Iceland: A Land of Fire and Ice

14478473_1149497388438091_7163792479479660544_n1 If I could describe Iceland in a word, it would be breathtaking!

The island, though small, has a lot to offer. From delicious food to incredible landscape with volcanoes, lava fields, and geysers, there is a lot that you won’t find anywhere else.

Another fascinated aspect of the island is the extreme contrast of its environment. Something I was able to experience when I did the Golden Circle tour, which is a route of about 100 miles going from Reykjavík to the south end of the country and back.

Each stop along the road had something completely different to offer. One minute I was exploring the glacial lake, and just a few miles down the road there were geysers springs steaming hot water into the air.   Iceland is indeed a land of fire and ice!

I must say that at first I was worried there was not going to be much for me to do. Reykjavík is quite small compared to a big city like Boston. However, Iceland beats Boston at one thing, and that is their erratic weather conditions.

I remember during my first day in the island I experienced all kinds of weather. The rays of sunlight woke me up in the morning. By the time I was done with my morning exploring Laugavegur, which the main shopping street in Reykjavík, it was foggy and started to snow.

I decided to stop by a coffee shop for a hot chocolate and to relax a bit. By the time I was ready to leave, it started to rain. At that point, I was waiting for some hail. However, I happily ended my day catching the beautiful sunset from the observation deck of Perlan. There is an old Icelandic saying that goes: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!”

Besides the very unpredictable weather, one thing would often hear people say is that Iceland is very expensive. It is indeed! However, it has more to do with the location of the island than its economic situation.

Iceland is an isolated country in the middle of the ocean. Such isolation is bad. Because of the cold climate, they cannot cultivate the land and everything is imported. As a result, life is quite expensive in Iceland.

On the other hand, the isolation and the lack of external influence is great, because that is how Iceland is able to conserve its unique culture.

What captivates me the most about Iceland is the people.

I’ve never traveled anywhere else before where everyone seems so pleasant to talk to, and so willing to help.

One day, I was trying to make a call using a public phone. There was a prompt message in Icelandic that obviously,

I couldn’t understand.

I said under my breath, “I wish there was someone who spoke Icelandic”.

Some guy immediately came running toward me. I didn’t say it loud enough for anyone to hear. He just saw that I was struggling to make the call and wanted to help.

I’ve read somewhere that Iceland is considered the third happiest country in the world, and whoever wrote it, was absolutely right!

The country being this small is the key to their happiness. There is no room for segregation. That’s why gay pride is like a national holiday in Iceland.

The country is too small to be divided.

Icelanders come together under one land, one nation, one language. They happily do so, because they are happy people.

 


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