Experence Iceland through a local
Hi there! I´m an Icelander who has lived the majority of my life in Iceland. I´ve however traveled a lot and lived for a longer or shorter period of time in foreign cities. Therefore I´ve been able to see the pros and cons what Iceland concerns, and I can honestly say there are many more pros than cons. You´ve probably read many articles about Iceland that are especially written for tourist. Here, I will give you a brief idea – based on my personal experience of course – how it is to be an Icelander and to live in Iceland.
Iceland has changed a great deal for the past decades. Less than a 100 years ago, you could hardly see a car, many still lived in turf houses and without electricity, the Icelandic horse was used for transport, apples and oranges were available at Christmas but not always, gravel road and in short really, everything was really undeveloped. Iceland is a very young nation and many of those who grew up at this time are still alive. The stories and traditions are kept alive and that´s one of many factors that keeps us close as a nation.
The first thing you notice when you approach Iceland by plane is the landscape. Many feel like they are landing on the moon as you see lava everywhere and the steam from the Blue Lagoon when you approach the Keflavík international airport. When you exit the terminal the first thing you get is an overdose of fresh and really pure air! Yes, I know, it´s hard to imagine next to an airport but it´s true! The first thing that greets us Icelanders when we come home from abroad is the fresh and clean air that we all love! The second thing most of us do when we get home is to have a glass of pure and cold Icelandic water from the faucet as our water is the best and cleanest you´ll ever find!
You have probably often heard how cold it is in Iceland. Actually it can get much colder in central Europe and USA than in Iceland during winter because of the humidity. I´ve experienced winter in several foreign cities and belive you me, I was really happy to get back home and enjoy the mild winter weather in Iceland! Yes, we can have snowstorms and crazy weather, but we also do have many lovely days. The four seasons have their charm. Spring is always a lovely season as the days are getting longer, the flowers start to come up and the trees get green. Summer is a magical time. The 24 hour daylight gives us beautiful summer nights and it´s simply amazing to take a walk by sea just before midnight and the sun is still shining. Autumn has its charm, with leaves falling of the trees and all the beautiful autumn colors. Usually autum is very mild and sometimes rainy but it´s cozy. Winter is a great season. When it snows, kids bring out their sleighs and make snowmen. Everything is so bright and beautiful with freshly fallen snow. Of course you can get bad days with slippery roads and snowstorms, but it can also be adventurous. Around Christmas time everything is nicely decorated and very festive.
When I was a child, I was almost everyday outside playing with my friends. In winter we went out to make snowmen and snowballs. When we got tired we sat down and started making angels in the snow. Before we knew it, we were lying in the snow, admiring the northern lights. As the aurora is a part of our winter season, I´ve had the pleasure to watch them very often. It´s hard to really describe the feeling and the experience. When you are sitting or lying down watching the northern lights dancing above you, it´s like they reach down to you and softly touch your cheek. They drag you into their fantasy world and you really get the feeling that you are in a fairy tale. It´s very soothing to watch the lights. They constantly change their shape and color but slowly so you really enjoy the show. All around the aurora, you will see the starts shining in the dark winter sky. It is truly magical to say the least. Something I recommend everyone to experience at least once in a lifetime. When you see the aurora, take your time to enjoy them! It is truly worth it!!
One of my personal favorite about Iceland is how close you are to nature, where ever you are! Mountains everywhere, ocean all around, fresh air, birds and wildlife, lagoons, etc etc. The list is long but everything is at your door step! It´s not common to be in a capital where, within minutes by foot or bike, you can be in contact with pure nature. One of the best salmon rivers in Iceland is in Reykjavík, believe it or not! Just outside of Reykjavík you can find many lovely places to go hiking, for a walk, enjoy waterfalls and hot springs, lava fields, lakes, – just name it! The whole country is a pure gem that mother nature created and Icelanders are well aware of it! We take good care of our country and try to have everything as environmental friendly as possible.
With a population less than 400.000, you really can´t feel anything but secure. Iceland is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. It has been rated the best place for women, gender equality is big priority, it is clean and peaceful, beautiful, unspoiled and friendly. The small island in the north is truly a gem that we, the natives, love with our hearts and are very proud of. Our flag symbolizes the fire/volcanoes (red), the ice (white) and the blue mountains (blue). The cross symbolizes Christianity. The flag is a big part of our history. For a long time, Iceland was under the Danish king but in 1915 we got our own flag and in 1944 Iceland became independent. So, as you an see, it´s not that long ago since Iceland became independent and we treasure our independence to a great extent.
Icelanders are very hospitable and friendly. It might take a little while to get to know us, but when you do, you´ve made a true friend. You´ll always find a friendly face on the street if you need help for directions and Icelanders are truly great hosts. If/when you come and visit our lovely island, I´m sure you´ll have a wonderful time. Don´t hesitate to ask for help, whether it´s with planning your trip or with something else during your stay, as Icelanders are always willing to help! I hope you´ve enjoyed the reading and that you´ll have a wonderful time in our clean, peaceful and magical country, Iceland ♥