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Iceland. The Land of Fire and Ice.

A country so full of wild beauty that it literally explodes every now and then. (Come on, you all remember the evil ash cloud a few years back, right?)

Hveragerdi

Photo by origine1, on Flickr

By all accounts, this rather obscure European country in the middle of the Atlantic is amazing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, it’s been on my radar for the past few years, ever since others began telling me I would love it because I love New Zealand.

Because, as you all know, I do love New Zealand. A lot.

But the more I read about Iceland, the more I am inclined to believe that those who say I will fall in love with it too are right. And even though I doubt any other place could steal my heart the way that New Zealand has, part of me is worried that Iceland could become a contender for “my favorite country ever.”

I guess I’ll find out soon enough, because I’m heading to Iceland in March!

On the Rocks

Photo by Funky Tee, on Flickr

While Iceland certainly isn’t your average Spring Break destination, it’s exactly where I’m heading during my week off from grad school in late March. I had toyed around with some tropical and warm-weather destinations while laying out my 2012 travel wishlist, but, when it came down to it, none of them sounded as appealing as Iceland.

Path through Blue Lagoon

Photo by vestman, on Flickr

Yes, I’ll be traveling there during the unpredictable month of March. But while I do run the risk of being kept indoors by bad weather, I will also be in Iceland during the off season — when things are slightly more affordable, and there are less tourists around.

And another plus of traveling to Iceland in March? I’ll be there during the week of the Equinox (when there are equal hours of day and night), which is supposed to be one of the best times of year to see the Northern Lights.

aurora borealis - hotel ranga

Photo by http://heatherbuckley.co.uk, on Flickr

The Northern Lights! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am by the knowledge that I could very well be seeing the Aurora Borealis with my own two eyes in just over a month… Let’s hope that the weather cooperates.

Along with *hopefully* chasing down the Northern Lights, here are some other things I’m hoping to do during my 5.5 days in Reykjavik:

  • Tour the Golden Circle to see Iceland’s famous waterfalls and geysers.
  • Go snowmobiling on a glacier.
  • Ride an Icelandic horse.
  • See Reykjavik from atop Hallgrímskirkja church.
  • Soak in the Blue Lagoon.
  • Hunt for elves (hopefully more on this later!).
  • Maybe go whale watching.
  • Try to learn how to pronounce at least 5 Icelandic words correctly.

Of course, I may do more than this, or I may do less. Or I could end up doing different things entirely — that’s the beauty of going into a trip with virtually no plans!

Gullfoss

Photo by origine1, on Flickr

Even though I’d love to be able to travel to all parts of Iceland, I’ll be basing myself in Reykjavik all 5 nights, simply because it’s easiest this time of year, when roads to more remote parts of the country could potentially be closed due to snow. I’ll be cosying up in a Roomorama apartment in downtown Reykjavik for my first 3 nights (the other 2 nights still TBD), and the lovely Susanna of ICELANDisHOT is helping me plan some adventures for the daylight hours.

Iceland - Reykjavik - 42

Photo by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It. World Tour, on Flickr

And the time leading up to this trip is absolutely flying. There’s only a month left now, and I’m starting to get really, really excited.

But what’s so exciting about Iceland, you ask?

Things about Iceland that excite me:

  • I’ve heard that Icelandic people are incredibly friendly.
  • Iceland is small and compact — you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
  • This country has some truly stunning, wild landscapes.
  • Icelandic horses!
  • Some Icelanders hold a belief in mythical creatures like elves and fairies.
  • If you’re lucky, you can see the Northern Lights.

Things about Iceland that worry me:

  • Impossible-to-pronounce words with far too many consonants.

… That’s it, really… Well, that and the fermented shark meat. I’m sorry, but I will not be trying that.

August midnight in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Photo by o palsson, on Flickr

So far, 2012 is shaping up to be my most epic, travel-packed year yet, and this trip to Iceland will definitely be adding to it. I can’t wait!

What sorts of things would you like to read about in regards to Iceland? Have you been there? Is it a destination on YOUR travel list?

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62 Responses to Pack Your Boots – We’re Goin’ to Iceland!

  1. Laurence says:

    Oh man, you are going to have an amazing time! Can’t wait to hear about it :D
    Laurence recently posted..Tips for buying and selling a travellers vehicle in New Zealand

  2. Sounds like a great adventure…Look forward to tagging along here:)
    The World of Deej recently posted..Miami Vacation Rental – A Night in Someone Else’s Condo

  3. high in fiber says:

    looking forward to hearing about and seeing photos from your trip!
    I’ve heard that there are aisles, or at least shelves, of Lopi (Icelandic wool) yarn at the supermarkets. seems like a good goofy photo opportunity! :)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I have a feeling Iceland will offer up lots of quirky photo ops! I have a feeling my camera will be very busy the whole time.

  4. Vanessa says:

    It looks beautiful, I would be so excited about seeing the Northern Lights too!
    Vanessa recently posted..Review – Pacsafe Products

  5. Annie says:

    Super excited for you Amanda!! What a great experience and I know you will be reporting on it with beautiful shots and exciting articles so I won’t feel quite so bad that even though I had a layover there, I have never explored it!

    Have fun!!
    Annie recently posted..Life with your nose pressed against the glass: lessons in gratitude

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Annie! I have a feeling I’m going to bring home waaaay too many photos. Lol. Can’t wait to share them here, though!

  6. Curt says:

    You’ll have a wonderful time! Don’t waste a moment worrying about the language. When I visited in 2006, I didn’t meet a single person who didn’t speak English flawlessly. Even the guy at the bus stop who attempted to threaten me with what appeared to be a prison shank spoke perfect English! And do have a hot dog. I think the word for hot dog is pylsur. You’re on your own for the pronunciation.
    Curt recently posted..Photo: Cannes Film Festival

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m not worried about the language, per se — I’ve been told nearly everyone there speaks English. I’m more worried about not being able to pronounce any of the street names or names of the sites I’ll be seeing! Haha.

  7. Fantastic! One of my architecture/landscape architecture professors spent a long period of time doing work and reserach in Iceland. Her presentation on the impacts of Iceland’s physical landscape and geothermal activity on the form and color of building methods and materials was so intriguing to me. Can’t wait to see your photos! Enjoy the break from school work.
    Bethany ~ twoOregonians recently posted..Photos from La Paz: Cathedrals, Moonscapes, Pigeons in the Park

  8. Chris says:

    Very, very, very jealous! Iceland looks amazing.

    Can’t wait to read about your adventures there.
    Chris recently posted..And the winner is…

  9. Audrey says:

    Awesome!! I was just chatting with Matt from Land Lopers the other day about his trip and had Iceland on my brain. And now you’re going! Can’t wait to follow along and enjoy all the photos you’ll be taking. I didn’t realize how close Iceland was from the East Coast of the United States. Kind of cool that it’s accessible enough for a Spring Break. Enjoy!!
    Audrey recently posted..Panorama of the Week: 2501 Migrants Outdoor Art Exhibit, Oaxaca

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yeah, I think the flight from Boston is only about 4 hours or so — meaning it’ll actually take less time to get there than some of the other destinations I was considering for spring break! I saw some of Matt’s photos the other day and am doubly excited about getting there myself now!

  10. Sarah says:

    Wooo! I’m going with the boy in April, so I look forward to reading your posts if they’re up before then. I can’t wait to go! I spend a lot of time in Northern Canada for work, but this is going to be so totally different.

    Have fun!

  11. Geogypsy says:

    This sounds like an outstanding trip. I’d be excited too. Look forward to your posts. May have to move Iceland up the list.
    Geogypsy recently posted..Peacock crossing

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I hope you’ll follow along, then! I’ll definitely be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter during the trip, and will hopefully get a post or two up here before I get back, too!

  12. I am so excited for you! Iceland has been on my list for some time because I REALLY want to soak in the Blue Lagoon (and, y’know, see everything else wonderful in the country). I’ll be interested to hear how you think it compares to New Zealand.
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo of the Week: Novice Monk Painting a Dragon

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m looking forward to comparing it to New Zealand! I know there will be differences, of course, but I’m interested in the similarities!

  13. Shaun says:

    Oh you have to try the shark meat please. I’m really curious to no what it tastes like :)

  14. John says:

    Sounds amazing – can’t wait to read your reports. I want to see some Northern Lights pictures!
    John recently posted..The Marigny – A Walking Tour Through New Orleans’ Most Vibrant Neighborhood

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m crossing everything in hopes that I’ll get a night clear enough to see them!! It’s a big thing that I would like to cross off my bucket list.

  15. Fabulous country for hiking! I was there last year:

    http://richardtulloch.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/iceland-hiking-with-vikings/

    As well as the fermented shark meat you also get the chance to eat minke whale there. I tried it, to see what all the fuss was about, and definitely don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s dark and tough and not worth killing whales for.

    http://richardtulloch.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/reykjavik-the-taste-of-whale/
    Richard Tulloch recently posted..BEST BLUE MOUNTAIN WALKS – day 1, stage 1

  16. Candice says:

    Absolute bucket list dream destination! So jealous!! I think I need to spend MONTHS there though.
    Candice recently posted..7 Super Shots, of the non-alcoholic variety

  17. What a promising itinerary! Have a good trip! :-)

  18. Juliann says:

    How exciting! Iceland is definitely on my must-see list. I saw the Northern Lights a few times in Alaska. Absolutely incredible. Words cannot describe it.
    Juliann recently posted..The Cool Moms

  19. Anwar says:

    Sounds like a pretty epic trip. Look forward to reading about it. Iceland is high on my list of places to go and getting there in a time I could see the Aurora Borealis would be amazing. hope to learn how it was there in the winter and getting around, etc. Good luck with your trip.
    Anwar recently posted..Touring the Museum of Broken Relationships

  20. Christine says:

    How exciting! One of my friends played semi-professional soccer in Iceland for a summer, and had an absolutely brilliant time. You’re going to love it!
    Christine recently posted..Cycling through the Bali rice paddies

    • DangerousBiz says:

      How cool about your friend! I can’t wait to do a bit of exploring in Iceland… I think it’s going to be amazing, even in the winter!

  21. Daisy says:

    Somehow Iceland is not in my top 10, but I would love love love to see the Aurora Borealis. Can it be seen from other places?
    Daisy recently posted..Symptoms and Treatment of ADD and ADHD

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yup, you can see the Northern Lights anywhere that falls within the Arctic Circle. Alaska and Northern Canada are also good for viewing them, as is Scandinavia. There’s a town in northern Norway that’s supposed to be the best!

  22. Erik says:

    Amanda,
    You are going to LOVE Iceland! It’s where I was thinking about going if New Zealand fell though. I was there in 1998 and it is such a singular destination. If you are looking for a great post (here I’m being selfish because I get the enjoyment of reading without the work!)- Iceland has some very unique cuisine options- Try the rotted shark (forgetting the unpronounceable Icelandic name right now) and the sheep’s … err.. Well, just ask about it. Not as bad as it sounds. Also, I loved the Icelandic Hot Dogs you can buy from stands all over the city.

    It’s an expensive place, but so worth it. Alcohol is the most expensive thing.. you are saved from that though.

    Looking forward to your posts!
    Erik recently posted..A Valentine’s Day Special: 21 Unromantic Places

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach the rotted shark… but more than one person have suggested the Icelandic hot dogs, so I definitely will have to seek those out!

      I know Iceland will be expensive, but I also know that all the money I spend there will be totally worth it! I can’t wait.

  23. I looooved Iceland. It was like being on a different planet. Can’t wait to see your posts.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..7 Super Shots From Andi’s Travels

  24. Emily says:

    I’m so envious!!! Iceland is one of the top 3 on my bucket list. It looks so stunning and unusual. I know several people who have gone and just raved about it, especially the journey around the Ring Road. My sister lives in NYC, so I’ve thought about maybe going to NYC for a few days, then flying to Iceland from there since it makes the flight a lot shorter. Anyway, super excited for you, and can’t wait to hear about the trip!
    Emily recently posted..More Thoughts on Unplugging During Travel (and Life)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve heard the same from everyone I know whose been to Iceland! I think I’ll end up doing PART of the ring road when I do the Golden Circle tour, but, really, I’ll be happy with and excited about whatever I get to see! I think you should totally make your own trip to Iceland soon! It’s not really that far from the East Coast at all!

  25. Kieron says:

    Have the best time – you’ll love it! :D
    Kieron recently posted..Photo Friday #30: Cataract Gorge Launceston

  26. Laura says:

    How exciting!! I am especially envious that you have a really good chance to see the Northern Lights – that’s very very high on my bucket list. Can’t wait to read all about your trip there!
    Laura recently posted..How to Spend a Day in Orange County, California

  27. Rebecca says:

    Yay Iceland! I met more New Zealanders there, then I ever had in my life until that point (2005 Didn’t get to New Zealand until 2007). They just love it there!
    Ohmigod, riding horses is so much fun in Iceland, you are going to have such a great time! Two things I wish I did when I was there. Go scuba diving (might only be a summer thing, as the water is freakin’ freezing!) and take a boat ride to see puffins!
    Can not wait to read about your plans and trip!
    Rebecca recently posted..Random Weekend: Book: The Secret Life of Backpackers

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I can’t wait!! Am definitely hoping to cuddle some Icelandic horses — they are so cute!

      I’ll sadly be missing the puffins by a couple of months (they don’t show up until May, I think), and I don’t think I’d want to go diving in the winter, but I’m SO excited for everything else!!

  28. Sam says:

    All I can say is yay yay yay Iceland. Very very cool (pun totally intended). Really looking forward to hearing about your time there.
    Sam recently posted..Happy Australia Day

  29. Ali says:

    I’m so jealous! I really want to go to Iceland someday, it looks so gorgeous! I can’t wait to read about your trip!
    Ali recently posted..Odd Signs and Statues in Southeast Asia

  30. [...] is just as dangerous as everyone said it was!). I don’t necessarily need a backpack for my trip to Iceland next week, but I figured it would be a good test-run for this summer, when I’ll need to live [...]

  31. [...] in Iceland!  Add comments Mar 172012   I announced about a month ago that I’d be enjoying my spring break in a slightly unconventional location — [...]

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