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December 10, 2018

Travel Hard: Iceland

January, 2012.

It was winter, which means it was dark approximately 20 hours a day.  There was a freak blizzard so everything was covered snow, which, paradoxically, is not the norm in Iceland.  Also, since Icelanders celebrate Christmas for 12 days, pretty much everything was closed.

I realize this is not everyone’s ideal vacation.  But for us, it was heaven.

Top 5 things to Love Hard about Iceland.  (In January)

  1. Nature.

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The volcanic terrain is simultaneously imposing and barren, alternating between seemingly endless expanses of rock, mind-blowing waterfalls, cliffs overlooking majestic black sand beaches, and serene glacier lakes.  Furry horses roam the tundra and tiny homes and churches speckle the hills under a constant glimmer of almost sunset.

2. Aurora Borealis.

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Seeing this was top 5 on my life bucket list.  They dance.  They literally waltz across the sky.  It’s breath-taking and elusive and once in a lifetime.

3. Solitude.

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We never fought jetlag.  Since most stores and restaurants (and almost all museums) were closed anyways, our favorite time to explore was between 2 and 4am, wandering the deserted streets of Reykjavik or standing knee deep in snow outside our adorable Inn in Vik, staring at the sky, waiting for the Northern Lights to dance across the abandoned farmhouse next door.

4. Magic.

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Fairies.  Iceland is magic.  Pure, raw, unfiltered magic.  It’s hard to describe.  You have to FEEL it.  The locals believe in Huldufólk – hidden people or elves… they build miniature versions of their homes and buildings to house them in the front yards.  I LOVE IT SO HARD. 

5. ?  New Years?  Fireworks?  People?  Hotel owners?

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