Jenny O'neill

Corona del Mar, California Travel Agent

Iceland Adventures

Iceland had been on my radar for a long time because it sounded so completely different. I was fascinated by the idea of an island built totally on a volcano, and by its Viking heritage. I’m also a huge Game of Thrones fan, which set many of its exciting scenes in Iceland’s wild volcanic and glacial landscapes.

When I finally went, I was not disappointed. The scenery was beyond fabulous. The mountains and vast greenery were reminiscent of the west coast of Ireland but Iceland also has otherworldly landscapes and unique adventures. For example, we walked inside a lava tube tunnel, where we experienced complete darkness, and we went hiking on a glacier with ice picks, which felt like we had stepped onto a Game of Thrones set. The famous Blue Lagoon also felt like an adventure. We were in bathing suits, soaking in the warm water as sleet came down from the sky. It felt both indulgent and a bit surreal.

One of the most breathtaking experiences was a RIB speedboat safari on the sea. There were ten of us, and we were suited up in warm gear and strapped into a boat and then we took off across the water at 75 to 100 miles an hour. There were huge waves and whales leaping around us.

We also saw the Northern Lights, even though it was not the right time of year. The hotel manager woke us up at 3 a.m. and we went outside to see what looked like a blanket of wavy light stretched from the top of the sky to the horizon blowing in the wind. It was amazing but I want to go back when it is cold, as I am told the colors are far more vivid.

Another fascinating experience was visiting Fridheimar Farm, a family-run, working farm. They have large greenhouses to grow tomatoes year-round and run a tomato-themed restaurant with wonderful tomato drinks, soups, sandwiches with fresh-baked bread and more. The farm also breeds horses and has an apiary where they demonstrate how the bees fly from leaf to leaf, pollinating the plants.

Witnessing Iceland’s geothermal heating system was amazing. The heat is piped from the ground so even though it gets incredibly cold, heat is free and green. Geothermal energy is so plentiful that it is even used to melt the snow on streets and parking lots.

Another highlight was a guided food tour in Reykjavik where chefs at several restaurants hosted tastings and talking about traditional foods and life in Iceland. They eat mostly organic farm- or sea-to-table cuisine—including a lot of lamb, cod and arctic char and it is fabulously fresh. Plus the pure water made memorable coffee.

Most of all, I loved the people. They are warm, gracious and proud of their country--and with good reason. Iceland is as exotic as it sounds. If you would like to know more, I would love to share my experience and plan your Iceland adventure. 

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