Land of Fire and Ice
Posted on 8th April 2020 at 21:45
…with Europe’s most spectacular waterfalls and some unexpectedly good food!
It would be normal to think of Iceland in the winter, with very short, if any, daylight hours and hordes of tourists waiting to get a glimpse of the spectacular Norther Lights and relaxing in the Blue Lagoon before heading out to the restaurants and bars of Reykjavik.
There is so much more to the island and anyone wanting to visit should plan on at least two trips, one in the winter and one in the early summer and an intent to making a real effort to get around the island and not just stay in the capital. If you can, the summer is also an amazing time too!
It doesn’t get as cold as you would imagine with the Gulf Stream moderating the weather for it’s high latitude, however, there can be some very strong, cold winds bringing an extra chill factor! In the summer, the Island has up to 24-hour daylight, making it difficult to know when to go to bed and waking up very early!
Iceland is Europe’s 2nd largest island (after Great Britain) and Europe’s least densely populated country. With c350,000 inhabitants, about the same as the population of East Yorkshire in a country that is 100,000 square kilometres - between the size of England and Scotland.
It is the only land of Europe that actually spans the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America. The first colonisation took place well over a 1000 years ago by Viking settlers from Norway, becoming an independent country in 1918. Iceland has kept many of its Viking traits, including a language that is the most similar to the Old Norse language of the Vikings.
The most striking thing about the Island is the sudden variation in the geography and the weather – The Icelandic’s have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”, which pretty much sums up how quickly it changes.
The Icelandic’s are very proud of their history and how they make the most of their land of volcanic lava rock. This makes crop growing difficult, so their natural diet is high in protein from fish and meat, mainly lamb and reindeer as a treat.
Vegetarians are not quite as well catered for, although there is plenty of imported food available and a usually plentiful supply of soups! Hotels and restaurants can usually cater for all requirements, although advance notice may be required at some.
There is so much to see and do on this great Island; Reykjavik, Geysirs, Glaciers, Waterfalls, Fjords, Mountains, Mud pools, Volcanoes, Ash beaches, Coastal towns, not to mention fantastic food. Walking, Whale watching, Horse-riding, hot spring pools – far too much to pack in to a weekend break, even with the extra daylight hours!
There is so much more to Iceland than we can do justice, so the only way to experience it is to go but make sure you do plenty of research and/ or get advice from an expert!
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