[ NOTE: Taken with my iPhone. The full album is located here, and includes images taken with my Nikon D7000. ]
We just came back from a trip to Iceland, and I can best summarize by saying it was spectacular.
Here is a basic list of what we did, and some of my key takeaways.
Iceland is only inhabited on the coasts. The center is full of volcanoes, and is basically unlivable.
There are like 30 active volcano systems on the island, and it’s basically constantly erupting and having earthquakes to various degrees due to the fact that the north american plate and the eurasian plate run right through the country, and they’re separating from each other.
Icelanders are Vikings. They’re crazy tall, and they still speak basically the same Viking language that they arrived with back in 874 CE.
The population of the whole island is like 380,000 people. So, much less than the city of San Francisco.
We ate bread that was baked in the ground overnight. It was hella good.
When the Vikings originally settled here, the women they brought were largely captured from the British Isles. How Viking of them.
The experience of the land and people has been extraordinary. Breathing the air.
I have hundreds of unbelievable pictures of waterfalls, the countryside, the mountains, and the ocean. Public album to follow.
We got to see the original geyser for which all others are named after. It is dormant, but I have video of the one right next to it going off, which happens very few minutes.
It isn’t actually that cold in Iceland. We had a few exceptions to that where the wind was gusting at around 50 MPH in glacier valleys, but in general it’s been crazy warm. We had a few days where I could just go outside and it felt like Half Moon Bay. Basically the gulf stream keeps the temperature between 0 and 55 degrees fahrenheit all year. If it weren’t for that gulf stream it’d be like -50 to -100 fahrenheit.
We got to hang out at the base of the volcano that just erupted in 2010. We met the farmers, saw their cows being milked, and heard them tell stories about how the eruption affected them and their farm.
The food in Iceland is fantastic. It’s extremely fresh and of the highest quality I think I’ve ever experienced. The dairy, the fish, the lamb. All phenomenal. Even had a hamburger yesterday that had some kind of standard looking orange sauce on it. Brilliant. I think they focus on what’s called “flavor” somehow.
Breakfasts are always cheeses, cottage cheese, fresh tomatoes (grown in their geothermal greenhouses), fresh cucumbers, lots of juices, baked beans, eggs, and tons of toast and fresh jams. Insanity.
The whole tour we did, which was five days packed with multiple activities taking us across the entire southern portion of the island, was only like $600. Flights were fairly cheap as well. Not doing this trip is simply ridiculous.
Iceland is so small, and the tour was so intimate, that the guide drove through a small town that the driver was from, and mentioned that 40 years ago this corner (as we stopped at a small intersection) is where he and the driver had their first fight, over the “flower girl” at this event across the street. He said he didn’t remember who won, or who she was, but he was not being honest about that. It was touching for them to share this piece of them with us.
- We are going back soon. In fact we’re already looking into scheduling our trip. Highly recommended.
- I’m also researching what it’d take to live and work remotely from there for a few months. It’s a way to get a Walden-like experience without actually having to take a vacation. Like a cleanse, except for the soul instead of the bowels.