Land of Fire & Ice
1 May 2017
I’m in two minds about Iceland…I’ve been in love with the country for the past 12 years. I loved her when most people couldn’t place it on a map and only a few may have known the singer Björk was born there. I’ve had a fascination with it long before Kanye & The Bieber shot music videos there. It’s been on my bucket list for as long, but it’s always been terribly expensive to get there. So I feel really conflicted in the fact that it’s become so popular in such a short time. Since the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, Iceland has had an influx of tourists and needless to say the Euro Cup added to it’s popularity… suddenly everyone wanted to see the country with mystical landscapes and Vikings. When I visited, one of the hosts at an AirBnB I stayed, said that they had 1.5 million visitors in the past 6 months. Iceland’s TOTAL population is 330 000. I can HIGHLY recommend the AirBnb I stayed at in Vík , both Mani the host and Mani the dog ( he even has his own Facebook page) made our stay comfortable and homely – and the flying Pirates Flag just ads a little quirk ;)
On the positive side, the popularity has cause flights to become fairly reasonable (food & alcohol, however is still very expensive – R375 for a bowl of Minestrone Soup), on the negative side if you still want to experience Iceland as the vast and untouched country it used to be, you will either have to visit the North or get out of bed at the sparrows fart, to see the sights without plenty of tourists. Yes, I know I’m being a hypocrite… Imyself being a tourist. I did find some of the tourists incredibly selfish…walking on moss that takes hundreds of years to grow…climbing over barriers where Puffins are breeding. The sights are free at this stage, but I have a faint suspicion that this might change in the near future. Some of the places are not meant to take that amount of visitors in a day, and they will have to limit it in some way, otherwise the damage to nature will be irreversible BUT with all that being said and not wanting to sound like a fuddy duddy… this trip has been the most incredible, life changing, can’t-really-put-into-words experience!!!!
From Moss covered lava fields that looks straight out of a fantasy movie, to stretches of black beach, the Glacier Lagoons, the cute Icelandic horses and fluffy sheep. One of my most memorable moments was visiting the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon…if you arrive early you get to experience silence and then a crash as chunks of ice as large as cars drop into the lagoon and slowly drift to the ocean. I’m a christian and I experienced MANY Godly moments on this trip, but even if you aren’t religious this country touches your soul in a way I’ve not experienced before. I wasn’t fortunate to experience the Northern Lights, but I prepared myself for that and seeing them would have just been the cherry on top of an incredible trip. The Icelandic people are from the most creative I’ve seen, I asked Mani, my host at my AirBnB why and he said that they focus on working creatively with your hands in school and the long winters force you to find something to do with your hands when there’s nothing else to do. Have a look at the amazing Graffiti in Reykjavik and the Harpa Concert Hall with it’s honeycomb windows. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the local Yoghurt called Skyr…technically it’s a cheese, but it looks like yoghurt…incredibly thick, creamy yoghurt. No carbs, almost zero calories and packed full of protein, I basically lived of the stuff.
Spot the toy soldier…
Not the Northern Lights..just a lens I dropped ;(