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Big Picture of Iceland – the unique little island

Iceland is widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”  – and friendly people

ICELAND: Iceland is a rugged island located in the North-Atlantic Ocean and very much a bridge between continents. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime climate, with refreshing summers and surprisingly mild temperatures in winter.

Click large picture of Iceland

Big mistake. Icelandic culture has been shaped by isolation and the extreme nature. These conditions have created a resilient people, where family ties are close, the sense of tradition is strong, and the bond with nature is tight.
Most people come to Iceland for nature. Big mistake. Iceland’s most unrivalled treasure is the people, who are warm and friendly, and easy with a smile. Enjoy a walk around town, visit the local swimming pool, and purchase local produce, for a chance to mingle with this friendly creature.

See and do. Hip Reykjavík, the therapeutic Blue Lagoon, or perhaps some musical exports. But this land of boiling mud pools, spurting geysers, glaciers and waterfalls is also an adventure playground. Iceland’s summers are surprisingly warm, lush and green.

The Culture House is a venue for Icelandic national heritage in a nutshell. The operations mainly entail diverse exhibitions. Contracts are made with relevant institutions regarding short or long term exhibitions.

Festivals. Throughout the year, there are many fascinating music festivals and events in Iceland that serve as a great introduction to the diverse talent that is to be found in the country. Some even feature performances by select international acts and artists that are usually of the highest calibre.

Design. From fish-leather lamps to high-tech prosthetics, lava chairs to smart phone design, originality, resourcefulness, individualism and innovation continue to shape Icelandic design, whether in form, function or use of materials. Icelandic fashion design can be defined as European avant-garde: unconventional, rebellious and embracing a new way of thinking.

Icelandic horse. The Icelandic horse is a small breed of horse that has evolved in isolation in Iceland. The most important of these are the Svaðastaðir strain and the Hornafjörður strain. Horses from Svaðastaðir are considered to have a more attractive gait and to be more dainty and frisky; while those from Hornafjörður are larger, and have greater endurance and courage. The Icelandic horse is small, weighing between 330 and 380 kilograms (730 and 840 lb) and standing an average of 132 to 142 cm (52 to 56 inches) high.

Harpa. Located by the old harbor between Reykjavík city center and the North Atlantic, the new Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre stands out as a  landmark. The design was influenced by Iceland‘s exceptional and dramatic nature. The glass facade, which covers the entire building, was designed by renowned visual artist Olafur Eliasson. Harpa is the new home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera

Food. Icelandic cuisine has changed a lot in the last few decades from involving mainly lamb or fish in some form or other, as the popularity of other types of food has increased. There are several vegetarian restaurants in Reykjavík and vegetarian dishes widely available at other restaurants. Most restaurants serve ‘fish of the day’ – such as Plokkfiskur or fish stew. A simple mix of white fish, potatoes, onions, flour and milk. I recommend to taste smoked Icelandic lamb or ‘hangikjöt’.

Art. The museums in Reykjavik and surroundings offer exhibitions ranging from art historical revisions to contemporary projects, and there are a few interesting foundations dedicated to the life work of individual artists. Communities in the nearby area of Reykjavik like Keflavik, Hafnarfjörður and Hveragerði offer interesting exhibition venues, and also local art communities in and around Akureyri in the North and in Seyðisfjörður in the East.

Bird watching. Iceland is often referred to as a Birdwatcher´s paradise, as large colonies of seabirds and waterfowl are easily visible around the coast. Birds most spotted along the coasts include the Arctic Tern, waders, and seabirds such as the Guillemot, Razorbill and the Atlantic Puffin.

Volcanic activity is a fact of life in Iceland, where people have learned to live with both its drawbacks and considerable advantages. This is also one of the most volcanically active areas on earth. On average, Iceland experiences a volcanic event every 5 years.

Something big. Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world with crime rate  extremely low. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson (49) is the President and his wife Eliza Reid the First Lady. She invites us to this little island to share the joy as Iceland goes to the FIFA World Cup 2018. Their heros proof the excitement to be part of something big, even when you are small.

Make it Happen!

Touch Down: Five hours from New York to Reykjavík, and three hours from London. Leifur Eiríksson International Airport in Keflavík, 48km from Reykjavik.

Stay: No matter if you are travelling on a budget, or opting for luxury, you will find accommodation to fit your needs in Iceland. From luxury hotels in Reykjavik, to friendly hostels or cozy campsites, you will find what you are looking for. 

Eat: Try one of the many Icelandic fishing restaurants, and you will understand why the locals will have you believe they invented the thing. Lamb is also a popular ingredient. Tap water is pure and wonderful.

Play: Buy beer/alcohol at the Duty free in the airport as it is more than twice the cost in the stores in the town due to government taxes. Icelandic people are heavy drinkers in the weekend and Reykjavík’s nightlife is certainly hot.

Mini Guide: Smyril Line M/S Norröna sails between Seyðisfjörður in Iceland, Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands once a week. The ferry gives travellers the option of bringing their own vehicles to Iceland. Before you arrive, you have to take one Icelandic pledge to be a responsible tourist. “I will take photos to die for, without dying for them”

About the Author:

Gudmund Lindbaek
I travel, enjoy local food and meeting people. But I don´t require gorilla-stalking in Africa, sleeping under the stars in Brazil or going wild camping in the Arctic part Norway. I just want a tiny slice of adventure to be alive. And then excited to return home.

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