So we went to Iceland. The whole experience was the most amazing of my life so far. I’ve been out of the country before on a missions trip but this was so different. We were there as tourists so while our time wasn’t relaxing at all, we saw just about everything there was to see in the area we stayed. Here are some of our pictures and some thoughts on Iceland that might just convince you to go yourself!
Iceland invites you to look up. There were so many times during our trip that I found myself staring Heavenward. First, the mountains! The landscape itself is so different from Indiana. There are hardly any trees and no matter where you look, there was a place where the land swooped upward, grass and all, to form a mountain. We also visited Hallgrímskirkja, an amazing cathedral in the heart of Reykjavik (Iceland’s capital). From the outside’s grandeur, you would think that the inside would be extremely ornate with carvings and stained glass. But instead, you are greeted with simple creamy lines that take your breath away. We were lucky enough on our trip to witness the Northern Lights… twice! Let me tell you, there are just no words for this experience. As we stood there in the freezing dark, these green rays flickered and danced above our heads. All you could do was glorify God for His amazing creation. Our last day, we drove to southern Iceland to see the Basalt Stacks. We were able to climb on some of the lower pieces but they rose high into the sky behind us in strange gray pillars.
Iceland beckons you to imagine. Wherever you look, the Icelandic people have taken the opportunity to beautify the space around them. While walking around Reykjavik, we saw a sculptural piece called the Sun Voyager, meant to resemble a viking ship and honor the origins of the people. We also were able to walk through the Harpa Music Hall (another look up opportunity). The left side of the picture above are the faceted windows and the right side is the mirrored ceiling. Together they throw light through the large foyer of the building. At night, they have lights dance across the windows which you can also see from the outside. No matter what street we walked down, we saw street art. Some of it was definitely commissioned while other pieces were done just because someone could. Everywhere you look, someone has imagined how to make the view more beautiful and seized the opportunity.
Iceland encourages you to experience. One day in Reykjavik, we went to several of the museums. The picture of the fisherman is from the Maritime Museum. We learned a lot about the origins of the Icelandic people and how the island became what it is today. Þingvellir National Park was a big hit for us hikers. We had pretty good weather and spent a few days walking around the park, snapping pictures of all the views. Because even rocks are amazing in Iceland. Along with the Basalt Stacks, we got to see Iceland’s black beach. A long stretch of sand that was blacker than my boots with crashing waves and rocky overlooks. The wind almost knocked us off our feet a few times but it was worth the chapped lips.
Iceland asks you to linger. If there is one thing we learned on the trip, it was to wait a little longer. I spent five minutes with my phone’s camera running, waiting for the geyser above to go off and after a short blurble, I turned my camera off… just before it shot sky high with all it’s boiling spray and mist. One night while we watched the Northern Lights, there was a period where they dimmed and we noticed lots of cars drive off and away… and then the lights exploded brighter than before. While driving on our long trip to the black beach, we noticed a rainbow. Dearest Carl pulled the car over and popped out to take a picture, right when we were hit with some sleet/hail. But he stuck it out and got the amazing picture above. And speaking of the weather, you couldn’t really believe the forecast. Everything moved along so quickly! We weren’t intimidated by rain or sleet because we knew it wouldn’t last long.
Iceland calls you to believe. The people of Iceland have a strong religious history that is very prevalent in their museums. There are all kinds of old artifacts that speak to their love of Jesus. Along our drives, you can’t help but notice that every little community has a church. The one above was taken inside the National Park but most of them have bright red roofs. While I’m not sure how many are still serving their community, each one was a reminder. When you live in a place that is surrounded by corn fields, you just have to stand in awe of the sheer beauty of Iceland. The grassy mountains, the windswept fields, the inky beaches, all of it points to a Creator of boundless imagination and love. If you need a faith boost, go to Iceland. It is impossible to miss the hand of God in a land so beautiful.
Would I go to Iceland again? In a heartbeat. I would love to see the puffins in summer, pet an Icelandic horse and drive around the island to see other sights it has to offer. If you ever get the chance, don’t hesitate to take it!