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Published: September 8th 2006
View from near
I have long been hoping to visit this island country, for it has seemed to me a very special place. It is just the distance and the high expense that prevented me to go there at a earlier time. Fortunately, I have a chance to be in Europe this summer and I happened to find out the airfare to Iceland is not that expensive. So I decided to take a detour from Europe to this mid-Alantic island.
Before I came to Iceland, I have heard about the spectacular natural wonders in the country. One thing that troubled me was transport, as I don't drive and I was not sure whether there would be good public transport. As a result, I planned to stay in Iceland for just 5 days, and aimed to visit the most famous places only. And of course, there was also the financial concern, as this country gets its fames from its high living expense.
I landed on Keflavik Airport on the rainny day, and I was later told that this would be typical for the summer weather. The first impression of the country was how empty it is, as until the bus approached the capital
Reykjavik, it was all green field. Reykjavik, at best, is a large town, with a population of some 150,000. High-rising buildings were not seen, and many of the houses appear to be in Nordic tradition.
I stayed in a guesthouse in a central location. Although the room was small and the facilities were not the best, it was one of the most expensive places to stay in my entire trip this summer. And they would charge 50% more during weekends, when tourists in Europe find themselves here for holidays. Anyway, Reykjavik is not a big place, so I managed to explore it relatively easily in a short time. The main thing I did in the capital was to plan where to go in the countryside in the following days. Thanks to the good tourist information offices, I got the exact information I needed and was able to book some accommodation ahead. So this would be my itineary in Iceland: I would go for the popular Golden Circle Tour around Reykjavik, and then took a trip to Akureyri, where I would contiune to Lake Myvatn. These are the highlights of the country, although if I had the time and the
Thermal heat easily found
money, I would go a circle around the island, as some people I met one the way did.
Nearly all sights in Iceland are about nature. The first tour for me was the Golden Circle, where I had visited the Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Fingvellir in one day. They were spectacular! I especially liked the Gullfoss Waterfall, as it was an amazing sight where water pours down a narrow gorge. I could go near the top of the waterfall and could only be amazed by this gift from nature. The second stop was Geysir where I visited the Strokkur geyser. It was a hot spring which erupted in intervals, and the tourists there just waited and watched--it is a good photo opportunity. Finally, the tour came to the Fingvellir national park. It is located on a cliff where it was said to be the boundary between the Eurasian and the American Tectonic Plate. It was also where the Icelandic Parliament set up so the place is mainly a historic monument for the country.
On the next two days, I went to the north of the country. The journey from the capital to Akureyri took a whole six hours,
View from distance
and on the way there is not much human settlement and all is about nature. Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland, although it has only a population of 15,000. The town is located inside a long fjord and there are some majestic view across it. I came to this place because I was using it as a base to have a trip to the nearby Lake Myvatn. Akureyri itself is not particularly interesting for tourists, but after all it has a relaxing atmosphere and a helpful tourist office.
I did a day trip to Lake Myvant on a tour, and I consider it was the highlight of visiting Iceland. There are many sightseeing opportunities around the lake, and the surrounding area is of immense beauty. In the morning, the tour visited the volcanic peak on the lakefront, but the sights in the afternoon were more spectacular. In order, I went to Dimmuborgir, which is site for interesting rock formed by lava flow and cooling. There is the fammous lava tunnel. Then, the rift and hot spring in Storagja, and then the volcanic carter in Krafla, which is just beautiful. Finally, we came to Hverarond, which is the
Wait for 10 minutes and it will erupt
sulphur spring and hot spots. On the way, we could also see some geothermal power station. All of the sights here could only be described as spectacular!
This very much is a summary of my trip to Iceland. In sum, the country is amazingly beautiful, calm, and gifted with some natural wonders one cannot easily find in other parts of the world. I believe this trip to the island has been worthwhile, despite the long distance I had to go there. The only drawback is the cost, which is prohibitedly expensive--I haven't been to a single restaurant during the whole time in the country, and even with this, the expense I have spent in this country contributed a large part of my total budget. And certainly I could not afford to stay longer to appreciate more of the places. I wish I could. But when one considers that it would be one-time life experience and how extraodinary the place is, I think not even one cent spent to visit this country has been wasted.
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