Saturday 11th April 2015 - Married for 981 days

Iceland

Why Iceland?

Mitchell and Steph visited Iceland in November 2011. Steph felt at home as Reykjavik reminded her of Stornoway and indeed many Vikings stopped in the Western Isles en route from Scandanavia to pick up Hebridian women. Mitchell likes that Iceland looks like Northen Scotland and the moon at the same time. He also doesn't want to break sweat on his wedding day due to the weather.

Never mind that, here's what Charlotte Church thought here 

Things to see and do in Iceland.

 

Whalesilica

Iceland offers a vast range of exciting activities, whether you want to gaze at the Northern Lights, hike across the highlands, see giant whales and colourful puffins in their natural environment or relax in a hot spring. You can also go ice climbing, caving and vist it's National Parks.

The Blue Lagoon (right) was Steph's favourite part of our trip in 2011. Where else can you relax in a naturally heated geothermal pool that is a warm as a hot bath outside with a bar in the middle and a unlimited supply of silca mud to apply as a face mask?

We also recommend;

Golden Cirlce Tour

Harpa Concert Hall

Hallgrímskirkja

Rekjavik 871 +/- 2 

About Iceland

A mythical kingdom ruled by elves and Arctic energy, Iceland is where the past meets the future in an elemental symphony of wind, stone, fire and ice.

 

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Iceland is, literally, a country in the making – the natural elements work in harmony to power its veritable volcanic laboratory: geysers gush, mudpots gloop, Arctic gales swish along silent fjords, stone towers rise from the depths of an indigo sea, and glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields and the merciless tundra. The sublime power of Icelandic nature turns the prosaic into the extraordinary. A dip in the pool becomes a soothing soak in a geothermal lagoon, a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering ice cap, and a quiet night of camping means front-row seats to either the aurora borealis’ curtains of fire, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun.

Beyond the torturous clash of ecological anomalies, it’s hard not to be deeply touched by the island’s awesome beauty – few leave the country without a pang and a fervent vow to return. Iceland has that effect on people – it turns brutes into poets, and sceptics into believers. Perhaps it’s the landscape’s austere bleakness, or maybe it has something to do with the island’s tiny population, but a soul-stirring visit is as much about the people you meet as it is about the ethereal landscape. The warmth of the Icelanders starkly contrasts the frigid climate – expect complimentary cakes and cookies, friendly intellectual banter, invites to pub crawls, eager hiking buddies and 50 new Facebook friends when you return home.

Iceland’s climate and environment is as charged as the scrolls of its ancient sagas; electrifying legends of heroes and thieves during a time when the rest of the European continent was mired in disease and ignorance. The era’s mystic ruins, crumbling turf houses and haunting cairns act as the cultural and tactile counterpoints to the islanders’ modern set of visual pursuits. Influenced by its Scandinavian brethren, Iceland’s current spectrum of style embodies the airiness of a crisp Arctic evening. The relative ease of life allows for an aesthetic that draws on the desolation of the surrounding land and mixes it with the whimsy of the collective imagination.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland#ixzz30fHapFIK

About Reykjavik.

The world’s most northerly capital combines colourful buildings, quirky people, a wild nightlife and a capricious soul to devastating effect. Most visitors fall helplessly in love, returning home already saving to come back.

Reykjavik

The city’s charm lies in its many peculiar contrasts, which, like tectonic plates clashing against one another, create an earthquake of energy. Reykjavik offers a bewitching combination of village innocence and big-city zeal. It’s populated by darkly cynical citizens (a quality brought very much to the fore by the country's recent near-bankruptcy) who are, in spite of everything, filled with unstoppable creativity and enduring spirit. In summer the streets are washed by 22 hours of daylight; in winter they’re scoured by blizzards and doused in never-ending night. Reykjavík is a city that treasures its Viking past but wants the future – the very best of it – NOW!

You’ll find all the cultural trappings of a large 21st-century European city here: cosy cafés, world-class restaurants, fine museums and galleries, and state-of-the-art geothermal pools. Reykjavík has also become infamous for its kicking music scene and its excessive Friday-night runtur, a wild pub crawl round the small, superstylish clubs and bars.

Add to this a backdrop of snow-topped mountains, an ocean that wets the very toes of the town, air as cold and clean as frozen diamonds, and incredible volcanic surroundings, and you’ll agree that there’s no better city in the world.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland/reykjavik#ixzz30fHRfmCz

Food and drink in Iceland

Although Iceland’s food is unlikely to be the highlight of your trip, things have improved from the early 1980s, when beer was illegal and canned soup supplemented dreary daily doses of plain-cooked lamb or fish. The country’s low industrial output and high environmental consciousness means that its meat, fish and seafood are some of the healthiest in Europe, with hothouses providing a fair range of vegetables.

While in Reykjavík the variety of food is pretty well what you’d find at home, menus elsewhere are far more monotonous – with sheep outnumbering the people by four to one, there’s a lot of lamb to get through. You’ll often find some variety to the standby grills or stews, however, even if salads have yet to really catch on; otherwise fast food or cooking for yourself will have to see you through.

It’s been said with some justification that Iceland runs on coffee, with just about everyone in the country firmly hooked. There’s a definite café culture in the cities – and a national generic café chain, Kaffitar – and decent quality brews are offered even at rural cafés. In some supermarkets, hot thermoses of free coffee are laid on for customers to help themselves, and wherever you pay for a cup, the price usually includes a refill or two. Tea is also pretty popular, though not consumed with such enthusiasm. Bottled water and familiar brands of soft drinks are available everywhere. Milk comes in a bewildering range of styles, making a trip to the supermarket fridge quite a challenge if you can’t read Icelandic. Mjolk is normal full-fat milk, Lettmjolk is skimmed, AB Mjolk is plain runny yoghurt, and G-Mjolk is UHT milk.

Alcohol is expensive – bring a bottle of duty-free in with you to save costs – and, with the exception of beer, only sold in bars, clubs, restaurants and state-owned liquor stores known as vinbúð. These are often tucked out of sight in distant corners of towns and cities, and always have ludicrously restricted opening hours – sometimes just an hour, five days a week. Most Icelanders drink very hard when they put their minds to it, most often at parties or on camping trips – the August bank holiday weekend is notorious. It’s surprising, then, to find that full-strength beer was actually illegal until March 1989, when the 75-year-old prohibition laws were revoked. In Reykjavík, March 1 is still celebrated as Bjórdagurinn, or Beer Day, with predictably riotous celebrations organized at bars throughout the capital. Beer is available in many supermarkets, and comes as relatively inexpensive, low-alcohol pilsner, and more expensive, stronger lagers.

All wine and most spirits are imported, though hard-liquor enthusiasts should try brennivín, a local spirit distilled from potatoes and flavoured with caraway seeds. It’s powerful stuff, affectionately known as svarti dauði or “black death”, and certainly warms you up in winter – you’ll also welcome its traditional use to clean the palate after eating fermented shark.

Restaurants, cafes and bars

Just about every settlement in Iceland has a restaurant of some sort. In Reykjavík, and to a lesser extent Akureyri and the larger towns, you can get everything from traditional Icelandic fare to Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and Italian- and French-inspired dishes, and there are even a couple of vegetarian places. This is the most expensive way to dine – expect to pay upwards of 2500kr (£15-£25 per head) for a main dish – though keep your eyes peeled for lunchtime specials offered, or inexpensive fixed-price meals of soup, bread and stew. All-you-can-eat smorgasboards or buffets also crop up, especially around Christmas, when restaurants seem to compete with each other over the calorie contents of their spreads of cold meats and cakes.

Mitchell is keen for the stag night to include the expensive but highly thought of Austur India Fjelagid, the most northerly curry house in the world which is frequented by Harrison Ford. Oddly it is on the south side of the road. 

Self catering

Self-catering will save a lot over eating out, though ingredients still cost more than they do at home – again, you might want to bring some supplies with you to save money.Larger supermarkets are well stocked with all manner of groceries, plus fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. Supermarkets also sell single-use barbeque packs (with aluminium tray, charcoal and firelighter) if you fancy eating alfresco. Iceland grows its own capsicums, mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers, but most other things are imported and therefore fairly expensive. Bónus and Krónan are the cheapest supermarket chains.

Read more: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/iceland/food-drink/#ixzz30fMQeEo2

Other information

http://www.visiticeland.com/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland ;

http://wikitravel.org/en/Iceland