Exactly one year ago I was walking through the colourful streets of Reykjavik searching for a place to eat that wouldn’t require for me to sell any of my organs first (read: it’s very expensive in Reykjavik).
Highlights of the trip include, but are not limited to:
- Visiting Þingvellir – the original site of the oldest parliamentary institution in the world, Iceland’s National Parliament.
- Seeing The Great Geysir (the first known to modern Europeans), and it’s slightly more exciting neighbour Strokkur – a fountain geyser that regularly erupts hot water as high as 30m into the air.
- Having what might be the best hot chocolate I have ever had at Te & Kaffi.
- Spending time on what we nicknamed ‘Hope Beach’ rock balancing and enjoying the view of Esja.
- Walking behind the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (and getting completely soaked).
- Standing on the Sólheimajökull glacier, which lead to:
- Saying yes to marrying my best friend, and the love of my life.
Plus, the beautiful, magical Solheimajökull and my even more spectacular new diamond:
Other important notes:
Iceland is cold. We had thermal layers, ski jackets and waterproof trousers, and we needed them. Although sadly it didn’t snow whilst we were there, it rained A LOT. We learnt the saying; “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait five minutes”. And yes, it does change that quickly.
Iceland is beautiful. We got to see so many things in such a short time by booking on to some fabulous tours with Gateway to Iceland. We did the South Shore adventure, the Hot Golden Circle tour and the Northern Lights tour and they were amazing, plus our tour guides Baldur and Einar were fantastic – we learnt so much in such a short time! We didn’t get to see the Blue Lagoon as it was fully booked – so make sure you book well in advance (we tried to get tickets a fortnight before we went and that was too late)! However, we did get to go to the Secret Lagoon on our Hot Golden Circle tour and that was lovely, albeit not a wonderful blue colour.
Iceland is expensive. We managed to find a very reasonably priced and adorable basement room at an AirBnB house – disclaimer: not suitable for anyone taller than 5′ 8″. The thing that really stretched our budget was eating; it was hard to find a restaurant serving meals for less than £15-20 a plate. Luckily we are big fans of snacking and I was keen to eat as much Skyr as possible (to immerse myself culturally ofc).
The Northern Lights are elusive. After spending two days listening to Fraz frantically checking the ‘Northern Lights forecast’ and updating me on my chances of seeing the natural phenomenon that is Aurora Borealis, I was pretty excited. It’s the thing that drew us to Reykjavik, and the tour I was most looking forward to. We got dressed in about 36 thermal layers, took a short minibus ride to the middle of nowhere (to avoid the view being spoilt by lights), and waited apprehensively in the cold for the beautiful light display to begin. My camera promptly died, a bus-full of tourists arrived and stood in front of me (thus ruining my perfect framing), and I got colder and colder. Fraz became increasingly more frustrated (which I now know is because he had made big plans for this evening), and we saw only a grey wisp that moved across the sky with as much “natural phenomenon flair” as a pigeon flying. Long story short, we didn’t see the Northern Lights. My camera did manage to capture a green smudge in the sky but I can’t be sure that that wasn’t an electrical fault. Never mind – it gives us an excuse to return!