The pilot announced the weather as we landed in Reykjavik, Iceland: grey, rainy, and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. I grimaced briefly, then zipped my sweatshirt jacket up to my chin and headed for the bus that would drop me off at the Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon…to go swimming!
Never a fan of cold weather, I was more than a little apprehensive about peeling down to a swimsuit in the chilly morning air. Fortunately, the Blue Lagoon had invited me to experience their Luxury Package, which included use of the Exclusive Lounge, with its fireplace, reclining chairs, snack bar, and direct access to the lagoon. I glanced longingly at the fireplace, then gingerly walked down the interior steps into the water. By the time I had parted the plastic strips hanging over the doorway leading to the lagoon, I was cocooned in thermal water up to my chin.
The Blue Lagoon was created when Iceland Power drilled into deep underground reservoirs of water that is heated to 464 degrees Fahrenheit (240 degrees Celsius) by underlying volcanic activity. After using the super heated water to generate geothermal power, they dumped it into lava fields next to the plant. Rather than seeping into the ground as expected, the water stayed on top and created the lagoon. Initially, a few people started sneaking into the site at night but when word got out, they realized its potential for a tourist attraction. Today Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Blesi and Fata geysers at Geysir Hot Springs in Iceland. Blesi, the deep azure blue hot springs at the left is the cooler of the two. It rarely erupts these days. Fata (right), the hotter of the two, still erupts occasionally, producing a diagonal spout that continues for an extraordinarily long period of time. The two are among a collection of geysers and hot springs that lie in a lower temperature geothermal field on the Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Located on the seafront in Reykjavik, Iceland, The Sun Voyager sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason is an ode to the sun and undiscovered territory. It was created by the artist to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Reykjavik and unveiled on the city’s birthday in 1990. The aluminum ship seems to float on air as it reaches out to the sea. Many observers mistake the piece as a representation of a Viking ship, however the artist made it very clear before he died that this impression is Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavik, Iceland was only half finished when the financial crisis hit in 2008. The crash brought all construction to a halt, threatening to make the facility a gigantic symbol of Iceland’s economic collapse. In early 2009, the Icelandic government and the City of Reykjavik made the courageous decision to complete the project. Since opening its doors in May 2011, Harpa has received millions of visitors and hosted performers Read More
Whenever he needed supplies, Eddie Owens Martin would dress up in drag queen regalia, open the doors of his beat-up old station wagon, and call his cats. Dozens would emerge from every corner of the yard and hop in for the short ride to Buena Vista, Georgia. In town, the cats would scatter to the four directions until Martin had finished his business. Once again he would call for the cats, who dutifully hopped in for the return journey.
Martin, who was better known as Saint EOM by then, had spent most of his youth wandering the streets of New York City. He made pocket change by telling fortunes, painting portraits of his fellow drag queens, and working as a con artist. Without the high fever that gripped him one cold winter day, he might have died on the streets, unknown and bound for a pauper’s grave.
In his delirium, Martin was visited by a tall being from another world. The alien introduced himself as a Pasaquan and told Martin to change his ways or he would die. He also instructed him to return to his childhood home in Georgia and build a place to honor the Pasaquan race.
Martin changed his name to St. EOM and, around 1955, moved into the Buena Vista house left to him by his late mother. For the next 30+ years, using bricks and stones from the site, he created a complex of six major structures connected by a series of painted masonry walls, colorful concrete sculptures, and an assortment of landscape elements. Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Not so many years ago, downtown Columbus, Georgia, was a decaying, dilapidated mill town, with little hope for renewal. Some thought it best to just tear it down and start over. But a group of visionary townsfolk thought otherwise. They banded together to raise more than one million dollars to revitalize their blighted downtown. Today Columbus is the hub of arts and culture in the Southeast, and its RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is the crown jewel around which Columbus rose from the ashes. Read More