Thank you WOW airlines for being inexpensive and for allowing us to have a 5 night layover in beautiful Iceland! (WOW was just purchased by Icelandair so prices will probably rise.) What a great opportunity to get to know the safest country in the world. I know it’s confusing that Greenland is all white with snow and ice and Iceland is a combination of white and brown, at least in November.
Birch are the only native trees and crops are grown to feed the many sheep and Icelandic horses but no visible “green.” We landed in Reykjavik then took a 4 day guided tour of Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the south coast. Iceland is filled with about 30 active volcanoes, mountains, lava fields, glaciers, geysers, geothermal power, and other interesting features but our favorite were the Diamond Beach and the Northern Lights.
Soft black sand is quite a sight but adding a generous sprinkle of icebergs on top and it’s breathtaking. The icebergs calf (break off ) from the nearby glacier and flow rapidly with the tides out to sea. The icing on the cake was the sunny skies creating the appearance of glistening diamonds on black velvet, thus, the name of Diamond Beach. Now this was an “unforgettable” sight! I loved the combination of black, sparkly white and beautiful blue water.
Our other favorite was the “unforgettable” experience of seeing the Northern Lights. Scott couldn’t contain himself as he shouted with excitement; he was thrilled to check the lights off his bucket list. According to our aurora borealis forecast app, 4-6 am was the peak time to view the spectacle. We set our alarms, piled on layers and boots and trudged outside. Luckily, we were rewarded with the performance of a lifetime. The sky was filled with movement as the lights danced: a complete ballet of twirls, jumps, leaps and turns. Just when we thought the show was over there were more encores. The naked eye cannot see all the colors that a camera with a long shutter exposure can capture. Scott had purchased an app for his phone that enabled 15 second exposure time to get some decent pictures but nothing compares to the actual scene.
On our 4 day tour our guides educated us about the land, history, traditions, and troll folklore. We met lovely people from all over the world who spoke excellent English and we had a blast getting to know them. I could happily write a dissertation on all that we learned about Iceland but instead I will share some visual highlights of our wonderful Icelandic experience.