Where contrasts are night and day
Where did you go?
Reykjavik, Iceland's famously frosty capital and home to about half the country's population.
Where did you stay?
An IcelandAir hotel within walking distance of the lovely and sleepy downtown – but don't attempt the trek without your mittens.
What did you do?
Put on swim trunks and dunked into the Blue Lagoon, one of the country's many outdoor thermal pools. My face bore the 20 degree F. wind, but my body enjoyed a relaxing salt bath. The bubbling, milky-blue water created curtains of fog that hung over the lagoon's snowy banks, often obscuring the other bathers. I soon forgot the cold and floated the night away.
What did you learn?
I was shocked by local postcards, which depicted a completely different place than what I found. The Iceland I saw was fluffy white. The Iceland they showed was floral green. The reason: the season. With 20 hours of sunlight a day in summer, and only four in the winter, it seems travelers can enjoy two very different Icelandic vacations.
What did you eat?
For the most part, everything was the familiar Euro-American food and franchises I left at home. There were local delicacies – boiled lamb heads and pickled ram testicles – but I passed.
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