Planning our winter break and feeling adventurous. “Let’s do some place we would not think of going to. A terrain we would not think of exploring. An activity we would not ever imagine ourselves doing,” said the husband.
“A tall order, hah?” exclaimed the daughter!
“Iceland, let us go to Iceland”, said I.
“Iceland? In this cold? You want to get colder Mommy? Don’t we freeze here?”
“Iceland? Where on earth (literally) is Iceland?” enquired the husband jumping up. “Atlas, Atlas, wherefore art thou? “
Questions galore; excitement, palpable; destination, appealing.
And so Iceland, it was. That it was far but not really all that far. That it was an island. That we would be in snow-clad country. That we would live in an apartment with heated floors. That we would be experiencing almost 21 hours of darkness. That we would have a possibility of viewing the Northern Lights. So many reasons to go and not one not to!
Almost 20 hours after boarding our KLM flight from home (including transit time at Schiphol, Amsterdam), having covered 7630 kms, we approached Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik.
It was 3.30pm in the afternoon and a faint glimmer of light on the horizon was the only sign of life. The ground below us was barren and dark brown till as far as the eye could see with some patches of white breaking in.
“Are we landing on the moon”, asked the daughter? “And why are there no cars or people?”
I had no answer to give her. The three of us held hands in excitement as the wheels of the aircraft hit the tarmac. We knew this was going to be one of the most memorable holidays ever experienced by us.
Some, “Did you know”, facts about Iceland:
• All the aircrafts of IcelandAir are named after volcanoes. Ours was named Herdubreid, after an extinct volcano in the highlands of North Iceland. It is a ‘tuya’, a volcano formed under a glacier.
• The population of Iceland is 320,000 of which two-thirds lives in the capital town of Reykjavik.
• The second largest town is Akureyri which has a population of 70,000.
• Pure water, straight from the springs, flows through all the taps.
• The currency, krona, has coins which feature beautiful sea creatures.
• Iceland has no army, no airforce, no navy.
• There is one golf course per every 4824 people.
• 112 is the universal emergency number.
• The Prime Minister is listed in the telephone book.