After the excitement of the Golden Circle tour consisting of Gulfoss, Strokkur Geyser, and Þingvellir National Park, we came to the last item on the itinerary for the day before checking in to the Hotel Hekla for the night.

Fridheimar Greenhouse Cultivation Centre, Iceland

Our last destination for the day – Fridheimar Greenhouse Cultivation Centre, which comprises of a greenhouse and a horse breeding farm.  The owners of Fridheimar consist of a handsome husband and wife team – he takes care of the horses while she runs the Greenhouse.

An Indoor Tomato Farm

The climate in Iceland is not suitable for agriculture, so in order to reduce their reliance on imports, Icelanders started building greenhouses, harnessing geothermal energy from the earth (very much like that from Deildartunguhver to power them.  At night, the glow emitting from these greenhouses are easily mistaken for the Northern Lights!

Rows and rows of tomatoes grown in artificial lighting all year round. We were given free rein to roam around in the large greenhouse.

Pesticide-free tomatoes all in different stages of growth.  Pests are removed with biological controls.

External ‘help’ in the form of bumble bees are needed to help in pollination and propagation of the tomatoes, since they are grown indoors.

We get a free tomato tasting session as well!  Yummy.

The Iconic Icelandic Horse

When settlers in the form of the Vikings came to Iceland before the year 1000AD, they brought not only sheep and household items on their small sailing vessels.  Horses joined the dangerous trip across the Northern Seas. Soon, with the lack of introduction of other species of horses, the Icelandic horses developed into a unique breed of its own.

The Icelandic horse is a small, sturdy breed originating from Scandinavia. Smaller in stature as compared to other breeds, it reaches to an average height of about 138cm.  Sure footed with a friendly and willing temperament, it can be tough and resilient in its physical strength, and is overall an independent and gregarious animal.

Besides their stature, Icelandic horses are unique in that they have 2 additional gaits, known as tolt and pace. Tolt is a four-beat lateral gait with only one foot carrying the weight at a time, providing a smooth and comfortable ride on long distances.  The pace is a fast two-beat lateral gait used for racing over short distances.

We were indeed privileged to witness a live demonstration of all the gaits of the Icelandic horse.

There are plenty of wild horses grazing in the meadows in herds and braving the tough weather in Iceland. In fact, Icelandic horses grow a winter coat when the temperature gets too low.  Though we didn’t have a chance to get close to a wild horse, at least, we got to see and pet the friendly Icelandic horses bred at Fridheimar.

Getting up close and personal with the Icelandic horse.

Our visit to Fridheimar Greenhouse cultivation centre wraps up a most interesting and informative day.  And then we were off to our accommodation for the night – Hotel Hekla.

Fridheimar Greenhouse Cultivation Centre

http://www.fridheimar.is/en

Join us next as we check out Hotel Hekla.

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