My summary of Iceland: Go to Iceland. Awesome landscapes. Try the fish.
Iceland was my final destination. I flew with Icelandic Air (which is an awesome airline) and it didn’t cost me anything extra to stay in Reykjavik for a few extra nights before flying back to Toronto. Tip- choose the front row in the airplane. There are t.v screen under your seat, and lots and lots of leg room for no extra charge. Plus you might get to be the first person off the place which is kind of exciting if you are like me & easily amused!! & I was the first person off the plane… which I was super stoked about.
I loved Iceland. As a geography nerd, there was so much to keep me entertained/ occupied. I stayed at the Loft Hostel- great location, and a beautiful new place (renovated early 2013). Iceland is an expensive place to visit & I definitely spent the most money there. But so worth it. I chose to do a Northern Lights tour, and managed to catch a glimpse of them. Spectacular & beautiful, but low probability of seeing them. You get to take the tour as many times as you want until you see them, but I wouldn’t recommend doing a tour if you are there for only a couple of nights… unless you don’t mind gambling 50-70 Canadian for a chance to see them. Thanks to James from Iceland for image 9 of the Northern Lights!
I really wanted to visit a geothermal energy plant while I was there. So I signed up for the Green Energy/ Golden Circle Tour with the company Sterna. The guide was incredible- knew SO much about his country (the ONLY mammal native to Iceland is the Arctic Fox), and an excellent driver. The weather there changes every 5 minutes, and there were moments when you couldn’t see a couple of meters in front of you on the roads. We saw 3-4 cars in the ditches (everyone was OK), so a good driver is definitely something to be grateful for. The Golden Circle Tour is very popular- you get to go to the National Park were the two continental plates are diverging (SO COOL), see a geyser, epic waterfalls, and other beautiful parts of the Icelandic landscape. But doooo the tour with the green energy component! The geothermal energy plants was really neat (picture 5). 90% of homes in Iceland are heated by geothermal energy, and it is so cheap that some sidewalks are heated and when homes are too hot, people tend to open windows instead of turning down the heat. It’s something like a couple hundred dollars per year for heating.
Image 1 shows a delicious fish meal that we tried in Reykjavik. Dish out some money to try Icelandic fish- it is so tasty. My meal was called “hashed fish”- fish covered in cheese. Yum. Image 7 shows us trying shark- which tasted like strong cheese. The texture was way too strange for me. Also, most of the shark hunting in Iceland is sustained by tourists. So a little dubious to be supporting it. I also meet a wonderful English family who took me in for the day during the Golden Circle/ Green Energy Tour. We tried fish soup, which was also delicious. Hooray fish!
Image 2 shows Iceland at 10:30 AM- Sunrise was 11:30 and sunset at 4, which was crazy, but also beautiful in a way. Image 3 I took while wandering around the harbour of downtown Reykjavik. Image 3 is a church were you can climb to the top for an epic view.
Here is a random fact about Iceland: they are almost self sufficient on their produce imports, growing lots in greenhouses powered by geothermal energy (but food is still expensive). Each town that has these greenhouses has video cameras that take your picture when you enter the town. The reason for this is that the only people who are allowed to own grow lights are the greenhouse owners, so a lot of pots growers break in to steal them. According to the amount of lamps stolen, there is a crazy amount of pot currently being grown in the country.