Recently I was lucky enough to spend just over two weeks in Iceland with work. Some of you may recall went over for a brief recce visit last year and sort of, well, fell in love.
I thought it would be less “wow” second time around but oh, how wrong I was. Having more time to see and experience this incredible country had me head over heels all over again.
So if the first list of 7 reasons wasn’t enough to convince you to hop on over there, then let me give you 7 more reasons to fall in love with Iceland…
1. The People
They deserve to go first because every single person I met was absolutely blood lovely. Armed with a dry and witty sense of humour, a strong sense of community and an informal approach to all relationships, they put everyone at ease.
Icelandic people are always willing to help with anything and because there aren’t all that many of them (about 330,000) if they can’t help you, they always know someone who can.
They also love and respect their country. They know its spectacular but they don’t take that for granted. They treat it with the respect it deserves and they love showing it off to visitors.
I’m no geographer but I don’t have to be, to know that Glacier are pretty damn cool (excuse the pun). We visited the Sólheimajökull which is easily accessible from Route 1 on the south of the island. You can park up and walk right on up to it without needing to book a tour. However don’t venture on to it without a professional guide. Any Icelandic will tell you that their nature is absolutely stunning but it will try to kill you – so don’t take unnecessary risks.
The one disclaimer I am going to add before any photos, is that no matter how skilled the photographer, no photo will ever do Iceland justice. You just have to go and see it in person to understand the full magnitude and beauty of the place.
There’s load of them! After seeing Gulfoss last year, I wasn’t expecting to be amazed by other waterfalls but Iceland chucks them at you in all shapes and sizes. I could do a top ten of simply Icelandic waterfalls and I’d still miss some out. Here’s just a few of my absolute faves:
This is Hraunfossar one is a long stretch of one river seeping through into another creating a whole splurge of waterfall goodness.
This one is Seljalandsfoss and you can walk right round behind it (waterproofs recommended!)
This is Skogafoss and its HUGE. You can climb the steps right up to the top and guess what…
There’s another gigantic fall at the top!!
4. Þetta Reddast
Icelandic people will be the first to admit that they don’t particularly like to plan all that much. They are however, incredible at problem solving and thinking on their feet.
This preference towards fixing over preventing has led to the coining of the phrase “Þetta reddast”, for which there is no direct translation into English. Our closest equivalent would probably be “it’ll be alright on the night”.
I love this phrase because it’s very easy (particularly for us British) to get bogged down in detail, in wanting to know plans and itineraries down to the last inch. A lot of the things we spend time and energy worrying about will never actually come into fruition. So why not adopt the “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” approach a little more often and let a little tension out of those shoulders.
5. Hot Swimming Pools
If you need an little extra help on the relaxation front then I suggest you get yourself to one of Iceland’s many swimming pools – WHICH ARE WARM.
No more wincing as you dip your toe into the chilly depths, no sir. Wading out into these warm water feels like Iceland is hugging your soul.
I’m pretty sure if I had the opportunity to swim in one of these bad boys once a week for the rest of my life, I would never truly feel stressed ever again.
6. The Drive from Akranes to Pingvellir
There were multiple sites that the team and I had to visit during our stay. On one journey between two of these sites, Akranes and Pingvellir, the sat nav took us a little… off road, shall we say. I am SO glad it did.
This road was incredible. It tooks us way out through the mountains. There was waterfalls, lakes, mountains a plenty and I could have counted the number of cars we encountered on one hand.
If you want to feel like you’re a Top Gear presenter, go to Iceland and drive this road. It was ridiculously fun and absolutely stunning.
Ok, ok, so there’s not really such a thing as “sunset” in Iceland during summer as the sun doesn’t actually go down. There is however, this magical time in the evening about midnight when the suns dips and the sky is painted with reds, oranges, pinks and purples.
It has the power to make everyone just stop what they are doing, be perfectly quiet and just look up.
There’s your 7 more reasons to fall in love with Iceland. Have I convinced you yet?
I’m determined that this will not be the end of my love affair with Iceland. I definitely want to go back in winter and see it all covered in snow and try and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
So I’ll not not say goodbye, I’ll just say – until next time.