Iceland: Land of Contrasts

Iceland is a truly amazing country.

I remember visiting this beautiful place many times over the years. Travelling with Icelandair, I’ve had numerous stopovers at the Keflavik International Airport where I always bought something from the souvenir shop, my favorite items being white pullovers with subdued streaks of colors. These pullovers are made from Icelandic sheep wool.

Uncommon sheep

The sheep in Iceland are unlike any I’ve ever seen. They resemble round globs of fleece standing on stick legs. When in motion, instead of running, they appear to bounce-and-go. As unusual as they appear, though, their wool produces extraordinary and extraordinarily soft pullovers, gloves, caps and socks.

A land of contrasts

Iceland’s houses-painted blue, red, yellow and green-stand in sharp contrast to its volcanic landscape. When I first saw these homes, I thought that the vivid colors were deliberately chosen to bring life to the bareness and starkness that represent the island.

One time, I had the opportunity to stay in Iceland for several days. I stayed at a hotel next to the airport from which I could see airiplanes take off and land. I remember eating a variety of fresh fish including salmon. The sauna was fantastic.

Icelanders are extremely well read with a 99% literacy rate. Reading is a good activity in the depth of snowy winter.

The many volcanoes on the island, and the steam they emit, enable Iceland’s inhabitants to benefit from geothermal energy. Iceland is a world leader in harnessing renewable energy. 1

Iceland’s stunning scenery, with its bare, lava-strewn flats, snow-capped mountain ranges, glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs, is due to its location on one of the earth’s major fault lines, the mid-Atlantic ridge. While this landscape is attracting an increasing number of tourists each year, the country’s geographical peculiarities also mean that Iceland is the only country in the world that can claim to obtain 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources.

2 [My emphasis.]

Points of interest are: Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss, Hallgrímskirkja, National Museum of Iceland, Dynjandi, Aldeyjarfoss and Súlur. 3

Iceland is by no means an inexpensive destination. If you’re planning on going, make sure you budget first.

Eager to visit this amazing land of contrasts? Why don’t you build your own trip. 4

Iceland Image

Image title & credit: Iceland Lava Cascade, “Iceland Volcano: Eruption Sparks Tourist Boom,” National Geographic, Daily News.

Dynjandi – Fjallfoss

References

1 Iceland’s energy answer comes naturally

2 Ibid

Iceland, Points of Interest

4 Build your own trip

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