1) The language is impossible to pronounce. I’m not exaggerating. Don’t even try and save yourself the embarrassment. You can do what we did and make up nicknames for everything. We’re not popular with the locals
2) Icelanders have a lot of faith in your driving. A lot. Aka they have no guard rails along steep cliffs where there’s a quick plunge into the water below or a tumble down a rocky terrain on the other side. They also are a fan of blindsided driving where it basically turns into a one-lane road and you just have to pray that no one is coming in the opposite direction
(I have no picture of this. We were trying to survive and not take photos)
3) If you’re afraid of heights then Iceland will probably give you a few panic attacks. Take it from me. I’m deathly afraid of heights and I was convinced I was going to fall to my death at all times. See exhibits below
4) Iceland has the most versatile terrain I’ve ever seen. One minute you’re driving through a luscious green valley with a babbling brook, the next you’re driving along a winding cliff with snow capped mountains, and the next through a terrifying area that looks post apocalyptic at best
5) There are more animals than people. Seriously. For hours at a time it was just us, our lovely car that we named Picasso, and a bunch of sheep. We contemplated inviting them into the car to create a mini zoo
6) Nothing opens until 10. Apparently Icelanders just don’t like to start their day any earlier or like to starve tourists who wake up at 7 to make sure they can see all the sights
7) There is no such thing as darkness in the summer. We knew coming here that there would be around 19 hours of sunlight but we were still told the sun would set. Below is a picture of when the sun was supposed to have “set”. All lies I tell you. Do you know how much it messes with your being to see light at all times?
8) Restaurants are super accommodating. There aren’t any sneaky tricks associated. Like here’s a cup of water now give us $10. Water is clean to drink and free. They also will allow you to pay separate checks. No more pulling out calculators and foreign cash and banging your head against the table while you try to figure out what you owe.
9) “There isn’t any bad weather just bad clothing” those are the first words of advice that were given to us upon disembarking. And boy could they not have been truer. Be prepared for the weather to change at a moment’s notice and if you look up the weather beforehand and think you’ll be okay with no scarves, gloves, and hats, think again my friend. Summer is still pretty chilly.
10) Beer was only legalized in 1989. Yeah you didn’t read that wrong nor did I mistype. I decided to track down a brewery so I called a few numbers that were given to me by random Icelanders and then the person on the other end of a phone gave me an address and we headed there. Yes, I was that determined. We ended up having a private brewery tour by one of the brewer’s who seemed to vacillate between thinking we were the cutest people ever and hating us (okay…he never thought we were cute but he did tolerate us). The legalization of beer was one of the fun facts he shared. Of course, he had to put up with us gasping in shock and asking questions like “BUT WHAT DID YOU DRINK?!” They now have Icelandic Beer Day where they celebrate the legalization every year. I see you, Iceland.