How could I not use this as a title, at least once?!

Landing in Iceland you immediately notice three things:  it’s stark landscape, clean air, and the freezing temperatures!

It’s very much like winter in Canada, but with an added breeze (read: whipping, screaming wind) off the North Atlantic.  I was grateful to have brought my parka and sealskin gloves!  Interestingly, it actually isn’t a very cold place.  Because of it’s position on the jetstream, it rarely gets colder than -15.  It just seems a lot colder and damper coming from a balmy Canadian autumn where we’ve had temperatures in the 20’s!  In any case, we spent the first day strolling around Reykjavik and enjoying the sites.  With a population of 120,000, it really felt like a small city.

I loved the colourful homes and rooftops.  One of my favourite things to do in every city I visit is walk around and see how people really live.  Most of the homes are made of tin, as it seems to handle the weather better than other materials.  Interestingly, all the homes are heated by geothermal technology, since Iceland has a steady supply of hot springs.  This technology is also used to heat city streets, driveways and sidewalks.  Just imagine: NEVER having to shovel!

Here`s a pic of one of my favourite homes:

Iceland seems to have a wonderful cafe culture, and each neighbourhood features a friendly local place to get your lattes and carrot cake.  Carrot cake was all over this country  – just one more reason Iceland is awesome.

It happens rarely, but sometimes an email will come across my computer that makes me sit up and take notice. In the most recent case it was Travelzoo‘s weekly email of the top deals in travel.  Could it be true?  A long weekend in Iceland, including tax, tour and some meals for, like, $600?  I needed to know more.  Within 30 minutes, the trip was booked.  And we added on Bjork tickets for the Iceland Airwaves music festival for a mere $80.  The O’Hurrens are heading to the land of the Vikings!

Are you aware that a direct flight from Toronto to Reykjavik is a mere 5 hours?  5 HOURS! Given my travel history, this is just a short jaunt indeed!

We arrive quite early Saturday morning (we’re talking 3 am), where we are completely free until Sunday.  Sunday we take a tour around the countryside visiting glaciers, hotsprings and a national park.  That evening we hit up the Bjork show (which is supposed to be CAH-RAY-ZEE awesome, even if you aren’t a huge fan of her music).  Just the venue looks completely awe-inspiring and opened this spring.

So, I’m super excited to see some traditional turf buildings (viking-style), as well as bathe in some hot springs – and of course, to see Bjork.  Fingers crossed we also get to spy some Northern Lights!