As we’ve been driving around Iceland, I’m seeing miles and miles of fields filled with these bizarre plastic wrapped hay rolls.
Icelandic farmers wrap up their hay rolls to make them last longer. Here’s how they do it so that the hay stays dry for up to 3 years! I wasn’t able to film this myself, so I found this video online:
It’s amazing to see so much open space in Iceland, especially compared to my experience in Japan. In Tokyo, the population density is 15,663 people for every square mile. Even in Hokkaido, the rural island where I spent time visiting wetlands, there are 44 people for every square mile. In Iceland, the population density is about 8 people for every square mile. That’s why there’s so much open land here!
Don’t start thinking that this land is wasted. It’s home to thousands of hay eaters — horses and sheep! We’ve been seeing them everywhere.
Most of the time, these animals don’t want us to get too close. But sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get to go over and introduce ourselves. This little guy didn’t seem too bothered by me taking this photo.
They are much smaller than horses in the United States, and they have 5 different types of gaits. While most other breeds of horses can just walk, trot, or gallop, the Icelandic horses can do much more. At the farm, we got to see a demonstration of the five types of movement, and they even showed us how a rider can travel holding a full cup of beer and manage not to spill it! That’s how smooth a ride it is! (Don’t worry — she wasn’t drinking and riding!) I tried to capture the different gaits on camera, and you can see the rider holding the glass at the end of this clip:
I even got to get close and personal with some Icelandic horses, and so I thought a selfie was necessary:
It’s no surprise that the tourism industry tries to capitalize on their sheep and horses. I haven’t purchased anything yet, but I’m tempted!
These creatures are definitely an adorable highlight of the trip. I’m just trying not to think about what’s going to happen to the lambs come September, when the weather gets cold and the cuties are healthy and fattened up…