Last week I fled muggy Chicago and spent an incredible seven days in Iceland. Apart from puffins and crazy-patterned sweaters, I knew very little about the country when I set foot on the flight there. But by the time I was on plane home, straight from several hours of dancing across Reykjavik, I had grasped something about the country beyond it's amazing natural beauty.
Icelanders must be some of the most stubborn and resourceful people in the world. They would have to be to settle in a country with sunless frigid winters and limited wood for heat, let alone shelter. Farming is barely possible, and Icelandic culinary staples are heavy on wild meat, especially fish -- which of course require treading into icy, precarious waters to find. But Iceland's early visitors stuck it out, and their entrepreneurial and innovative spirit have followed Iceland into the 21st century. This creativity and resourcefulness has led to uniquely Icelandic takes on music, architecture, design, and food.
Of course, Iceland's natural resources are one of its biggest highlights, and photos below barely capture just how incredible the landscape and scenery are. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be able to go back sometime during the winter for the northern lights and to truly experience the climate that produced the determined and ingenuitive Icelandic spirit.