It was only few years back when I did not even bother to see where this small country is located on world-map. My attention was drawn when I read that it has the highest happiest quotient and then saw those unbelievable landscape photographs.
Finally, I was lucky to get a week-long vacation in last August to Iceland. There are hundreds of blogs and articles, travel journals about tourism on internet. So, I have decided to list down the most appealing aspects that defines Iceland in my eyes.
Photo courtesy: Mihir Y. C.
The moment we get out of Reykjavik, every single blink of my eye is national geographic picture. This land is so young with so many active geothermal areas and volcano.
I almost felt that I was actually on some another planet with strange terrain and new inhabitants.
Refreshing waterfalls like Gulfoss and Skogafoss with vivid rainbow colors (actually double rainbow) gave us that heavenly feeling I will never ever forget in my life. It was kind of strange and surprising to pass by a road which has steep mountain with waterfall on one side and then a beach on the other side. ‘The land of fire and ice’ in a true sense, contrasting to places like Geyser, there is a biggest glacier of Europe in Iceland, Vatnajökull glacier.
Ever changing weather
‘If you don’t like the weather, wait for 5 minutes’ and this saying stands perfectly. While the place is always windy, we experienced cloudy rainy weather to full sunshine with fully arched rainbows within 8 hours.
The giant glacier is melting every year creating glacier lagoon, one of its kind with gigantic floating icebergs. It was so mesmerizing to see a beach on the other side with floating icebergs along with sea-waves.
Hot Spring pool
While Blue Lagoon is the first thing almost everyone wants to experience here, we skipped it purposefully. Why? The natural hot spring pool at our hiking campsite at Landmannalaugar was more appealing, comfortable and personal experience. The crystal clear hot water worked like a magic after a day long hike!
No tourism channel told me about this wonder in Iceland. Our local tourist guide took us to the large lava field covered with thick moss. This phenomenon happens when lava rocks are turning to soil in hundreds of years long process. We all were instructed to lie down on it a take a quick nap. That was such a unique and relaxing experience that we actually felt like a part of our surroundings.
If you write something on moss with a sharp tools, it will take 100 years to grow it back!
Lovely Puffins and crazy sheep
They have now become one of the famous tourist attractions, having a great commercial value for selling souvenirs. They are NOT of the size those attractive souvenirs pitches for.Very cute, little, colorful and adorable migratory birds who come to Iceland for breeding purpose.
Icelandic wool is highly appreciated for its quality. Thanks to this wandering sheep whose population is more than the citizens of this country. It was hilarious to see them going every corner of even high mountains for grazing. They are so fearless studs!
Icelandic Horses (Not Ponies!)
One might find them shorter to call them horses. But be aware and don’t say so in front of local people. They are so beautiful and unique, perhaps it would be interesting to see them in a beauty contests. The smooth ride of Icelandic horses are due to the extra fifth step that they take.
They are the best souvenirs that I collected by myself during the hiking activities in highlands. The site is rich in minerals like sulfur, iron, silica etc that results in eye-catching colorful stones found throughout the trails of hiking passing from a large lava field.
Cave Experience- complete blackout and twinkling stars
I was spellbound by my very first lava cave experience while looking at lava tunnels, stalactites and stalagmites at Vatnshellir Cave, Snæfellsjökull. The only citizens of this cave, bacteria, hated us when we flashed our torches on the walls. They are evolved to be in darkness and so fighting back with their own light, twinkling like stars of the cave.
It was A moment came when we all switched of our touches and for the first time in life to experience a complete blackout.
Bingo! you see an incredible ability of your brain to sense moments around you like negatives of an old camera, even when your eyes are blind.
And the people
The fun-loving people of Iceland are friendly, warm and open for interesting conversations. They are proud of their country and love to wear Icelandic wool jumpers. Everyone knows each-other here and chances are high that might connected by blood relation with an acquaintance they have just met. So there is a popular app tracing all family roots to check how you are connected to anyone, helping greatly to check if your date tonight is not your distant cousin 🙂
This trip filled my heart with so much happiness and a feeling of fulfillment, with a new adventure every single day!.