Iceland Pien Gijsbers and Julia Gottenbos

Iceland is also known as the island of "fire and ice". The island is located in the North of the Atlantic Ocean, close to the Arctic circle. Iceland has a surface area of more than 100,000 square kilometres and is more than two times the size of the Netherlands. Iceland was formed from lava, that arises up from a volcano. Iceland is one of the countries with the most volcanoes. Volcanoes, lava rocks, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls and natural water sources determine the rugged landscape of Iceland. In addition determine fjords and bays face the coast of Iceland. The island has almost no forests and the whole island has no permanent vegetation. The main tourist attraction of Iceland is the peace, space, nature and the volcanic landscape. There is little afforestation. This is because there are many volcanoes in Iceland. As the Volcanoes erupt, all the plants die. The Icelandic climate is very cold, especially the cool summers are a problem for the trees, many of them do not survive.

There are many rivers and waterfalls, they provide energy from hydropower. More than 90% of the houses is heated by hot springs. The Vatnajonkull is the largest ice cap in Europe and the Odadahraun the biggest lava field in the world. They are both in Iceland. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik. Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world. It is the most crowded city of Iceland and less cold than many visitors think. Due to the Northern location of Reykjavik people think that it is very cold in the winter and that there are usually extreme weather conditions.In reality however, the winters are rarely severe. On the coldest nights the temperature drops no further than-3 ° c.

The summers are not very hot but it feels mild and warm. You will find the best weather in Reykjavik in the period June to August. Temperatures increase than upto 13 ° c and on most sunny days, sometimes upto 20 ° c. Every year from the end of August you have chance to see the northern lights. The northern lights is a spectacular natural phenomenon. The Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights, can then be observed as a brightly coloured light show in the night sky. For two months in the summer, from late May to early August, you can see the fascinating midnight sun. In this period there is almost continuous daylight. Especially in early spring and late autumn there are long periods of twilight. On the other hand, in the winter, starting from mid november to late January, Iceland will receive only four hours of sunlight per day. The silence emanating from the whirling snowflakes and the colorful sky, however, make everything right.

Fish

Icelandic fish is known worldwide for its good quality and great taste. The fish is taken off of the clean and clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean around Iceland. Special about Iceland is that there are a great many fish shops and supermarkets who sell fresh fish. Every day fish from clean and clear water is caught and sold to restaurants right away so that they can be sure of the quality. Many restaurants also offer domestic well-known fish such as haddock, plaice, shrimp and mussels. Iceland has not only fish but also lamb. The cattle grew up alone. It is left alone without growth-medications and unkempt to graze on grass, plants, herbs, berries and heide in the nature of the Highlands. This gives the sheepmeat a distinct flavor.

Traditional kitchen

There are also other dishes: traditional. The people eat such dishes only at social gatherings. Such dishes you can usually not order in restaurants. Examples include: Slatur (blood or liver pudding), Blódmör (blood pudding)

Myths

Iceland is a country full of natural phenomena. It’s no surprise that sometimes people simply disappear and never return again. It was formerly often helpful to blame elves and trolls and so explain the strange disappearances and other mysterious events. Even today many Icelanders still consider elves as something that should be taken seriously. For example, the designers of highways built their roads around the suspected homes of trolls. Families who want to build a new house sometimes rent a ‘detective’ in elves, to make sure their building land does not belong to an elves community or other fairies people. Today the icelanders believe that elves lives under rocks, in the mountains and fields spread all over the island. Iceland also seems to inhabit other people, including trolls loveling ( which live in the hedges), gnomes and a unique species that is called the ‘’hidden people’’. About the trolls, they say that it are ugly and lane creatures that live in the mountains and preying on unsuspecting hikers. Most of them are night trolls. During the day they don’t go out because they eschew the sun. The sunlight changes the trolls into stone. In Iceland you find very peculiar rocks which is believed it ever were petrified trolls which have been touched by the sunlight.

The Icelandic horse

Just like the sheeps the horses grazing large parts of the year in the great outdoors. They live mainly in the north of the country. The animals are driven together in September. Icelanders are very proud of their small horses. The animals are a very pure race, of which more than 77,000 life in Iceland. By the harsh conditions in Iceland - volcanic eruptions, extreme cold, famines- only the strongest horses will survive. The first Icelandic horses were imported by the Vikings more than 1100 years ago. Already in the year 982, it was decided that no more new horses were allowed to come to Iceland because otherwise it would be no pure race anymore. Since then, never a horse from another country has put a hoof on the island. Only the animals that were hardened against the extreme conditions, managed to survive. Thereby it is a small but very strong horse.

Credits:

Created with images by PublicDomainPictures - "iceland flag sea" • Unsplash - "volcanoes iceland volcanic" • sharonang - "top view icelandic houses from the top" • _davidphan - "Seljalandsfoss waterfall (Iceland)" • alex_and_stacy - "Like fish in a barrel" • jwdotjs - "Hvitserkur" • Unsplash - "horses iceland icelandic"

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