In the first installment of this series that combines my love for travel and geography, I wrote about a few of the attractions Italy has to offer. This time we head roughly 2,500 miles to the Northwest to Iceland, per the votes I received from the last blog.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comprehensive travel guide, just me expressing my thoughts on a country I wish to travel to in an entertaining but succinct way. The goal is for you and I to visualize ourselves visiting this country.
Welcome to Iceland
Iceland is located in the Northwestern Europe in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Greenland and northwest of the British Isles and further eastern Norway. Its Nordic heritage and linguistic similarities gives it links to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, the five nations commonly grouped as the region of Scandinavia. With a population of just over 350,000, it is less populous than U.S. cities such as Wichita, Bakersfield, and Cleveland. The large majority of Icelandic people live in the greater Reykjavik area, the Northernmost national capital of the world. Once in the shadows relying on fishing and other similar industries to power its economy, its contributions to music and high quality of living have attracted interest and tourists, along with its natural beauty.
Iceland has long been isolated from the rest of Europe, as well as the world. Their unique geographic position as well as other unique qualities from their landscape to their culture inspires curiosity, particularly in recent years. In some ways the name Iceland does it justice as it gives visions of a secluded area that can put the human body to the ultimate test, something I witnessed in the reality show The Challenge: Double Agents that just concluded. In others, Iceland is too simplistic as despite its location near the Arctic Circle, there’s far more to explore, given its geologically active state and its various volcanoes.
How can you not be happy exploring a city with colorful rooftops overlooking glaciers? It’s like a storybook setting with a magical aura. Reykjavik always seems to be a trendsetter, from its origins as the nations’ first human settlement to becoming a clean and green city. If you wonder how much history this tiny once-isolated country could hold, the various museums will astound you with just how deep the nations’ past is, from its complicated relationships with other Scandinavian relationships to establishing its own identity post the French Revolution. The beating heart of Iceland’s art and music scene is Reykjavik, and you’ll be blown away with pop and punk music that has influenced the genre and made waves in Eurovision.
Blue Mountains Country Park
Once you’ve had your fill of the nightlife and city exploration Reykjavik can provide, the 200,000+ people who inhabit the capital region along with all of the other tourists can start to feel like the millions of people in Los Angeles or New York. There is so much Iceland can offer that you cannot experience many other places in the world, such as the northern lights. Logic would suggest traveling during the winter months where Iceland gets no more than 4 hours of daylight would be the best opportunity. Those winter months however can also be the cloudiest and stormiest. Nonetheless, Blue Mountains Canyon Park in Blafjoll offers tours that help tourists view the beautiful lights and also explore volcanoes and even whale watch.
Where to Next?
Next up, island hopping becomes more of an island launch from Iceland in the Northern extremities of the globe to New Zealand in the Southeastern corner of the traditional map. New Zealand was a close second and will be the next country I cover while opening up to suggestions. After that, I’ll hold another vote featuring South Africa, Costa Rica, and the most popular suggestions. Until then, I’ll be enjoying the nice Arctic breeze while heavily layered.
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