I’m still not sure, if while travelling around Iceland I’ve gotten to like this country, or maybe I was disappointed, because my expectations were quite specific and not all of them I managed to fulfil.
Everyone who came back from here after driving a car around this island for a couple of days, couldn’t help expressing their oohs and aahs over the magnificence of this place’s nature. Even though they complained about the climate, the beautiful landscapes compensated for everything else. Open spaces, fantastic mountains, glaciers, coves and cliffs. If I were narky, I’d say that there are far more interesting open spaces in Australia or America, mountains are much higher in Nepal, glaciers are much more beautiful in Spitsbergen, and we probably won’t be able to find more breathtaking coves and cliffs than the Norwegian ones. What is it about Iceland then, if it cannot be compared to other fantastic places? ...because Iceland has it all, but in a smaller dose.
If someone is able to accept the fact that during the summer, the temperature here falls down below zero, if their general mood is not affected by the fact that during 5 minutes, they will experience heavy rain and even a hurricane, snowfall, which will finally be followed by sunshine, then maybe it actually is a perfect place for them to spend at least one week here. It’s a place, for which you can’t possibly prepare a single description or the best recipe for discovering it, as each of the following days brings a completely different reality, which is, to a large extent, created by the weather.
For me, this small country paved with volcanoes that are half of Poland’s size each, is interesting for another reason. It’s some kind of a challenge for people. It’s perfect for those, who I admired when they would put up their tents on volcanic ground, with wind so strong that it makes driving a car impossible. For those, who even before they would put up their tents, they would ride their bikes many kilometers in the rain and low temperature. For those, who want to challenge themselves to eat world’s most poisonous shark, which is the local people’s delicacy, and finally for those, who – here, like in no other place on earth – can watch whales coming for another treat to one of the island’s numerous coves.
In winter, Iceland is paradise for those, who seek polar light , in summer it’s a huge bathtub for everyone, who would like to take a hot bath in a scenery that is different from the sight of their own bathroom, sometimes with an additive of sulfuric perfume, which I’m unable to get used to.
If all of this doesn’t bother you, in return for all the inconvenience, you may enjoy spending your time in one of the happiest countries in the world, in which kids not only believe in elves, they actually believe that their ancestor managed to sail to America 500 years before Columbus.
And even though I haven’t learnt how to pronounce at least one single name of Icelandic volcano or city, even though I wasn’t lucky enough to come across a puffin, because the season for watching them was already over, or – if you like – the right one hadn’t started yet, I’m leaving this place with my head full of this country’s landscapes and a strong belief that a man can settle anywhere.