Iceland: sometimes, it is about the destination

The journey to and from Iceland wasn’t the greatest. Maybe it’s just because the planes were small and cramped — I want to fly on an Airbus A380 SO MUCH — or maybe it’s because I hate, hate, hate non-direct flights (although transferring through Sea-Tac was fine, and I also commend Virgin America for being on top of my luggage situation), but the trip both ways was mostly uncomfortable and boring.

Of course, I can’t complain that much. I remember when I first started flying, there were only a few overhead TVs on board — none of that personal seat-back screen business — playing the one movie, and if you didn’t like it, tough. At least now I have the option of bringing my own entertainment on with me or paying for in-flight movies, WiFi, etc.

Maybe next time I visit, I’ll get to see the whole whale.

But the point is, getting there was a means to an end. And the end result? I really enjoyed Iceland. I liked that it was cold, but not a harrowing cold. I liked how the the sun didn’t properly rise until 11 a.m. and set around 5 p.m. (As a person who is wary of direct sunlight, this was a dream!) I liked that I had the option of walking and taking the bus to most places — I’m big on walking and taking public transportation when I travel.

And I would love to see more of the island some day, during different seasons. When it’s warm — for their given value of warm — and okay, even when it’s sunny.

The week I was there we had snow, rain and gusting wind. The snow was fine. I did not like the rain, not because I had to be in it (I wasn’t) but because it turned the streets to ice, and walking on ice is exhausting. I disliked the wind even more because wind on Iceland tends to be crazy strong due to lack of trees and high mountains, and when you’re shuffling over ice with the wind trying to knock you down, it’s even more exhausting!

Also, it was extremely windy the day I went to Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, and while the waters were as warm as ever the wind cut through everyone making the short sprint from inside to rooftop hot pots. (And if you’re keeping track, of the three city thermal pools I visited I liked Vesturbæjarlaug the most. Not too big, not too small, quiet and comfortable.)

And if it’s something you’re into, Iceland is a really great place to visit if you’re traveling alone. It’s safe and easy to get around. You can book some day tours if you like, and easily meet people to chat and go out with, or you can explore in solitude. It’s not one of those places where you have to go with someone or everything costs extra and there are activities you can’t do, and as a frequent solo traveler I appreciate that a lot.

So here’s to returning to Iceland some day. If I had my way, I’d be going back this summer! But this year I also want to return to Taiwan and Japan, and vacation-time allowing I’d like to do some more domestic traveling as well. So I guess we’ll just have to see…

“I’m sorry, but you have to let go…”

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