Last summer my wife and I enjoyed a 10 day holiday traveling around Iceland by car. We had expected a rather barren country with lots of lava and little vegetation and were pleasantly surprised by just how incredibly beautiful the country was. Everywhere below mountain level was green and the wild flowers were in bloom everywhere. Wild lupins were the most common flower seen growing wild all over the place. Of course there were glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs but the overwhelming impression was of a spectacularly wonderful and very beautiful country. There were also a lot more trees than we expected.
The people of Iceland were incredibly warm and welcoming and we enjoyed the holiday immensely. It is on a par with New Zealand for beauty.
One surprise when we were there was a chance visit to a little church in north Iceland one evening where we saw an Icelandic male quartet sing. The group is called Út í vorið. They were incredible and the music probably as good as any male quartet we have ever heard. We immediately bought one of their CDs and a few weeks later we wrote to them to get the others they have recorded.Like all Icelandic churches it was warm and cosy, heated by geothermal energy.
Iceland suffered in the financial crisis of 2008 but chose to declare themselves bankrupt rather than seek bailouts and help. In effect they said, "stuff the bankers", and I have some sympathy with this attitude and approach. The policy seems to be working: they have good natural resources (free geothermal electricity), plentiful fishing, aluminum reserves, wool, a healthy tourist industry now the exchange rate is better and a hardworking people keen to rebuild their economy. I wish these good people well.
For more information on Iceland I can recommend Iceland Review online.