Iceland is one of the most intriguing places we’ve ever been. It was unique unto itself, and the culture was fascinating. The way that the people in Iceland honor the land, and the sea, and they way that they celebrate life and respect their ancient beliefs of Norse mythology was compelling to be a part of. We were treated like natives, and had to admit we didn’t understand the language. Coming from a Scandinavian background we appreciated the opportunity to visit this land that we came from. It impacted us, and we recognized how much of the way we live originated here.
This is a small country that is completed surrounded by water. Everything not produced on the island must be shipped in, and due to the cold climate, is a lot. There is virtually no crime here, and more books are written in Iceland than in other other place on Earth. There are vast stretches of land without any identifying landmarks, broad mountains extending to the sky without end, and cities that crop up out of nothingness.
We visited during the cold winter in December, and we called it the great white tundra. While there may be places that are colder than Iceland, we understood immediately why this country was named as such. We also celebrated Christmas here, and were fascinated by the idea that Icelanders have 13 different Santa Clauses! We even spotted two of them!
Our first mistake was that we didn’t dress warm enough. We brought warm winter jackets, and rain boots, and hats, but that wasn’t enough. The locals in Iceland walk around in full ski gear. Snow bibs, snow boots, and snow goggles. The weather is nothing to take lightly. During the month of December, Iceland only gets about 4 hours of sunlight a day, which makes it not only dark, but bitterly cold. Being a small island, the ocean changes the weather hourly. Wind whips through the city howling, snow cascades covering the land and sky like a blanket, and everything is covered in a great white sheet of ice.
And yet, in a way, Iceland reminded us of the great island of Hawaii. There are manifestations of the great Icelandic volcanoes everywhere, and nothing is so revered here as these mighty majestic peaks. The people understand their prowess and have lived through their destruction. The Volcano House is the one and only place open on Christmas; not the airport, not the police, not a convenience store, just the Volcano House.
► For Kids: Iceland is truly incredible, and there is so much to experience! There are unique foods to eat, extreme climates, and a culture that envelops the land. This small country offers an amazing view into Nordic life and culture. There were a few things we weren’t able to participate in because the twins were so little. One of the activities we really want to go back and experience are the glacier caves created by volcanic tubes, also known as Lava Tube Caving. But don’t let a few missed activities dissuade you, Iceland is incredible!
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More About Iceland:
We’d love to come back during the Spring and experience the warmer, greener side of Iceland. We definitely don’t need an excuse to come back, but we’re glad to have one.
► Nap-Time Version: All the things we experienced, all the activities we participated in, and all the things we loved about our trip to Iceland!