Iceland

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Raw beauty and breathtaking vistas cannot even begin to describe what I experienced in Iceland. It is otherworldly, unpredictable and sublime. Winter is an amazing time to visit. It is “off-season” (less expensive) and you get a chance to see the beautiful Northern Lights. It’s easy to see why it is quickly becoming the destination for filming TV and movies. Photography can’t capture the beauty of being there…really, not even a video can. You just have to go experience it for yourself!

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Unless you’re a strange ranger like me, Iceland is probably not at the top of your list with Bali and Paris as one of places to travel to with your precious time. If you love beauty, nature and a good time it should be though, and IcelandAir makes it so easy from many North American and European airports. Just book early! They have so many deals throughout the year or even as a stopover on your way to Europe.

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With only a short 5 day trip, we opted for an AirBnB in the center of town and literally 5 minutes walking from the main bus station that takes you directly from the airport upon arrival. Extra bonus when using a private tour company is that they pick you up right from your doorstep! Otherwise, we could play in the snow, walk to town or grab the public transportation within a 5-10 minute walk.

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Forréttabarinn, Nýlendugata 14, 101 Reykjavík
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavik
Mokka Kaffi, Skólavörðustíg 3A, 101 Reykjavík
Við Tjörnina, Templarasund, 101 Reykjavík
Silfur, Hotel Borg, Póshússtræti 9-11, 101 Reykjavik

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Hotel 101, Hverfisgata 10, Reykjavík
b5, Bankastræti 5, 101 Reykjavík
Boston, Lajugavegur 28 b, Reykjavik

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Arrived on the red-eye to Keflavikurflugvollur Airport at 6:35am. Quickly grabbed the convenient bus into town to check-in to our accommodation. Took a little nap and then headed on the bus again directly to the Blue Lagoon. Amazing drive and place! The geothermal baths are not to be missed. Another quick nap on our return before heading out to see the Northern Lights with SuperJeep Iceland.

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Up early for another private tour with SuperJeep Iceland to South Iceland. It was a great full day seeing the sights! Offroading, seeing abandoned sights and amazing nature at work. Went for a drink when we returned at 101 Hotel and best salmon I’ve ever eaten at  Forréttabarinn.

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Another day up at the crack of dawn for our last private day tour with SuperJeep Iceland. This time we are headed on the more conventional route that most stopover visitors go on to the Golden Circle. Amazing to go off-roading and playing in eight inches of snow. Back to Forréttabarinn for drinks and dinner (3 1/2 hot dogs) at the infamous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

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This is our only full day in town so we want to make the most of it. Yummy waffles and strong coffee at Mokka Kaffi to start the day. Great art galleries; bought a beautiful illustration by Rán Flygenring (Official Illustrator of Reykjavik, 2011) at  Spark | Design Space. Visited the major sites in town including the Hallgrímskirkja Church. Catch the bus badk to the airport!

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BlueLagoon
SuperJeep
NorthernLights
Skogafoss
Eyjafjallajokull
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DyeholaeyCape
Gullfoss
Hallgrimskirkja

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Surveys show that despite their obsession with modern technology, as many as 80% of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves. Even today, roads have been rerouted and building plans redesigned or abandoned to avoid disturbing rocks where elves are said to live.

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While some countries might be scared to live in the center of a fiery ring of volcanoes, Iceland grabbed nature by its slippery throat and figured out how to use it to their advantage. Roughly 85 percent of Iceland’s energy is from renewable resources, and well over half of that is geothermal alone.

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The last name of Icelanders is derived from their father’s first name. In the telephone book everyone is listed by their first name.

 

Contrasting forces of ice and fire exist side by side in Iceland. Some 11% of the country’s surface is covered with glaciers and about 30% is lava fields.

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