ICELAND: Land of fire and ice & Game of Thrones; thief of my "travel" heart

Linda Lewis in Iceland

Have you ever been somewhere for the first time yet you felt like you "knew" it?  It was familiar and you felt like you were revisiting the place?  This was my experience on an Iceland vacation. I feel an unexplainable bond with Iceland that I don't question; I just enjoy it.  I've been there in both the winter and summer months - March and June. And surprisingly, it was warmer in March than I had anticipated and colder in June than anticipated. In winter, you can get five different weather patterns in one day; you may or may not see the Aurora Borealis (so there should be other reasons you visit). Summer allows more freedom for hiking and biking; it can also turn cold. Either season is incredibly special in its own way. But that is Iceland; it has a spirit of its own and that spirit is, indeed, playful.  

Iceland is a land that, in its barest description, is nothing but black rock (sometimes covered in moss), black/white/gray glaciers, basically no trees, no profound animal life, and very few inhabitants. But when these are all jumbled together and added to the cleanest, purest water you'll ever drink, some of the craziest music you'll ever hear, some of the best food you'll ever eat, and scenery that takes away the breath at every turn, you will get a magical, mythical land of enchantment --not ever to be forgotten.   

Though I have traveled to many of the country's iconic sites, there is still so much to Iceland that can be explored beyond Iceland 101. 

If your interest is birds, you will see many species in the granite archipelago/fjordland to the far west.  The Icelandic horses are pure bred and the pride of Icelanders. They have a 5th gait that other breeds do not.  For riders, (and even non-riders) you should not miss trying these beautiful creatures, as their ride is the smoothest of any horse.  Iceland's numerous and eclectic collection 

of waterfalls never gets boring; they are all different and not to be missed.  There is hiking on or off glacier, or, for the very adventuresome, the only lava and ice cave in Iceland in the north of the island.  To see a lot in a short amount of time, helicopters offer thrilling experiences.  You can take "super" land rovers into off-road terrain that will have you swearing you're on Mars.  Seriously.  This is not a place for a 2-night stopover on your way to _____ (fill in the blank). This is a destination that is in-depth exploration worthy.  

I've advised clients that Iceland is beyond descriptive words and must be experienced.   It is a place that is felt, not just seen.  It offers a quirky people with their own unique sense of humor - all of whom speak English.  Ask any of them about the trolls, fairies, elves and the "Hidden People" who live in the rocks. From mythical ancestors to the Vikings who settled this island, their history and stories remain a large part of their identity.  Engage these interesting people on a personal level and you'll get yet another dimension of why this country is the way it is, and why there is not another place on this planet like it.  

And I dare you to learn some Icelandic!       

Linda Lewis