As we leave the colder months behind – which I am *so* excited for – I wanted to reflect on my visit to the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik (pronounced rake-ya-vick) with my husband in 2015.
I just can’t say enough good things about the Icelandic culture. The people are beautiful, the natural landscapes are beautiful, but that beauty is not limited to skin or surface. Each person and place we encountered was welcoming, friendly, and exuded peace. Let’s dive in.
Something I learned…
Icelanders learn up to three languages in grade school: Icelandic, English, and Danish
When visiting Iceland, we treated it as a true “stopover” for 3 nights on our way to Ireland. We went on a Super Jeep tour of the Golden Circle, which is easy to do since it’s only 2 to 3 hours outside of the city.
We experienced the gamut of nature, seeing rich green vistas with rivers snaking through, bright white glaciers, overcast skies blanketing an active geyser, followed by afternoon sunshine over massive rushing waterfalls. All in one day! One of my favorite things about our tour was our guide, Ingi. He gave us tidbits of Icelandic history in between stops across the country’s majestic landscape.
Some fun facts we learned:
- Not only do most Icelanders learn the 3 languages above, they typically do so before the age of 12.
- Icelanders are purposefully peaceful. Iceland has no military force, and police officers don’t carry guns.
- Most of Iceland is powered by renewable energy sources, primarily geothermal.
- There’s no McDonald’s on Iceland.
- Iceland has a universal healthcare system that is both available and affordable to all.
- If you dare… you can try unusual (and controversial?) local fare including whale, shark, and puffin.
Something I ate…
Reykjavik is known for its coffee… and hot dogs
Right?! The fabulously gorgeous land of Iceland is known for dirt cheap delicacies? It’s true. I particularly adored the coffee at a quirky, hippy joint called The Laundromat Café. Yep. You can eat and do laundry there. My little Type A heart is swooning at the efficiency of this concept. And we had the BEST hot dogs at a little permanent food truck-ish place called Baejarins Beztu Pylsur.
We also had divine fish and chips, Viking beer, and more delightful snacks on our short trip. Too little time to try it all!
Something I felt…
The holiness of nature
Call it the slow pace of vacation, the fresh air lacking petrol fumes, or the proximity to the ocean… but I really felt sparks in my faith here. No matter where we went, I kept thinking over and over: God is so masterfully creative. In just one country, He picked so many colors, textures, and shapes for us to feast upon with all our senses. Mindfulness naturally came here; I didn’t have to work for it like I normally do.
How do you capture a raging waterfall in a single frame? How do you box up a miles long glacier into one photo? You don’t. But I hope to impart a bit of Iceland’s magnificence with a few of my measly snippets below.
Wrap Up: Peace be with you, every day
Whether you want to visit Iceland or just want to escape your day-to-day, I hope you feel these same feels when in nature. That you may always be in awe of how it catapults you into its endless depth, full of surprises and full of reverence.
If Iceland is it, then I can’t end this post without mentioning a stop to Hallgrimskirkja Church… for the views. Pay a small fee, then go to the top of the steeple where a 360 degree view of Reykjavik awaits. It is a grand experience seeing the mountains and ocean so close to each other, colorful row houses bunched together, and little dots of humans roaming about the city. Absolutely breathtaking.
There’s so much more to tell, but I’ll leave that to you to discover.
What would give you a full mind, belly, and heart in the next city you explore? Follow more of my “invitations to” adventure at the top right of the page: Home > Travel+Bug.