Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
I don’t know what Robert Frost actually had in mind, but this poem of his fits Iceland like a glove. Iceland is a land of fire and ice — active volcanos smoldering beneath glacial sheets. Truthfully, it is like no other place on earth, and here’s what you can see on your visit:
1. Geothermal pools. Iceland has hundreds of these — warm water pools, fresh from touching a lava flow.The most famous of these is the Blue Lagoon. You can enjoy the warm sulfurous water and swim-up bar even in the freezing rain and gusty wind.
2. Urban life. Reykjavik is the capital, and only sizable city. The city’s last mayor, a professional comedian, said that if the world’s capitals were people, Reykjavik would be a funny little dwarf! This equates to what we saw — nice people with senses of humor, no high-rises, and no big-city stress. The downtown area is very walkable, with lots of sculpture, and good eating spots.
3. The Golden Circle. This is an easy day drive from Reykjavik, and features the original geyser Geysir, the bi-level Gulfoss falls, and Thingvellir, the site of Iceland’s ancient parliament.
4. Volcanos. There’s plenty to choose from, and you could pick the Snaefellsnes volcano, where Jules Verne started his “Journey to the Center of Earth”. And when you see the unearthly surroundings, you will know why. While on the peninsula, the coastal hike from Hellnar to Arnarstapi is one of the best hikes you can take.
5. Beaches. Once again, we are spoilt for choice, but my pick would be Djupallonssandur. The beach is covered with smooth, shiny black pebbles – there just hasn’t been time for it to turn into sand! The dramatic oceanside makes this one of my favorite beaches in the world.
6.Glaciers. There are about 3 different glacier hiking spots accessible from Reykjavik. We chose to go to the Vatsnajokull icecap. The tour companies are reliable, and outfit you with crampons, ice ax, and a guide. The glacier hike was fun, but the most beautiful part was the boat ride with the icebergs in the Jokullsarlon (Glacier Lake).
Verdict: With its other-worldly beauty, Iceland is a place you must visit!