It has been known long before the Brazilian World Cup in 2014 that there is a nice people living in the rugged nature of the North. For those of us who like unconventional music (e.g. Björk or Sigur Rós), Iceland is already a household name. With the Iceland Academy, the Iceland Tourism Office has initiated an award-winning campaign showing the unique ways of Icelanders in a quirky and heart-warming manner.
It’s therefore not a surprise that there are burning admirers of this chilly region – one of which being our own Coen de Jong. We spoke to him about what fascinates him about the country of glaciers and geysers so much.
Coen, what attracts you time and again to Iceland?
Coen de Jong: “It is unfortunately not as regularly as I would like to go, as Iceland is pretty expensive. Nonetheless I travel there now and again and every time Iceland manages to fascinate me again. It’s not so easy to explain what the reason for that is, because, at face value, Iceland is a large, sparsely populated island with a lot of surreal nature between small villages. But then you look again and then it’s a trip through huge layers moss-covered lava stones where you only now and again meet other people, somewhere that gives you peace and a feeling of calmness starts to grow inside.
Of course, you can also do a lot of cool things in Iceland. Ride snowmobiles on glaciers, go hiking in ice caves or cruise inland in huge 4x4s. So far that hasn’t really taken my fancy, though”.
The country apparently has its curious side too. What things come particularly to your mind?
Coen: “One of the unique experiences that Iceland offers you is how suddenly, in the middle of a field to stumble on a monument. A ship and a woman with a child on her shoulder. Icelanders are nice and helpful and like to erect info boards. The memorial is located where in earlier times, since the colonization until roughly the mid 19th century, the Laugarbrekka courtyard used to be. Shortly after colonization, this was the place where Guðriður Þorbjarnardóttir was born. Guðriður moved with her husband in around the year 1000 to America and was the first white woman to give birth to a child there. Sounds like a good reason to erect a statue!
It is exactly these types of stories that you find in almost every street that attract you act of the face-pace life of today and commit your thoughts to things far away from the usual working sphere”.
What does it feel like to travel through Iceland?
Coen: “Traveling on gravel roads over plateaus on which a fair amount snow can still lie at the end of May and again at the beginning of September doesn’t make you an Icelander or a Viking, but the attraction of walking through one or the other passages and enjoying the serenity and vast expanse is still growing for me. For me, it is my own personal escape”.
It is probably the contrast between the seemingly ancient, rugged nature and the comfortable life of a well-upholstered office chair that draws me, unfortunately not regularly, but again and again, back to Iceland”.
If you would like to find out more about Iceland, Coen is happy to reveal more tips and experiences! You can find his contact info here.
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