Godan daginn! I’m missing a dot and a dash on my keyboard to present my good morning to you properly from Iceland.
If you are wondering why anyone would visit ICEland, then the ruse worked. Legends say that when the Vikings discovered this beautiful country, they sent word back to potential settlers that this chunk of land was covered in ice but the next, even bigger, land mass, was green.
Of course that was Greenland, which IS covered in ice.
This country, which has the landmass of Kentucky, is home to only two million people. Located just below the Arctic Circle at the 66th parallel, this island is a world of its own.
Isolated from each other and the rest of the world, tourism is just now coming to Iceland and you don’t need Eric the Red to get you here.
It was a six-hour jet ride from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, the capitol city. This had been on my personal Bucket List for a while, and each day has been full of awe.
About half the size Oklahoma, Iceland is the land of volcanoes, geysers, and lava fields. I saw a T-shirt that read “Why go to the moon when you can visit Iceland?”
It’s true, there are miles and miles of strange landscape that even NASA thought was “moonlike” and sent astronauts to Iceland to train. There is an area called “Hell”, but it was much too lovely.
It reminded me of the Garden of the Gods rock formations except in black. Millions of years of geothermal activity has turned over the earth like plowed ground. Giant crevices are falling points for cascading waterfalls too numerous to count.
Hot springs and hot pools steam on the landscape in more places than the well known Blue Lagoon. We went straight for our soak after our flight which was a smooth move in the 98-104 degree silica rich waters.
Brought over by the Danish, trees are somewhat new to the island. Houses were originally constructed of sod and there are some that remain. Out buildings for livestock are often subterranean, and very close to the home. It’s not all lava rocks.
Beautiful, lush, green grass meadows with fat, fluffy sheep extend for miles and miles as well. Icelandic horses known for their five gaits graze the hillsides.
We visited a horse farm to learn more about the “Flying Pace.” This gait is faster and smoother than a trot, and the horse has all feet off the ground at times, flying.
Another reason to visit Iceland might be there are no snakes, no spiders, no mosquitoes, and no ticks. But there are those annoying black flies, midges, in the northern lake areas.
But what can you expect? There are no bats, no frogs, and only about 70 breeds of birds. There’s a short list of animals to learn, such as mink, fox, and mice.
Our tour guide is an elementary school teacher, and I asked if the time saved on animals was used on spelling because the Icelandic language is impossible to hear and try to spell.
Its roots are in German and Norse languages, but they use the 32 letter alphabet liberally. There is a 64 letter word that means something like “key ring to the tool shed for road workers”, but I didn’t have the chance to use it. I’m still working on good morning.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.