As I stood above the thundering waters, I wished I could fly. My mom was at the railing next to me, staring into the mist as the rain splattered upon our heads. The waving green grasses churned about us as my dad clicked pictures, and I wished with all my might to see the secrets hidden behind the grey clouds and curtains of mist. I imagined soaring high above the water and diving down below to meet the trolls and elves we had heard so much about. At last it was time to go, and as we turned to head back down the muddy path, I glimpsed a flash of something through the sparkling mist.
It took one week for my parents and me to travel around the Ring Road in Iceland, and during that week with Saga Travel I found one word best described the adventure: mythical. Surrounded by tales of elves, trolls, and Vikings as well as close up encounters with geysers and glaciers, this place felt like I was living inside a story book.
I pushed open the heavy wooden door in the grassy wall of the house of the famous Viking, Erik the Red, to find a gaping maw of darkness waiting before me. I felt my way inside and noticed a doorway on my left. I followed voices through the doorway and into a room where a smoky fire burned in a pit on the floor. As I joined a group of people seated around the only light source, my eyes slowly adjusted to the dark. I scooted over on the itchy straw platform to make room for my parents. The hole in the roof to allow the smoke to escape was covered with skylight made from a dried horse placenta, the beds were short because everyone slept sitting up, and the cows lived inside the house during the frosty winters. I desperately wished for a TARDIS to travel back in time and visit these amazing people who traveled for hundreds of miles in the 9th century on the open sea to reach the land of fire and ice. Known abroad for their speedy attacks using frightening, fast, strong ships equipped with a removable mast and a short draught that allowed them to beach on shore, the Vikings were a fearsome bunch when they ventured out aviking to raid other countries but peaceful farmers at home with one of the first democracies in the world.
Looking eagerly out the backseat window I scanned the landscape in search of trolls turned to stone by the glare of the sun. I spotted facial features that appeared etched in the stone of a mountain ahead of us. The troll’s eyes seemed to follow us as we rolled past. My gaze slid from his face as my dad spotted one standing in the water off shore. This troll was massive, and I could almost see the hand that he would be using to drag a ship inland to crash upon the rocky shore.
A black foal wobbled towards us through the dewy grass. He came closer and closer until he reached my dad. Curiously he nuzzled the camera lens and then slowly checked each of us out. I was in awe of his fearlessness. All of the Icelandic horses we saw were extremely friendly and loved to be admired.
Iceland was a magical trip through mystical lands of massive glaciers and spurting geysers. We came unbelievably close to an uncountable number of natural wonders and creatures. I will never forget it.
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