Words by Arnie Wilson | Lead photo by Mike Arzt
Iceland has been described as “hot land meets cold ocean“ where there are only two seasons: “the dark one – and the bright one”.
It‘s only three hours by air from the UK, which makes it an ideal stopover en route to North America. That‘s how many travellers first encounter this intriguing country that‘s not much smaller than England yet with a population around that of Newcastle. And if they stop over for a day or so – perhaps even for a week – before resuming their journey to the USA or Canada, they can easily be seduced into returning another time with Iceland as their objective, not simply as a stepping stone. Especially if they try skiing there.
“When Neil Armstrong visited Iceland he said: “I was very tempted to sneak a piece of limestone up there with us on Apollo 11 and bring it back as a sample.””
Rather like the Red Knot, a migratory sandpiper (possibly named after King Canute) which drops into Iceland on its way from Europe to North America, Icelandair stops off on the way to such destinations as Vancouver, Denver, New York and Boston via Reykjavik. Embracing the primeval landscape of the world‘s most recently formed land-mass – “a geologically teenaged island“ – the airline even names its fleet after volcanoes.