Iceland. Look on a world map UP THERE, waaaay above Canada and to the East. Not that big thing… that is Greenland. The little island next over. Just touching the Arctic Circle. It doesn’t occur to many Americans I’ve talked to that this would be an enticing destination. No wait, I take that back… People who TRAVEL have Iceland on their Bucket List. It is a spectacular adventure, even for sissies.
Looking for someplace “different?” We are burgeoning adventure travelers, which means at THIS age, we are learning how to be a bit more adventurous, like glacier trekking. But Larry and I still like things to come easily. Here’s my list of 10 Things to Know about Iceland, written for Americans. We are a demanding lot.
- You can drink the water. Actually, you can drink the TOILET water. So many exotic destinations around the globe have the challenge of bad, unhealthy water. It can be exhausting not letting a drop of local water pass your lips in Asia, Africa, South America, India. Not Iceland! Just fill your empty bottle from any tap or fountain. That’s because Iceland is one giant lava field topped with frozen water. As snow and ice melts, it filters filters filters filters. Any brook, stream, waterfall is drinkable. You can see fish at the bottom of lakes and fiords. Drink up!
- Everyone speaks English. If you’re someone who gets anxious immersing in a foreign language, relax. Icelanders speak several languages, including English. Maps, street signs, menus are legible to those of us who never bothered to learn a second language. I regret that.
- Money conversion is easy. Just knock off the last two digits on the price of something and it’s pretty close to U.S. prices at the moment. Things are expensive, but you can understand the conversion at a glance. And credit cards work practically everywhere.
- Food is outrageously good. You can get any cuisine you want, but what you should know is that the PRODUCE is mind-blowing. Hot house grown. The “hot” made better by the thermal hot springs with magical growing properties (these tomatoes, below, sold next to a thermal pool, we ate like peaches). And if you love seafood, Momma Mia. Try Viking Sushi – you are on the boat, they pull up a net that’s been dragging for maybe 20 minutes, pop open live scallops right there, dip in soy sauce, unfrickinbelievable.
- Easy getting there. Stress was practically zero flying to Reykjavik from Los Angeles. It was almost easier than taking a book out of the library.
- No crowds.
- Public transportation is the way to go. Buses are great. But then again, the towns are pretty small. Walking works.
- Everyone seems to wear adventure clothes.
AND OF COURSE, puffins, Icelandic horses, whales, fishing, glacier trekking, waterfalls, lava fields, hot springs, and even trolls (which sneak up on you. They are ugly. You can blame them for everything).