Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Travel with Terri to Iceland

Iceland is not a place I thought I’d ever visit – but I did and fell in love! From gazing at the northern lights to soaking in a geothermal pool surrounded by volcanic landscapes, Iceland’s natural environment turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. With 10,000 waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, and wildlife, it’s no surprise this astonishing place is now a legit tourist destination.

Check out the Capital City Reykjavik

Reykjavik is a small city with only a population of 123,000, but the largest in Iceland. It boasts all the treats you’d expect of a European capital city.

Hallgrimskirkja, which is the tall white concrete church with a viewing deck in the 243 foot-high tower, gives amazing views of the entire city. Iceland still has a state religion, which is Lutheran. I really enjoyed learning about the fascinating Icelandic culture (you can hear more of that on my YouTube channel).

Iceland is known for its geothermal pools and the Blue Lagoon is the big cheese – it’s convenient to Keflavík airport. I’d also recommend Sky Lagoon, Iceland’s newest geothermal pool. It has a totally different feel. We really enjoyed the “Ritual” a unique seven-step spa experience.

Tour the Golden Circle

This is the quintessential tour of Iceland where you can take in some major sights on a shorter driving route, all within a couple of hours drive from Reykjavik, which is where we stayed. One of the most iconic routes/tours in Iceland is the famous “Golden Circle” where you can experience three major spectacular sights   which are all true knockouts: Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), where you can see tectonic plates above and below water; Geysir, where water erupts more than 100 times a day; and the roaring and voluminous waterfall Gullfoss, which will have rainbows around it if it’s a sunny day. These are all just a day trip from Reykjavik.

Beautiful Black Sand Beaches

Snaefellsnes Peninsula is another one of Iceland’s best escapes. It has miles of wild beaches, lava fields, bird sanctuaries and lava fields. Many movies have been filmed here, including Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and countless others. We sure enjoyed seeing the unique black sands at Djupalon Beach, where a series of rocky sea stacks emerge from the ocean. Here they also have something called “sneaker waves.” Tourists are strongly warned not to get near the ocean or you could literally get swept away – that certainly got my attention!

The Amazing Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic horse is literally one of a kind, and my ride at Laxnes Horse Farm may have been the highlight of my trip! I loved learning facts about the Icelandic horse and how they have been a huge and vital part of Icelandic history. This little, but mighty horse, is the only horse breed in the world that can perform five gaits. Locals there say that this beloved horse is known to be “a hardy and most useful servant” and is basically responsible for the survival of the Icelandic people. In the 11th century, a law was in place to protect their unique horses and made it illegal for any other horses to ever be imported to Iceland, which still holds true today.

Laxnes Horse Farm was founded in 1968 by Póri Jónasson and his wife. Here you will receive a warm welcome to their farm and experience what a remarkable breed the Icelandic horse is, all completed with cake and coffee. But I had a bonus experience, one I will always cherish! Mr. Jonasson offered to take me back to Reykjavik in his baby, a 1958 Lincoln Continental. I was thrilled. As we got into this pristine vintage car, surprisingly he asked me if I liked Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. I said, “Of course, I’m a Texan!” Then he cranked up his car, turned on the music, and together we sang “Oh Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” all the way back to Reykjavik. I honestly felt like I was in a movie. It was just dreamy! This entire trip was such a fun and surreal experience – one I will never forget!

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Terri Guthrie
Terri Guthrie
Terri Guthrie is a member of Society of American Travel Writers, Texas Travel Alliance and International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Follow Terri on social media at Travel with Terri.

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