Winter Vacation in Iceland: Part 2

Snow in Akureyri.
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Akureyri, Iceland, is a town of about 19,000 and is the “Capital of North Iceland.” Here, after arriving from Reykjavik, we enjoyed the snow and the local feel. The Kea Hotel could not be more central. There were a few museums and galleries. Rub 23 and Strikid restaurants were hidden gems that had a fabulous gourmet world of dining inside. 
 
The big event was our daytrip to even farther north, to Grimsey Island, on a 35-minute Norlandair flight. Here, only an open curtain separated the passengers from the pilots. Upon our arrival, Gagga from the Grimsey Airport took us out to the traditional Arctic Circle on the airport grounds. Then, she loaded us into her vehicle and took us on a tour of the island, which has a population of 30 people in the winter. We stopped by a souvenir shop owned by the local postmaster. Genuine locals were ready to assist in a world away from the norm, and the spectacular scenes and snowy landscapes were impressive. The flight back to Akureyri was held for about an hour as the doctor visiting the island that day was delayed from seeing patients.  
 
Upon our return to Reykjavik the following day, I checked into the 16-story Foss Hotel Reykjavik, which is a symbol of a changing Iceland. There was a travel reception at the dramatic Harpa Performing Arts Center and a full day of Icelandic and Nordic appointments with key suppliers and hoteliers. On Saturday, we had a choice of excursions. I chose a daytrip to West Iceland and Husafell, the area of the amazing Hotel Husafell, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Located about two hours from Reykjavik, the destination is the star. Thermal pools, hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, the Northern Lights, the Langjokull glacier, and lava cave exploration are just some of the experiences you can get over the course of the year.  
 
I chose to go on and into the Langjokull glacier. Our all-terrain vehicle took us up to the top of Langjokull. Then, we walked inside through manmade tunnels to go deep within this 7,000-year-old glacier. It is still moving, and the tunnels have to be constantly adjusted. Our guide took us inside for about an hour, and we learned the basis of glacier knowledge and how important they are for the balance in the earth’s ecosystems.  
 
Travel to Iceland has been booming during the last few years and access has improved. Icelandair, WOW, and Delta provide year-round service. American and United are seasonal.  
 
However you get there, make sure you go. Winter or summer, this truly unique destination has friendly outdoor-centric people, a spectacular landscape, and diverse experiences, of which many are unique to the country. It will more than fulfill your travel dreams and aspirations. As a Certified Iceland Specialist, let me show you the way.  
 
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