Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to a far-away place (6-hour flight) known for its stunning glaciers, vast mounds of snow, and breathtaking views from the mountain tops. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean with a total population of 332,529 Iceland is the opposite vacation destination that anyone would want to take, but it is totally worth it!
Over the past few months prior to my departure, both family and friends asked me the repeated two-word question “Why Iceland?”. At first, my response was a dull “I don’t know” or to redirect the conversation, but after a few more instances and the excitement started to set in, my answer quickly changed to “Why NOT Iceland”?
The funny thing about black travel or should I say, when black people travel, is that we tend to choose the same tropical locations but in a different region. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t want to experience the relaxation of laying on a beach on an island off the coast of Spain, but how many beaches can you lay on before getting sunburned?
For me, traveling is an escape from reality, not only in my personal life but from the lives and energies of other’s that I encounter daily. Too many times I meet people who are sick of their jobs, or can’t afford to go on trips due to external factors (health, finances, debt, etc.) but instead of getting down in the dumps like many of us do, I turn negative thoughts around by choosing to live my best life through, travel, love, and positivity,
Going to Iceland was a no-brainer once putting everything into perspective. It is a place that is often seen as icy, cold, and unfearingly boring if you talk to someone who has never gone, but once stepping onto the Icelandic road, you’ll quickly see how ignorant such comments are.
In an effort to capture the trip for my readers to see, I think that it is befitting to do a two-part recap of my trip to Iceland!
A little forewarning before reading any further, the signs, street names, and anything that can be labeled in Iceland was and still is difficult to pronounce. You might run into some tongue biting, spitting, or confusion while trying but this is normal if you are not a native.
Moving on, the first stop on this trip was Kirkjufell Mountain. Kirkjufell is a 463 m high mountain on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður. Here is where I felt as if the world had swallowed me whole and placed me directly in front of this mountain to view. I’ve never seen anything so massive up close like that. It was beautiful, terrifying, and oddly peaceful.
North American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates
Whoever said you don’t use anything that you learn in college after graduating is a liar (kind of). Looking at the tectonic plates while watching the sunset right in front of your eyes is truly an experience for any geology buff out there!
Spanning the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland emerged because of the divergent, spreading, boundary between these two plates and the activity of Iceland´s own hotspot or mantle plume. Who would have known that after reading about tectonic plates in AP environmental science in high school would, in fact, serve a purpose many years later?
Thingvellir National Park
Þingvellir which is anglicized as Thingvellir is a national park in southwestern Iceland. Not the typical national parks that we see in the U.S but still wonderful all the same, Thingvellir is known for its breathtaking masses geological significance and tourist attractions.
By far my favorite site throughout the trip, solheimasandur beach is about a forty-five-minute walk to and from the historical abandoned DC-3 plane that crashed back in 1973. Luckily everyone on that plane survived, this piece of history is set within the black sand for all the world to see if you chose Iceland as your next trip. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the Northern Lights during my visit to solheimasandur, I was able to take a few cool pictures without the use of an expensive camera.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and The Sea Trolls
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal. With its enormous basalt stacks known as the sea trolls, roaring Atlantic sneaker waves and stunning panoramic photography, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful and highlighted example of Iceland’s black sand beaches.
If you plan to visit the black sand beach, you will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting on the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar. According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. However, as bad luck would have it, the dawn quickly arose, turning the trolls into solid stone.
The adventure does not stop here! Stay tuned for more on Iceland, Reykjavik, and everything in between with Part Two of the Icelandic Beauty coming soon!