Iceland was not somewhere that was on the top of my holiday wish-list. When we noticed that a budget airline was starting to offer a service from our local airport to Reykjavik, we thought it sounded an interesting location for a week during the half-term school holidays. I must admit, I questioned the logic of this as it got closer to our departure date. We had a very cold and miserable spring in the UK, the weather forecast for Iceland was even worse. Why, I asked myself, are we not going somewhere hot and sunny and pleasant.
The weather was cold, it rained a lot during our stay, but I fell in love with Iceland. It is a wonderful place, you get used to the wind and rain, there is so much to see and do, it is mind blowing.
First of all, the actual location of Iceland is fascinating. It is right on the edge of Europe, just below the Arctic Circle. It actually lies on the Mid Atlantic Ridge which divides European and American continental plates. The plates are actually moving apart, slowly, every year - this accounts for the amazing landscape and features on the island.
There is so much to see - vast expanses of really beautiful terrain, some of the most impressive natural sights and wonders in Europe, endless daylight in summer and the Northern Lights in winter, the list just goes on and on.
You can enjoy nature here at its finest - there are glaciers, powerful waterfalls, volcanoes, geothermal hot springs and lots of geysers. Apparently there are also about 150 earthquakes every day (luckily you don't notice these), but there is a major earthquake about every 5 years.
The volcanoes are amazing - they even have some inactive ones where you can look down into the crater. The lava fields are everywhere on the island - lava fields cover 11% of Iceland. If you travel from the airport to Reykjavik, lava fields are the first thing you will see - endless black lava everywhere.
I read that Iceland has more hot springs than any other country in the world, that it has 14 high temperature fields with steam holes and mud pools and 800 low temperature fields with hot springs.
Children are intrigued and enchanted by this country - our 9 year old was fascinated with the lava, waterfalls, geysers, mud pools and also the geothermal power stations. Here they use geothermal power to heat the houses in the city. Pipes carry this water to the houses - it runs out of the taps, but beware of the smell of sulphur - the smelly showers do take some getting used to!
We loved Iceland and were so impressed with the sheer beauty of this country. The air is so pure and clear, there is so much space and it is the perfect place to really enjoy the great outdoors. We actually left vowing to come back again. This does not happen too often with us, our must-see travel list is so huge, we tend to feel that no matter how much we enjoy a trip, there are so many places in the world to see that we would probably not go back there. Not Iceland, we are already looking at when we could return - that says it all!