Mentioning Iceland, cold, lonely and far may be your imaginations, yes, we have these kind of feelings from its icy name, and it truly a little bit like that apparently. More than 13% of the country is covered by snowfields and glaciers, and most of the people live in the 7% of the island that is made up of fertile coastland. But when you touch the land, you will find that iceland is not only closer than you think, but far different than you ever imagined.
It is not as cold as its name implies, The average coldest day in Reykjavik is about the same temperature as it is in New York City. And though many places is covered by snowfields and glaciers, it is really a green land, few trees but filled with mosses. Why such a green country is called iceland, there is an old legend: the first Viking to discover the island wanted to keep it all to himself, so he named the green country “Iceland” and the icy country “Greenland,” hoping that future settlers would head further north.
Heaven－sent hot springs
Iceland has a hot heart beneath its cold appearance. There are more than one hundred volcanoes in the island, and more than twenty of them are active volcanoes. Thanks to the country’s volcanic base, Iceland is richer in hot springs and high-temperature activity than any other country in the world. Hot springs are found all over Iceland and the hot water is used for open-air swimming pools , which serve as health spas and as pleasant places to meet people. Swimming in hot springs is an important part of life for people in Iceland, even a few months old baby is taught swimming in open-air swimming pools.
Icelanders are proud of their water——absolute absence of pollution. You can always see that people naturally open the tap beside the pools to drink the mineral water, yeah, this is natural water without pollution, who wants to miss such good drink!
Unique natural beauty
What makes Iceland stand out is not only its hot springs and absence of pollution, but also its unique natural beauty. With open terrain, many scenes you can see in other places can give you a different mood in Iceland. Rainbow is often seen after a rain, but the brilliant rainbow in Iceland looks like a colorful bridge across the horizon from one end to another end. It is the most perfect rainbow in the world, like fairy tales. Gollfoss located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland is wonderful, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Everyone I know who has been there was stunned by the beauty, size, and sheer power of Gullfoss. This spectacular two-tiered waterfall (with each tier dropping at right angles to each other) falls a total of 32m while spanning the entire width of the Hvítá River. On a sunlit day, the mist surrounding the falls are filled with dozens of rainbows,
providing an unparalleled spectacle that may be you can see only in Iceland.
Iceland is also called island with ice and fire, so the glaciers and volcanoes are the main features. Driving along the classic tourist route, crossing the largest glacier caps Vatnajökull, wandering among the volcanos, it is just wonderful and superb! Oh, you must not miss the famous Geyser in the south Iceland, it ejects a water column to a height of about 180 feet, and many tourists choose to wait there to take a look at this grand sight.
Iceland’s population is around 313.000, 2/3 of them live in the capital, Reykjavik, and surrounding areas. The Icelandic people are highly intelligent, exceptionally literate, they are quite proud of their heritage and technological and economic achievements in their chilly but beautiful country, and this patriotism is quite noticeable to foreigners. Icelanders are generally friendly and arbitrary if somewhat reserved, and will open up in conversations. Their good nature may be more or less influenced by the harmonious co-existence between the ice and fire thousands of years, I guess. They will not deliberately agreed to comply with the time, and they do not like that everything is appointed in advance, they just enjoy casual visits. Tough they are friendly, the icelanders are proud, kinda like glaciers, and they won’t accept the thanks tip form the visitors, you should pay attention to this.
Healthy and delicious cuisine
Because of the unpolluted landscape, the food in Iceland is among the freshest, most healthy in the world. Vegetables are grown in the most organic of soils, and the seafood - always fresh from the morning catch - is astonishingly delicious. Important parts of Icelandic cuisine are lamb, dairy, and fish, due to Iceland’s proximity to the ocean. Popular foods in Iceland include skyr(a yoghurt-like desert), hangikjöt (smoked lamb), kleinur, laufabrauð and bollur.
Modern Icelandic chefs usually place an emphasis on the quality of the available ingredients rather than age-old cooking traditions and methods. Hence, there is a number of restaurants in Iceland that specialise in seafood and at the annual Food and Fun chef’s competition (since 2004) competitors create innovative dishes with fresh ingredients produced in Iceland. Points of pride are the quality of the lamb meat, seafood and (more recently) skyr. Of course, There is no shortage of international cuisine in Iceland. The capital city Reykjavik has over 200 restaurants, and the dining scene is quite sophisticated.
Feel tired these days? Iceland is a great choice, taking baths in the natural hot springs, feeling the unique Xanadu, enjoying the freshest and delicious food, oh, the busy man is in another world!