Iceland - Elves, Fairies, and Trolls - oh my!

 

Photos by Josh Meister Photo.

 

The majority of Icelanders believe in magical creatures such as elves. Which I love. They even halt major road construction projects so as not to disturb them. Which I also love. It's just a whole different national mindset. And it fits. We only got to explore the southern part of the country, but it was beautiful and majestic and harsh and oh so windy. The weather is incredibly fickle. It literally changes every 20 minutes. The landscape is alien for miles - lava flows covered in algae-like moss - and then all of the sudden it's nothing but beauty with water cascading over and around and almost through the earth.

 

The star of the show is most certainly nature. We spent two thirds of our trip outside Reykjavik, and I almost wish we hadn't even bothered with the city. But it was a good balance, and gave us some nice perspective. We learned that Iceland's tourism has almost doubled every year since 2010, when the country (or the airlines anyway) really started marketing this tiny country as a destination. They've jumped from approximately 400,000 visitors (slightly more than the population of around 330,000) to an expected 2.4 million this year. Reykjavik is openly struggling to not lose its identity as hotels and tourist shops sprout up in every direction. The rest of the country so far seems safe from that fate, but it might not be far behind. We wish them steadfastness and resoluteness in retaining their magic. Skál!