“We are going to Iceland, John,” I greeted my husband cheerfully when he came home from work, before he’d even got off his bike.
“Really? When?” He asked, a little breathless from his exertion.
“18th of November, a couple of months away.” I could hardly contain my excitement.
“November in Iceland? No Way! You’re joking, right?”
No, I wasn’t joking. Yes, we went. I wanted to be there for my friends when they tied the knot. Besides, John had accepted the dubious honor of being the ‘official’ wedding photographer and film-maker.
Today, I’m revisiting this memorable occasion and I’m taking you with me for a short tour of the magnificent, magical landscape of Iceland. Together we’ll explore this winter wonderland and learn a few interesting facts about this island , situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, just touching the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Iceland has the smallest population among the NATO member countries, in the region of 320,000 people, and most Icelanders live in its largest city and capital Reykjavík and surrounding areas in the southwest. It is known for its sand fields, mountains and glaciers, not to mention the active volcanic activities.
In April 2010, the volcanic eruption at Eyjafjöll caused enormous disruption to air traffic across Europe. Guess what? we were affected by that dust cloud while holidaying in Slovenia and our flight was cancelled, but that is another story.
During our 4-day visit, we spent time in Reykjavík, where I explored the Lutheran Church of Hallgrimskirkia, the largest in Iceland, named after poet, author and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson. At 24 degrees Celsius below freezing, it was too cold to wander around the city for more than a few minutes so I was really glad to take a dip into Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa liked to a power station which seemed hugely popular with tourists. They wallowed about in the warmth, caked in skin cream to deal with the caustic minerals in the water.
The most unforgettable treat was a day tour which included the fabulous Gullfoss, aka Golden Falls in English, and awesome geysers in the Þingvellir National Park, a tourist highlight for any visitors to Iceland. As you can see from the picture here as well as the video which will show Gullfoss in its full glory; Gullfoss which interrupts the glacial river Hvita is reputed to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and you can decide for yourself after viewing:
Iceland – Land of Ice, Gullfoss and Geysers
Before we conclude today’s virtual tour, I’ll leave you with a couple more interesting facts about Iceland: 1) It is one of the wealthiest and ranked at 14th most developed country in the world, despite its massive banking failure in 2008; 2) It maintains a welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for all citizens.
I hope you have enjoyed your sightseeing in Iceland and make it there one day. As for me, I would love to go back, not in its sub zero winter times, but in the height of summer !