Largest city: Reykjavík
Population: 323.810 2013 estimate
Time zone: GMT (UTC+0)
Currency: ISK – Icelandic Krona
Iceland, the mysteriuos country that has lured our imagination and travelinstinct for years.
A trip to Iceland has always been a dream for us. To discover the country that is said to have mars-like landscape and fairytale surroundings.
Is this really true? we thought.
We have heard many stories from people that had travelled to Iceland but we are explorers, So we wanted to see this for ourselves.
Not knowing what to expect, we headed to the airport, feeling more lost than ever. We have been travelling for a while, but was his going to be different?
Would Iceland capture us with it’s magic and set us back thousands of years in time? Would we be stunned by it’s beauty?
Soaring over the coast of Iceland were a scene like no other. There were nothing but brown mossedcovered, stonehard coastline. No trees, nothing green. Just mosscovered lowlands stretching over the horizon.
-There are no trees here! Leonardo shouted.
We got of at the airport. A very cute, small airport. We felt like we’ve just gotten of at som ViP-section at some bigger airport. But it really is that small.
We had rented an SUV with fourwheeldrive for the occasion. Fourwheel drive is mandatory if you want to have access to most roads and off-roads in Iceland, since the terrain can be pretty rough. Any major rentalcar company has a good selection to choose from. After picking up the SUV we headed off on our 4 day adventure into the unknown.
The snowcovered monuntainranges stretches over the carved landscape, against the blue sky it gives a crisp feeling, refreshing our eyes at every turn we make.
It is a perculiar feeling, The land is very flat, but yet it’s not. At first you can’t figure out if the country is rocky, various or flat. But who cares? the beauty still captures your mind and lock your eyes on the mountaintops.
As all travellers heading up the west coast and to see the popular Geysir and the waterfall of Gullfoss, like we did, you have to pass through Reykjavik.
Driving through Reykjavik made us realise how americanized the country is. The country had American military bases for years, but one should though that there would be more ethnicity than that. But maybe that is just in the big city we thought (mind that Reykjavik is the one and only big city in Iceland)
After a short depot stop for supplies and a map in Reykjavik, we headed onwards to the Geysir and Gullfoss that was our first stop towards Vik that was set as our end destination of the day.
Our original plan was to head north to Akeryeri from Vik, passing two of Icelands massive glaciers and towards the bigger volcanoes. We wanted to see the highlands that everyone speaks of with wonder and astonishment.
Sadly for us, the roads where closed. Iceland has harsh winters with heavy snow. And that means uncertainty for travellers passing through the glaciers. Risk of avalances and heavy snow fall are just some of the risks that you could put yourself through attempting a pass through here on your own.
So we headed back from Vik up the west coast setting our new destination to Stykkisholmur. A place told to be an animal lovers sanctuary because of it richness in birdlife.
Iceland is a small country with a limited amount of roads. Considering this we thought that driving through Iceland would be a time consuming affair. But the distances are short and the roads are of good standard. Driving from Reykjavik to Stykkisholur is about a four hour drive, taken in to account that we had full storm along the way and made many pittstops.
Stykkisholmur turned out to be a bit of a surprise. In the worst sencibleway. We arrived with anxciety hoping for a great opportunity to put our explorer sides to test and go on a Puffin-safari and see some authentic Icelandic culture.
Instead we arrived in full storm, the clouds where like a black carpet heavying down the skies. The boattour seemed less appealing and the city had nothing to offer than a small lighthouse and some authentic houses.
We spent our last days in Iceland in Reykjavik. Simply because that’s the closest biggest city to the airport and we wanted to see the offer at hand in the capital.
At first sight we thought we had entered the suburbs of Reykjavik, since we had heard that Reykjavik was a very modern city with high fashion boutiques and chic restaurants and a smörgåsbord for nightlife.
While asking for directions, we found out that we where just a minute walk from Reykjaviks main street.
A hotel is hard to find on arrival. We had not made any reservations since our arrival in Reykjavik was unplanned. Scattered through the streets of small wooden houses with their windows all draped with sheer lace curtains, we went out on a mission of finding a decent hotelroom for two nights.
We went through them all, and found a very serviceminded concierge and settled in at the hotel overlooking the harbour.
Our last days in Iceland was very calm, strolling up and down the streets of Reykjavik. Like any other harbourcity, the wind hits you and penetrates everything you’re wearing. And it brings a certain charm to it.
Reykjavik is like a small english town. Proud of it’s heritage and its assets but wants to expand to make it better. Showing of everything that could be worth to put up for display.
Many choose Iceland as a destination for the mystique and calmness that is asociated with it. And to get the urban, trendy vibe many stay put in Reykjavik.
The city is a good retreat for spa and recreation with the Blue lagoon and the many facilities run their business almost completely with natural recources retrieved from the volcanic soil. So for body and soul Reykjavik has many offers on display. But as for shopping and nightlife we beg to differ.
So did Iceland blow our minds away?did we get stunned by it’s beauty? did we get lost by the never ending mountian ranges and steep valleys?
We wanted to see Icelandic culture, experience the food and see the richness in nature and wildlife. We where blown away of the landscape that looked like it was taken right out of a time where dinosours ruled and men hunted the grounds for meat. And we almost felt small driving along the foot of the mountains. But what about the “culture”. Had we seen any? All we’ve seen was some small villages with american food and a lot of SUV’s.
And then it occured to us. Maybe this is the Icelandic culture. We just where to busy to see it. Small anonomous villages, people going on with their everyday life like nothing else excists outside of their world. A serenity and peace fullness that hits you after taking in the beauty of the landscape.
That is a culture like no other.
Iceland is beautiful in every way you can imagine.