Having said that, Iceland initially seemed strangely familiar to me in many respects; with its Norweigan-style fijords and fresh-out-of-the-box multi-coloured houses; its soaring green hillsides and mountains; and its endless inland stony deserts and wilderness areas.
Its uniqueness of course lies in the underlying volcanic origins of the landscape itself in plain evidence wherever we travelled; from the volcanic islands we saw at the remoteMyvatn lake; the lava fields we walked through; and the sulphur fumerols to the famousGeysir Strokkur spouting boiling steam high into the air every few minutes.
After ten days travelling, walking and socialising with twelve very amiable companions, I’ve learned a great deal more about Iceland’s history, culture and geography than I ever thought possible. In particular, I’ll never forget the manager’s after-dinner illustrated lecture at our first hotel in Reykholt and his humourous, informative insights into Nordic myths and legends.
My favourite day has to be our amazing journey from Akureyri in the north, across the deserts of the central highlands and down to the south coast – a photographer’s dream. Our final day and night was spent in the capital Reykjavik, a kind of mini San Francisco, under bright blue skies and warm sunshine, a fitting end to our holiday.
I returned totally refreshed and truly amazed at the power and visual beauty of Iceland’s more remote areas; so many aspects of the holiday will remain in my mind for a long time to come. The high standards of accommodation throughout the holiday, together with the fabulous gourmet-style food we enjoyed at every hotel and each local restaurant chosen by our group leader, are a fitting tribute to the discerning research obviously carried out when initially setting up this holiday’s itinerary.