We received a letter this morning from a very nice lady called Carrie Carpenter. She won a trip to Iceland through a HI USA promotion in coopeation with us here at HI Iceland and Iceland Express. Her prize? A ticket to Iceland for two with Iceland Express and seven nights in our hostels. She decided to add some days to her trip to make the most of it and here is what she thought about Iceland:
MY IMAGES OF ICELAND by Carrie Carpenter
When I read in the monthly Hostelling International E-newsletter “win a trip for two to Iceland”, my thought was “sure, why not”, signed up and promptly forgot about it.
I have been a hostel member for years and at 73 years old; I am a very senior member.
Hostels are an important part of my travels for several reasons. Why - -often as a solo female traveler, I know I will have a welcoming reception, a safe haven and excellent environment for meeting other travelers. As the HI hostels have guide lines they must abide by, I don’t worry about cleanliness.
Now on to the exciting part:
When I received notification from HI Iceland congratulating me on being second place winner, I couldn’t believe it!
I won, I won, I won!
After my heart slowed down and I took a deep breath, I called my family and friends to tell them of my good fortune.
The common reply was “where is Iceland”? Ahhhhhh - -after consulting my Atlas to find out just where I going, I thought this lonely island, “The Land of Fire and Ice, seemed out in the middle of nowhere!
And, it must be cold! For a Southern Californian, cold had not on my agenda.
But, so be it!
Who was going to join me? I have a 20 year old grandson, Garrett that I have wanted to take on a trip for some time. He was familiar with Iceland’s reputation for its beautiful women! OMG, what was I in for!
What did we discover? The most amazing place I have been lucky enough to visit.
A world of unspoiled natural beauty, untamed but ever so inviting. Green Valleys, craggy mountains, lava fields, waterfalls, geysers, lakes, Europe’s largest glacier and an abundance of sea life, birds and the Atlantic Puffin! And, the most inviting happy folks I ever recall meeting. Literally, everyone seemed so happy and friendly!
As for worrying about cold weather, we were fortunate to experience good weather most of our two weeks. One week was spent in Reykjavik enjoying the Gay Pride week-end parade, good food, great beer and the amenities this city had to offer. We took two days to visit Westman Island. A great place to relax and enjoy more nature after our active time in Reykjvik.
The second week we rented a car and drove to Akureyri exploring the nooks and crannies along the way. There wasn’t nearly enough time to see all the incredible sights and enjoy more activities.
A word about the Icelandic ponies - -don’t pass up taking a ride. They are unique. Garrett wanted to bring one home as it was “love at first sight”!
I could go on and on, but I suggest you put Iceland on your travel list soon! A true treasure waiting to be discovered.
I am planning on returning for a much longer stay.
Garrett in the land of vikings
Garrett and Carrie in the Blue Lagoon - sans mud
Carrie in Stykkishólmur - she dares you to try and pronounce that
Garrett and the Icelandic horse - could they possibly have the same hairdresser?
Carrie met up with the Reykjavík Chief Superintendent - A very tall man
Carrie, Markús CEO of HI Iceland and Garrett