February 14, 2012 | By Donna Evans
Thermal hot spring, waterfalls, glaciers, rugged terrain and unspoiled beauty abound in this seldom visited country called Iceland. About the size of Kentucky with a population at something close to 300,000, this island nation offers adventure, scenic amazement and people who are very proud to be Icelanders. Many have left to visit other countries, but most return home to continue the lifestyle of their past with a renewed pride of family and home.
The dramatic landscape replays stark scenes of mountains and thermal pools with a sense of style and magnificence. The interior is untouchable, but the distinct regions of North Iceland, South Iceland, West Iceland, East Iceland and Reykjavik each offer their own personality and local heritage. There is outdoor activity everywhere and their imagination is endless when inventing ways to enjoy their landscape and seasons.
Reykjavik, itself, is a compact entry point with the majority of the population in its palm. While it has many accommodations, none reach for the five star level, but several have charm enough to be considered for anyone who enjoys a certain amount of luxury. If you are looking for the Four Seasons, head for the European continent, but if you are looking for buildings with unique architecture and designs incorporating local themes, (and maybe a little bit of the Ikea simplicity) you will find it here. Clean and simple lines, decor and charm are snuggled into a proud heritage and ownership.
Families and communities act as one. Nature is important and fishing is the main export. There are no Starbucks or McDonald’s, but you may have your fried chicken fix at KFC. Pubs abound with locals enjoying beer, music and one another. Local restaurants offer their own special seafood, salmon or other fish recipes, reindeer or lamb.
The large heated pool of the Blue Lagoon offers locals and visitors a thermal experience that relaxes and heals. The therapeutic value is embraced by Icelanders and tourists, filling the pools with hundreds of visitors each day. This is just one of so many experiences to be enjoyed in Iceland.
Small towns and villages abound offering local excursions and tours such as snowmobiling, ATVs, jeep tours, whale watching, glacier hiking, culinary experiences, beer tasting, a chance to view the incredible Northern Lights, and so much more. Enjoying the great outdoors is an important reason to visit this special region near the Arctic Circle. Feel their pride and enjoy their hospitality. ICELAND.