Trip to the Land of Fire and Ice
Living in Europe and US, we were trying to find a mid-point to meet. Atlantic ocean as wonderful as it maybe makes it quite hard (distance/time wise) to get to Europe or further east. But to our rescue came this little wonderland that was sitting in our bucket list for the future must visit places. After an exhausting research, we found some amazing airline deals (at least I did! US has some amazing connections to Reykjavik from major cities. In fact it cost almost the same time and money for both of us), to explore the land of fire and ice. We were so excited for our summer 2018 adventure.
- Out of the world experience
Iceland truly gives you the feeling of walking in a different planet. Of all the places we have been, we definitely felt Iceland is unique. A place where the atmosphere is freezing but the ground boiling at 100 degrees (hot springs!). A couple of days in this land and we wouldn’t be surprised if a dinosaur showed up🐱🐉. Road tripping in Icelandic landscapes, your mind and soul experience incredible moments connecting with nature. Iceland is still connected with old traditions in many ways, for example we found the oldest breed of horses still exist since the time of Vikings. Even the local sheep are in “Nirvana” mode and if you stop to stare at them, they make you feel you are the odd one there. I can keep talking about this (N)iceland but you have to go there in person to take it all in and experience the black sand, red pebbles, pure water, fresh air, volcanic ashes, basalt columns and secret messages from Hidden people left for you..
Did you know? Vikings named Iceland to re-direct their enemies to Greenland which was actually “Ice”land . It should be vice versa in literal forms 🙂
2. Checking off bucket list items
This is one place I felt we crossed out a lot of items from our list in a short span of time. If you have any of these in your list, you know where to go.
- Tasting glacier water
- Dip in Blue lagoon
- Chasing rainbows
- Finding hidden waterfalls
- Ring road long drive
- Icelandic horse petting (they are the most handsome🐴 )
- Visit the Geysir and watch it erupt every 7 minutes
- Northern lights if you are lucky
- Taking the gravel roads to unveil serene landscapes. You cannot expect what you will find because it’s not marked on Google maps. So you are really in for a surprise depending on the F road you take 🤸🏽♀️
- Being in 2 places at once, in this case 2 continents. You can dive in the Þingvellir National Park connecting the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
- “Game of Thrones” vibe. You can spot a lot of landscapes from the set. They have professional tours but you can research it and mark it on your maps before you hit the road.
Did you know? The Icelandic police don’t carry guns. Crime in Iceland is very low and violent crime is practically nonexistent.
3. Food! FooD! FoOD!
Like us, if you thought what can an island nation close to the Arctic can offer, you are in for a food surprise in Iceland. From a simple
The hot dogs are a must try. They are easily available at any gas station store (Do not forget to add crispy onions to your hot dog while you are at it!). Most of the places offer delicious lamb soup or sea food soup. It makes you feel warm after an adventurous long summer day. Or try one of Icelandic traditional food we found in Hvolsvöllur, slow roasted lamb (hangikjöt) which goes great with butter on dark rye bread or also in sandwiches. Hot cider and hot chocolates were a treat time to time. And then there is always the opportunity to fill yourself with pure glacier water which satisfies you enough not to look for solid food!
Did you know? This is a personal experience we heard from one of our airbnb host. Most of the top quality Arctic Char and natural spring water are exported from Iceland to Europe and USA. About 15 years ago, they used to have sea food at least 4 times a week when growing up. But now they can only afford it once or twice a week. The famous Blue lagoon used to be free entrance and bottled spring water was something they filled in the open when they drove by. Downside of Globalization
4. Landscape Switch
You would have heard this a lot before, but we cannot stress enough on how fast the scenery changes in Iceland. Every time I look at my phone to change a song/check for directions, I look up to a whole new scenery in front of my eyes. And every single time I had to look back to see the scenery that just passed by and tell myself that it’s real. It is simply MIND BLOWING!!! There are no forests in Iceland, which explains the miles and miles of grass fields or moss-covered lava rocks that stretch out to the horizon in front of you. It is very calming and almost surreal…
Did you know? Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland is the world’s northernmost capital city.
5. Worth every penny!
(N)Iceland is not cheap. With a little research, you can find cheap flights and car rental but the gas, eating out and stay could get quite expensive. We balanced our meals and accommodation between minimal and luxury options. For example we would stock up in grocery stores for breakfast and snacks/one meal per day and treat ourselves with a lavish dinner at restaurants. We stayed in hostels in the cities and splurged on a country house with horse farm close to nature. We are flexible travelers. That definitely came in handy in Iceland. I think as travelers it becomes part of you to enjoy and absorb the experience as it comes ❤
When it comes to experiencing nature, Iceland is a geological paradise. You can research and plan all you want, Iceland will give you all of that and much more. It has definitely topped our list. It pushed the procrastinator in us to actually pen it down. So you can imagine what an impact it made on us.