Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Iceland's Top 5

My name is Sidney and I’m somewhere “in the background” here at the Travel Team. Having just returned from Iceland, I am here to tell you firsthand that it is a truly magical place full of interesting things to experience (geothermal pools), see (geysers, glaciers, beautiful people), and eat (world-famous hotdogs, boiled sheep heads).

Iceland Air offers nonstop service to Keflavik from Seattle, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Orlando, New York (JFK), Boston, Toronto, and Halifax with the longest flight being the one originating in Seattle which takes only seven hours. Iceland is a destination unto itself but also makes a fine layover on your next trip to Europe.

Here are my top 5 experiences:

1. An in-water massage at The Blue Lagoon is the perfect antidote to a long flight (or a bad hangover… so I hear). You lay half-submerged in water with lagoon-dipped blankets covering all parts not being worked on to protect against the chilly breeze. The warm water combined with the steam from the geothermal vents and cold rain made for a truly invigorating experience. The lagoon’s organic chemical make-up (fresh water, sea water, silicon) doesn’t dry out your skin like a regular day at the beach or pool.

2. There are numerous geyser fields throughout Iceland. Some geysers gurgle, some spout, and some just pour steam into the air. The spouting one above is my favorite. The water temperature of these geysers is about 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The ropes are there for a reason.

3. Visiting the “divergent boundary” where the American tectonic plate meets the European plate. This rift spans the entire country and is chock-full of deep cracks and lava swirls and other crazy earthly phenomena. Neat!

4. Shopping. Icelanders are so proud of their local designers and artists. Many small publications and brochures are available throughout the city (all hotels, participating shops, restaurants, etc…) that show you exactly where to find what. But even a leisurely stroll through the main shopping strip in Reykjavik will reveal many stores boasting original Icelandic designs including clothes, art, home décor, accessories, leather goods, and better-than-average souvenirs.

5. Mingling with locals - Icelanders are a friendly and interesting bunch. Everyone speaks English (and Danish and generally one other language) making it easy to strike up a conversation. Furthermore, Icelanders are well-read (facilitated by many winter days spent indoors), enjoy crazy delicacies hardly considered edible by non-Icelandic standards, and find it hilarious when non-natives attempt to speak their language. There’s not much to not love.

Many more exciting activities are available in Iceland including organized day tours around the island. If you have any questions about Iceland or anywhere else, give us a shout and we’d love to help you out.

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