Joe and I recently returned from a quick trip to Iceland, the icy wonderland in the North Atlantic which is home to around 350,000 people. On our first day we explored the capitol city of Reykjavik on foot. On our walk, we watched gorgeous swans, ducks and geese swimming and posing in a large city pond, we ambled down cobbled city streets and marveled at the mix of historic and modern buildings, and we lunched in a fabulous vegan cafe called Mama Reykjavik.
One evening we took a boat ride to view the Northern Lights (great adventure, but alas, no lights.) We soaked in the famous blue lagoon where we rubbed mud all over our faces and let the mineral rich water soak into our skin. On our penultimate day, we took a 7- hour bus tour of the Golden Circle which drove us along miles and miles of highway with spectacular views of the snow covered landscape, Stops along the way included Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Geothermal Area, Þingvellir National Park, and the Kerid Crater (where we hiked around the icy edge).
Rose, our guide on the Golden Circle explained the gastronomical delights of Iceland including fish soup, lamb stew, and on the wilder side, sheep’s head, and fermented shark. As Joe and I stick to a vegan diet, we were happy to find plenty of options in Reykveck.
Thanks to it’s abundant geothermic activity, hot water heats homes throughout the country, as well as provides hot water for hundreds of public pools, and natural soaking spots which Icelanders enjoy throughout the country-in every village and town. Add Along with abundant soaking and swimming pools, Iceland boasts sleek modern buildings, free health care and educational systems, and a nearly crime-free oasis where the policeman don’t even carry guns because it is so safe. Indeed, Iceland is a chilly oasis of civility in the north Atlantic.
To get a sense of the vastness and open space, watch the 2016 movie Rams, available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV, about two estranged, sheep-farmer brothers who live next door to each other and haven’t spoken in 40 years who come together for the good of the family sheep stock. Gives a good look at the desolate, icy landscape of rural Iceland.
Víkingur Ólafsson, word-renowned Icelandic pianist, records music as serene, stunning, and clean as the Icelandic landscape. His newest recording, From Afar, features 22 works including Icelandic folk songs, along with romantic and contemporary pieces. Listen to his Ave Maria by Sigvaldi Kaldalóns here.