Scenes of Middle Earth flashed before my eyes. Mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, geysers, lakes and caves; a backdrop befitting a Lord of the Rings novel. Had I stared any longer I would have started seeing fairies, elves and dwarves. I had to pinch myself to realize I wasn’t dreaming. And I wasn’t. I was in Iceland!Before you attribute these ethereal visions to the potency of intoxication, know this: many locals strongly believe that supernatural creatures aren’t bouts of imaginary genius! Rightfully so, there’s a magical aura that runs through the land, echoing legends of elvish beings and bloodthirsty Viking Berserkers.
Stories of Huldufólk (hidden people) living in small houses in the rocks and treasure chests hiding in caves beneath massive waterfalls, are not unusual.But you don’t have to believe anything of Icelandic mythology to appreciate this fanaticism.
There are only two things required of you as a visitor: to come prepared and to let your imagination run wild!
First things first, it’s NOT a destination!
We arrived at the edge of the southeastern Icelandic coast. Black clouds rolled in. Within moments, everything around us was dark. I struggled to close the door of our 4×4. The monstrous wind threw me off-balance, almost knocking me down to the black volcanic sand beneath me.
Vestrahorn mountain at Stokksness stood in front of us; its peaks like daggers, piercing through the smokey clouds closing in on it. The wind howled, picking up sharp rain drops and viciously throwing them at us. Thunderous dark waves vigorously broke at the shore. My imagination grew wild. Rising up out of the water was a massive, black and scaly dragon-like sea monster.
Iceland is characterized by eruptions of hellish geothermal and volcanic activities. One part of the island is a mountainous lava desert, and the other is dark wasteland.
Its mysterious landscape is a backdrop for adventure and discovery. It’ll warp you into a fantasy world of mythical wonders. Iceland is a utopia for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.But don’t dismiss the adventure if you’re not the adventurous type.
Iceland is for ALL tourists!
Although it’s known for its rugged landscape, Iceland is extremely accessible. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert trekker to get the most out of your experience.
Many of the popular tourist sites are right off the main road. The trekking trails are well laid out and easy to navigate.Regardless of your physical abilities, Iceland is for everyone.
Certainly, its views will have your head constantly turning. To put this into perspective, we completely ignored our itinerary by making stops every 10 minutes because there was always something to see. And so will you, I guarantee it!But there’s something you should keep in mind…
The smell in the air and the weather in Iceland are EXTREME!
I had thrown on 4 layers of clothing and a thick poncho scarf to keep warm. A freezing cold wind gushed at us. It hit left right and centre as we struggled to make our way up Reykjadalur (Smokey Valley). Then, as soon as I thought that I couldn’t be more numb, the sun came. A sudden burst of heat from the sun and our trek had me stripping down to a t-shirt and leggings.And then it hit me. I got the strongest whiff of rotten eggs as a strange smell whizzed through the air. It was our first day in Iceland and I had no idea this was coming. No one told me about it before I left.
But before that awful smell dissipated, I got the low down from my husband; who obviously wasn’t as bothered by it.
“Hydrogen sulfide from the hot springs. I know what you’re about to ask me and that’s what you’re smelling. You’ll get used to it, don’t worry.”
And so he was right. I had quickly become accustomed to the rotten egg smell of the Icelandic geothermal hot springs and geysers. In fact, I swam in those smelly hot springs multiple times and loved it!
The extreme smell comes and goes depending on where you are. The same applies to the weather. It’s never constant. But in Iceland, you’ll easily acclimate to layering your clothing. So pack efficiently and prepare for anything!
Except, there’s something you can’t prepare for: Falling in LOVE!
As I took my last few breaths of that rotten egg smell at the Blue Lagoon, I let my body sink deep. The geothermal smell no longer smelled bad and the wind no longer felt cold. I relaxed my body and mind in one of the world’s most amazing wonders. But as I did, my heart sank.
I fell in love with all of it; the fire and the ice, the smell and the weather. And with all of its contrasting extremes and magic, Iceland stole a piece of my heart. I broke the ice with Iceland and it broke my heart to leave.
But nothing lasts forever!
Not even the utopian adventure that I didn’t want to end. Iceland is an escape. It’s a place of freedom for the mind and soul. Especially for those who let their imagination take flight.
And, while sinking into a pool of healing turquoise water, my thoughts trailed off…
“This is the Hall of Fire … here you will hear many songs and tales – if you can keep awake. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet, and people come here who wish for peace, and thought. There is always a fire here, all the year round, but there is little other light.” – J.R.R Tolkien “Gandalf – Fellowship of the Rings”Did you like this post? Check out my Feature Video:This is Iceland!
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