|Photo by: Alex J White|
6:00 a.m. sun came bursting through the window, as I craned my neck to see out Iceland Air's much too tiny windows. Keflavík International Airport's tarmac stretched out in front of us, black and shiny as we taxied to the terminal.
I had landed in Iceland.
This was a first for me (!), and I was thrilled to acquire a new stamp for my rapidly filling passport.
Layovers totally count if one gets to actually walk on the "ground"—from the plane to the terminal and back again—totally legit.
Now, I've seen some spectacular images from Iceland skim past my eyes as I've scrolled through my Insta-feed, so I was ready to see something awesome.
We filled into the aisle; the passenger in front of me grumbled about having to walk down the plane steps instead of getting a ramp—#sorrynotsorry you can always tell the Americans on board—and proceeded to step backwards for some unknown reason, nearly obliterating my right foot in the process.
I swallowed back a high pitch howl, and refrained from loosening a string of less than savory words on them. They just kept moving, anyway.
Shaking it off, I finally reached the top of the steps and looked out the door, getting my first uninhibited view of the landscape.
In a word, breathtaking!
One one side - brown mossy flatlands and the other - the shimmering North Atlantic waters.
4 things that amazed me in the 1.5 hours
I spent in ICELAND:
1. There were mysterious plumes of white smoke spiraling up from the ground all around the runway. I've never seen anything like it.
Iceland is known for some pretty crazy weather phenomena, in fact, it is one of the most geologically unstable countries in the world! It sits astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American continental plates rub up against one another. These frequently occuring earthquakes force magma to be pushed up from deep underground, making volcanic eruptions a very common occurance.
All of this underground churning causes steam belches to escape from the earth — which is what I was seeing all around the airport... Fun fact: Icelanders harness this steam for geothermal power; helping to make roughly 85 percent of their energy from renewable resources.
2. Upon entering the terminal, I felt like a swarthy, Italian-sized Hobbit discovering the land where Elves comes from.
Stereotypical or not, I've never seen so many tall, naturally blonde, blue eyed people all in one place together. Everyone was very polite, with excellent customer service, and the terminal was super easy to navigate around.
As a nation, their policeforce carry no guns and violent crime is almost non-existent.
3. I would choose a layover flight here and deal with all the multiple stops just so I could go back and use their amazing airport bathrooms. I should have snapped a pic, it was that awesome. You walked into the bathroom and were met with pristine white floors and individual compartment-sized bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling doors for each one. Inside, there was a toilet, floor-length mirror, and two sink faucets—one for washing your hands, the other for drying (!). There was lots of counter space to put handbags and overall space if one wanted to change or freshen up in style. For air-weary travelers it is #bathroombliss.
4. Rumor has it, elves are known to be spotted here. Certain roads have been re-routed to avoid disturbing areas where elves are thought to live. Other random fact: It is also safe enough to leave one's baby outside for nap, in case one wishes to do such a thing.
Well, folks, there you have it. Interesting, random, unique and gorgeous—just a few adjectives to describe lovely Iceland. If you have a chance, put this country on your visit-list. I for one, look forward to booking a proper visit, next time around.
Now it's your turn! Have you ever traveled to this Nordic nation before? Any interesting airport terminal stories to share?
We'd love to hear!
Until next time, Cheers!