Engrossed in a hero-exalting saga or watching Bjork performing live, you will admit there's something triumphant, dramatic and surreal about Iceland. Roam the island itself and you'll find yet another proof that there's indeed a close link between artistic expression and where it was born. Hot springs, torrential streams powered by melting glaciers, rambling waterfalls, gushing geysers, and petrifying eruptions of lava all wrapped up in the atmosphere of omnipresent tranquility.
The mythical Ultima Thule draws like a magnet, and it has not in the least to do with the proximity of the North Pole but rather with the southern and northernmost extremes of the land being so poles apart. While the desert-like landscape of Thagill basks in the sun, Strokkur hurls boiling water 20 meters towards the sky and a rainbow arches over jaw-dropping Gullfoss, the northern fjords and river valleys are flanked by soaring alpine peaks, unique species of birds draw circles over the lake-dotted marshlands and turf houses helplessly try to disguise from visitors' attention. For how can they not catch an eye? Whether you watch whales frolicking in Husavik, soak in the steamy Blue Lagoon, or shelter from coastal winds in Reykjavik, you're virtually on another planet, experiencing the surreal hands on and getting humbler every second of your stay.
Years of isolation and a coherent community made Icelanders tough and independent, yet you'll find them exceptionally warm and family-oriented. Here you're either someone's flesh and blood, a distant relative, a close friend or at least a friend of a friend. And even if you're not, you'll be readily invited to the table and told passionate stories recounting the deeds of national heroes. So lend an ear, dear traveler, and if you haven't booked a flight yet, do it now. We cross our heart and hope to die if it's not worth it.