend who went there last year told me it is now his new favorite place.  The ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, he said, is so beautiful it looks …

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