• Willa Hu -Travel Tips: Reykjavik, Iceland

    Photo: Willa Hu

    Posted on December 7, 2012 by Willa Hu

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    ………..30 degrees Farenheit. 30 mph winds. 6 hours of sunlight per day. Why would anyone want to go to Iceland in November? Because Iceland is one of the most visually exciting places to go the year round and winter time provides the best opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Land of fire and ice, countless magnificent waterfalls, and sheep pastures, Iceland has an unspoiled landscape and is a photographer’s dream.

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    Iceland is about the size of Kentucky, a relatively small state in the U.S. and only has 300,000 inhabitants. 280,000 of them live in the capital city of Reykjavik. Since I went during the off season, there were few things open in Iceland outside of Reykjavik, so I stayed in the small city during my week-long holiday. The quaint, colorful village is sleepy during the day, but it comes alive at night when the suburban residents and tourists come out to play.

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    Photo: Willa Hu


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    As much as I enjoyed Reykjavik, I wanted to explore Iceland’s dramatic, unspoiled landscape. Thankfully, half of the country was easily accessible through day trips. Along routes such as the Golden Circle and Southern Coast, I came across black volcanic sand beaches, glacier outlets, and hillsides covered in green moss. There’s also the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. Since we couldn’t get a good view on land, some of my travel buddies decided to snorkel in a pond that was over the the rift.

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    Photo: Willa Hu

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    As much as I love scuba diving and trying new things, the 36 degree glacier water was too much for me to bear. I opted to stay on land, and visited sites like Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every 4-8 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the famous Geyser after which all geysers are named after. Geyser was next to Strokkur, but only erupts periodically because too many people have thrown rocks in it.

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    Photo: Willa Hu

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    Since it was so cold in November, one of my favorite destinations was the Blue Lagoon. Although it was originally a part of a lava formation, the lagoon is now filled with steamy water from the nearby geothermal power plant. Its hot, mineral-rich water is reputed to have healing powers, but most tourists visit for recreational purposes. Surrounded by big boulders and glaciers, the serene environment and steamy water provides the perfect way to end a long day.

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    Photo: Willa Hu

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    I got to see so many majestic sights during this trip, but I missed the opportunity to see the Northern Lights and I left the eastern coast untouched. I plan on visiting again…but sometime when it’s much warmer.

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    Photo: Willa Hu

    About The Author: Willa Hu is a Graduate candidate enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsyvlania. To read additional articles by Willa Hu, go to the search bar at the top of the page: enter name and click green icon. Photography by Willa Hu, Copyright 2012


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