To Iceland With Love

Dear Iceland,

I know you are loved by many, and rightfully so. You are beyond beautiful, with all your natural splendor and opportunities for mere mortals to experience your otherworldly wonders. It has been two weeks since I returned, and I cannot stop thinking about you.

I close my eyes and envision driving along the two lane highway hugging the southern coast. I see the landscape changing dramatically from snow-capped mountains in the distance to moss covered lava fields, imposing cliffs, glaciers making their way to the sea, smoke from geothermal pools dancing in the wind and the little chapels that sit atop hills. The geysers gush, the luxurious manes of horses gently sway in the wind, their icy blue eyes imprinting on your soul, and sheep gingerly munch on grass in wide open spaces. Blocks of ice millions of years old wash up on a picture perfect black sand beach, reflecting the last rays of the setting sun as curious seals float nearby, oblivious to the warm-blooded humans freezing their behinds to experience Iceland in the winter. You are a nature lover’s dream.

Reynisfjara beach, near Vik

I remember the 20 degree chill in the air, the 100 mile per hour winds that would knock you off your feet if you weren’t careful, the icy, precarious paths to soaring waterfalls, and the shiver I felt when I first laid eyes on the glorious northern lights. They were faint and the busload of tourists that arrived at our hotel were sprawled on the wet grass with coats over their pajamas, screaming with glee every time they saw a sliver of swimming green light across the clear sky. You may have gotten a little too popular, but I still loved every second of my time with you.

On the way to Jökulsárlón glacier

You are not my first travel love (Galapagos still has a special place in my heart), but you happen to be one that I can get to easily, thanks to IcelandAir. You are not the cheapest either, the rental car from Blue was expensive (but wonderfully reliable in the harsh weather), and your food was pricey for budget conscious travelers. But I did have one of the best vegan meals ever (thank you Kaffi Vinyl, the paprika was a nice touch). Oh, I forgot how much I enjoyed those vegetarian sandwiches from your adorable supermarkets that filled my belly on those long drives across your vast land.

Skógafoss waterfall

You are one of the best places I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, and I am so glad I got to share you with my lovely husband, who like you, makes my world beautiful and magical.

Until next time, I dream of our next adventure together…

Diamond Beach with Scott
Diamond Beach near Jokulsarlon glacier

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

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