NATURE | TRAVEL
We’ve always lived in cities, apart from the four-year hiatus to attend three different colleges in little known to us, tiny American towns. Although our schools were famously outdoorsy, the number of times we went on hikes can be counted on our fingers. We did spend our childhood summers at our grandparents’ house in a mountainous Bulgarian village, yet we never packed a tent and slept under the stars. Put differently - “outdoorsy” is not our middle name :-).
With this urban background in mind, our idea to spend a week in Iceland amid windswept, raw, endless landscape may seem outlandish, but that’s exactly what we did last September. Little did we know that we would fall in love to the point of plotting our return at the earliest opportunity. Our love affair with anything Nordic - which began with our visit to Copenhagen in 2016 - reached new heights during our short trip to Iceland. Give us hygge, fish, skyr and dark rye bread any day…
From the moment our plane touched down, we felt as if we had been transported to a different planet. For a country the size of Iceland - smaller than our own tiny Bulgaria - the richness of the landscape was mind blowing. In a matter of days we saw volcanic rocks, fields covered in ashes from the latest volcanic eruption, tall rocks pierced by rumbling waterfalls, little oases of natural diversity squeezed in between eerie glaciers, and sprawling estuaries leading to black sand beaches, each competing for our attention with its breathtaking beauty. Our only companion on the road - countless fluffy sheep.
We lucked out. We were there in September, at the perfect time when the temperatures don’t fall much below 10-12 degrees Celsius during the day, while the weather conditions also allow for the Northern lights to start appearing at night. Imagine being in the middle of an endless expanse of land, no lights except for those coming out of your tiny hotel, no sound, the sky lit by shimmering green lights that constantly change shape. Speechless.
Another reason we’ll go back to Iceland any day - its thermal springs. While we try to avoid places overrun by tourists, we did spend 3 hours in the warm, silica rich water of the Blue Lagoon, and could easily have stayed for another 3! Pleasantly surprised by the experience, we proceeded to hunt for more intimate versions of the same, ultimately landing on the smaller Secret Lagoon. This edge-of-the-world experience truly stayed with us and should be on your list too, should you decide to venture to gorgeous Iceland.