I am not talking about mystical creatures, like elves or hidden people or even about strange unexplained things happening even though Icelandic folklore is full of just such stories. I am thinking more about the it’s right in front of your eyes but it’s hard to believe it’s actually true things I got to witness while visiting this Northern island. What fascinated me the most was the beauty of nature, the amazing scenery and the pace with which it changes. The whole place could very well be make- believe as it is so different from what I have seen in all my prior travels. Here are the top five wonders that made me once again believe in magic:
I have to start with the weather, because it’s just so unpredictable, from wind to rain to cold and sunny you never know what to expect and no matter what time of the year you chose to visit you’ll be better off prepared for it all. But in the eyes of a forever optimist and when traveling you have to be, it just adds that final touch to the all-encompassing enchanted feel. And it’s really strange how a really rainy almost black day on a beach famous for its black pebbles (Reynisfjara Beach near Vik) can convey so many emotions no sunshine could ever do.
When on the road in Iceland you can go for hours on end with only seeing horses and sheep grazing the vast green fields and persevering in the harsh conditions. There is some mystery to those lovely horses standing still in the wind, finding shelter in each other.
All the animals I came across seemed just where they belonged. We were that tad bit lucky to catch a glimpse of the seals sunbathing on the rocks in the bay and were surprised by a wondering whale in the distance. Saddly the funny looking puffins were at the time of our visit long gone.
The water is abundant in Iceland and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Especially the drinking water is rumored to be the best in the world. But from raw and untamed waterfalls that make you forget you had ever seen one before to the wild sea hitting the lovely beaches and rocks, there is something for everyone. My all-time favorite would have to be the hot water springs (famous geysers Geysir and Strokkur), especially those with just the right temperature so you can indulge in a long soak on a cold day. Famous for warm water relaxing are the spas; Blue Lagoon and Myvatin nature bath. Still something must also be said about a colder version as nothing really comes close to the feeling of walking on glaciers, Vatnajökull, the largest Icelandic glacier and one of the largest in Europe. Or riding a boat down the Jökulsárlón – glacial lagoon, navigating among the floating blue icebergs.
Who doesn’t think Vikings are awesome. But there is so much more to the history of this island. By immersing oneself in the world of sagas you get to experience it almost first hand. I was in awe of what this country, that had one of the oldest parliaments in the world, located at the national park Þingvellir, went through. Still today, the Icelanders endure harsh weather and unyielding land but they carry on without complaining. They have every right to be proud of their heritage and their accomplishments.
Well, I truly don’t think this one needs explaining. The sight of these lights in the night sky feels you with such pure rush almost nothing comes close to it. And definitely magic at its best.