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If you are looking for warmth, beaches and lazy leasure time, travelling Iceland is not for you. If you do look for calculated adventures, spectacular landscapes and the simple life, an Iceland travel is a must!
The typical first time tourist tour is along the A1, which is the main road circling the island. The name A1 suggests (at least to German travellers) that it is a big travelling road with many lanes. In fact, the A1 is in parts a small road and sometimes you drive on gravel. If you should want to travel on your own, make sure your rental car is a 4-wheel-drive.
If you want to go off-road, make sure to have a GPS onboard. And rest assured off-road you want to go. Most of the massive waterfalls lie off-road and I was adventurous enough to drive a Toyota Yaris over rock and water.
All over Iceland you can speak English. Everyone understands you. As a tip. Do not make overnight stay reservations in advance. I stayed at farmhouses that all have a B&B (Bed and Breakfast) sign. The people are absolutely lovely and very helpful. And upon arrival you are most often greeted by the farm dog(s). There were many occasions I wished I could simply take one of them with me. ;-)
I declared Iceland as the land of the waterfalls. And what waterfalls they do have. There are no tourist paths to walk to them, so make sure to have the right shoes!!! I saw some tourist trasping around in light sandals. Not very good for rock climbing. That was also the very first Icelandic word I learnt: "Foss". Anything "Foss" means (put in waterfall's name) waterfall and I followed any sign stating "anything Foss" passionately. Did I mention I love waterfalls. ;-)
Funnily enough I could not understand one single word of spoken Icelandic but I could understand half of it in written form. There was a sign that said ein breid bru. In German it would be "Eine breite Brücke" and in English "One broad bridge". Translation to nowadays English: one lane bridge where only one car can pass into the other direction at one time. Another thing was the pronounciation. The colour blue is blaw in Iclandic and is pronounced like the German counterpart blau.
In Iceland you find unharmed nature reservoirs. You can climb up onto volcanoes (mostly in the Myvatn area). Do not wonder if you smell foul eggs there. Sulfur and geological activity can be seen and smelled all over Iceland. Iceland also features the largest Icefield Europe can offer. The opening sequence of Batman Begins was shot there.
The weather is similar to the Scottish. Ever changing. You start driving in downpour and around the next corner, the sun shines again. I am sure it wasn't the last time to have been there.
The folk music on Iceland is in strong connection with its history, the relationship between man and nature and contains also the legends and stories about trolls, fairies and dwarves:
She has had a long illness
and is wasting away
She never sleeps at night, and is
not in her right mind
Runes have been carved. It was a farmer's son
from not far away, who did that
After that it was much worse
No man should notch a rune
not without knowing how
to control it. Carved lines
can muddle meddling men
I counted ten crude runes
cut in that piece of bone
They've done damage
to your daughter's
health all this time
Egil carved runes and placed them under the pillow
in the bed where she lay
It seemed to her as though she woke from sleep, and then she said
that she was well
Fann Ég Á Fjalli: A magical stone, which grants wishes, is found in the mountains but the finder forgets the wish.
Íslandsljöd: A call to the Icelandic nation to use the country's natural resources for the advancement of the people.
Völuvísa: The fairies and dwarves urge the humans to preserve the cultural heritage and the independence of the country.