When my friend told me she was going to Iceland for her winter break this past December I thought she was crazy. How random a place to visit for your vacation. Fast forward six months and I was planning my own adventure to the same island.
It seems that in a blink of an eye Iceland has become the tourist destination of the year. Ask around and I’m sure you know someone who has been or is going to the land of fire and ice this year. People, like myself previously, didn’t and might still not get the desire to visit a place like Iceland. But Iceland is cool.
Yes, that’s a cheesy joke attempting to allude to the temperatures Iceland is known for. But with all the magnificent natural attractions, Iceland actually is really cool. After all, it is home to one of the wonders of the world (we’re looking at you, Blue Lagoon).
I didn’t really know what to expect when going to Iceland, and I’m glad I went in that way. I felt like not knowing much let me experience Reykjavik, the capital city, and the country as a whole with a blank slate. No expectations to be met, just curiosity to be quenched.
Our arrival in Iceland was met with stereotypical weather; it was cold and rainy as one might think when going to a place with ice in the name. But the rest of our trip was met with sunny, sixty-five degree days where we rode Viking horses, stood between the Eurasia and North American tectonic plates, and watched a sun set at 11:30 P.M.
The country itself has a population of 333,000, which is around a seventh of the population of Brooklyn alone, so on any given day the city of Reykjavik has more tourists than locals. But the heavy tourism has made Iceland the perfect place to travel. Since most attractions are a drive away, tours are easy to find, book, and the buses can pick up and drop you off at local hotels. The entire system is a well oiled machine that makes visiting easy.
While the rainbow across Gullfoss Waterfall was a magnificent scene, and my day at the Blue Lagoon was nothing short of relaxing perfection, Iceland’s prices and cuisine are my only two issues from an otherwise amazing trip. Prices are usually a bit higher on islands, especially an Island where volcanic earth and freezing winters make it hard to cultivate crops. It also makes it hard for young, post-grad, twenty-something’s to visit and not be worried about their bank accounts.
Iceland gets points for their famous hotdog, but loses some for their other delicacies like fermented shark, sheep testicles, and whale. This Icelandic cuisine might be great for some, but definitely not for me.
With no expectations at the start of my trip, I would give Iceland an A+. It was great to explore a culture I had no preconceived notions about and all in all, Iceland is cool. It also makes for some pretty kick-ass Instagram pictures 😉