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

Iceland

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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