We’re home now. The flight was uneventful, although someone picked up Sally’s bag from the carousel at JFK by mistake. He figured it out before leaving the airport on his next flight, so it just cost us some time and a bit of energy. The Delta staff were very helpful.
On behalf of Sally & Me, I’d like to thank you all for following this trip. Putting together the blog was a bit of work each day, but it also helped me to organize my thoughts about the trip as we went along and will act as a journal when I want to refer back later. Sally’s proof reading and editorial suggestions were critical to getting it to the level you saw.
Did I enjoy the trip? Absolutely.
Is the scenery in Iceland all it’s cracked up to be? Yes, and No.
If you’re looking to compare the waterfalls, or geysers, or mountain ranges, or coastline rock formations, or volcanos with the most dramatic in the world, or even in the US, then Iceland loses. In my opinion, none of the falls in Iceland are as dramatic as Niagra Falls, or as beautiful as any of several in Yosemite. The coastline in Iceland competes with, but doesn’t beat, the coastline in Acadia National Park, Hawaii, California, … . The mountains are awesome, but can’t compare with the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Tetons or the Rockies. You can climb up to the volcanos, but none as big as those in Hawaii, which you can practically drive right up to. Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier is the biggest in Europe, but not the biggest in the world, by a long stretch. Yellowstone has far more geysers than Iceland, although only Iceland has Geysir.
But … They all exist in a country 3/4 the area of New York State. And they are everywhere you go (outside of Reykjavik). You just drive along any road, and you’ll see something amazing, shortly. The waterfalls visible from the main roads are countless. You can see three of the largest glaciers in Iceland from a main road, without exiting your car. Parts of the terrain are so bizarre that NASA sent astronauts there to train for lunar missions.
For such a small country, Iceland is amazingly empty. Often, we would drive for miles and see no other cars, no other people,(but always sheep and goats). At 332,000 people and 40,000 square miles, it has the population of Rockland County spread out across 3/4 of New York State. And 200,000 of them live in the Reykjavik area, making the rest of the country very, very sparse. So while it’s small, the emptiness makes it feel bigger.
We had mostly pleasant stays in our hotels (and Sally managed some complimentary upgrades; I don’t know how she does that). Some of the rooms were tiny, and some were very comfortable; all but one were very clean and very well maintained. One room was weird: Japanese-themed decorations, including a wooden soaking tub. No shower.
The Icelanders were uniformly friendly and as helpful as they could be to us ignorant American travelers. They smiled and laughed with us as we struggled to pronounce place names and even their names. They tried hard to accommodate our strange eating habits.
So … I’d recommend this as a worthwhile trip. But I’d see the USA (in your Chevrolet or otherwise) first.
Thanks for reading. Hope you found it interesting and enjoyable.