We first went to Iceland in May 2012. We rented a car and drove the ring road. We saw black sand beaches, a massive glacial lagoon, and a handful of waterfalls we’d only read about in books. We walked along the edge of an active volcano, saw whales and puffins and Icelandic horses (don’t call them ponies), and Thom ate fish that was pulled fresh from the sea while I filled my belly with copious amounts of root vegetables. Although we were there for two weeks, the trip felt like days. We came home exhausted, and I came home thinking that Iceland was beautiful but did’t feel like I had enough time to really experience all the beauty we’d gotten to see.
2/3 of the country resides in the capitol city area of Reykjavik. Yup, that’s right! Over 200,000 people call the metro area their home.
Prohibition lasted until 1989. Order a beer with your lunch and they’ll look at you like you’re a raging alcoholic. But come Friday and Saturday, join them for the rúntur, where people of all ages go out with the intention of getting completely shitfaced. No, really.
Glacial runoff is the main source of cold water in Iceland. No need to filter the water that comes out of faucets, because it’s some of the purest in the world.
Hot water comes from the natural hot springs. And smells like sulfur. But don’t let the funky smell fool you – the sulfur will make your skin the softest it’s ever been.
The center of the country is pretty much uninhabitable. In the earlier days, outlaws fled to the highlands to avoid the law. And few, if any, survived.
Icelanders take their swimming seriously. Every community has an outdoor, heated pool. Complete with a water slide. And if you want to indulge in their luxury, you must bathe before swimming. The pools contain no chemicals – only natural sulfur water – and Icelanders cannot stand when tourists dirty their pools.
The life expectancy is one of the highest in the world. And with state funded health care, they plan to keep it that way.
The Blue Lagoon is manmade. And is heated with water from a nearby geothermal power plant.
A majority of the world’s puffin population resides in Iceland during mating season. And I got to see them in action.
The crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. Babies are left outside, unattended in their buggies, while parents dine in restaurants or shop around the boutiques. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about taking someone’s baby.
Most facts of Iceland brought to you by Thom (pictured above), my very handsome, walking encyclopedia. See more photos of Iceland here.