I really did have the intention of these all going up on their respective days, but a 21 hour delay completely fucked up our trip and just didn’t allow for the free time to sleep, never mind get these up. So, apologies, but I’m home now so lets get this done.
I’m going to go by trip, rather than by day, because… well, just because.
Northern Lights Tour:
I feel like this is the first thing anyone looks to book when they book a trip to Iceland. Honestly, having been, I’d say its a total fad. This might just be because we had just landed, and I was tired and really didn’t fancy going and standing in a field in the rain for three hours. The stars and general scenery were lovely to see, but we spoke to a man on our last day who said that the Northern Lights hadn’t been seen in over two weeks, and even at that they were at least a three hour drive from Reykjavik, which was where we were staying. In my opinion, I’d say this trip is a total tourist trap- maybe that’s because I’m studying tourism in my degree right now and can see the much more cynical side to it, but it’s a total stroke of luck whether you see them or not, and you don’t need a trip to do so.
Our stroke of luck came on the flight home, so I’d say instead of booking the tour, book a night time flight. Strokes of green light were visible for the first half of our flight home and it was lovely to see while I was sitting nice and cosy, with refreshments. The photos aren’t great, the best I could do through an airplane window while my camera was packed away, but I saw them, and that’s all that matters.
I should mention that all these trips were booked through Viator by the way, I think it’s the cheapest, most efficient way of booking, and you can get all your vouchers on the app on your phone which means you don’t have to be carrying paper documents around everywhere.
The Golden Circle Express Tour
This was the longest tour we had booked, the full one takes eight hours, while the express one takes six. We didn’t do the full tour because we were in Iceland with my grandparents, who couldn’t have coped with the amount of walking required, so we didn’t want to leave them too long. The six hour tour though was perfect, and we saw everything we wanted to.
First stop was Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, which is where you can see the separation of the earths plates due to the continental drift. We also saw where the initial version of parliament met and an area of water named the drowning pool, where women convicted of adultery or witchcraft were thrown in bags of stones and drowned (very uplifting place).
Next stop was to see the Geysir Geyser erupt, whcih it does every 6-8 minutes apparently. We were told to step carefully and stick to the paths, because one foot out of place could mean that your foot was submerged in essentially boiling water, and to keep downwind of the geyser, for the same reasons.
Final stop was the Gulfloss Waterfall which was by far my favourite. You can see by the photo below that it was quite a treck to get to the ledge at the top, but as my mum said on the way back up- there’s something so energizing about a waterfall. I was already exhausted, and by the time we got to the ledge I was soaking wet, but for some reason you forget all about it. It was so loud and powerful- basically, I just live for stuff like this.
The Blue Lagoon
Second to the northern lights, I feel like this is the next big thing Iceland has to offer. After a day of walking, this was the perfect activity for the following day. I feel like I don’t have a lot to say about this one, because everyone knows the blue lagoon, and it was just so surreal being there. There was a point in time where I couldn’t see two feet in front of me for the steam. The further out you swim (I say swim, but there was never a point where I couldn’t stand) the more surreal it gets, you despite there being hundreds of people, you can feel like the only person there. The face mask is an added bonus, but take your own refreshments- that shits expensive, as is the whole of Iceland to be honest…
This one was a total after thought, and was a lot pricier than the others, but why not. My brother, my dad and I got picked up the morning of our flight home and did a quad bike tour up Mount Hafrafell in Reykjavik, taking in the Hafravatn Lake and the sights from its peak. We ended up being the only three people on the tour, clearly December is not a popular time for quadding up mountain sides, but hey ho. I sadly have no photos, because 1) I was really focused on not dying, and 2) I had forgot to take my phone out of my jacket pocket before I put on the compulsory (and hideous) overalls.
This wasn’t a booked tour but I thought I’d include it anyway, because we were the only three on the quad tour, we got finished up a little early so when we arrived back at our hotel we had a little more time to kill before we were getting picked up to go to the airport. The Hallgrimskirkja Church was only a few minutes walk away, so we decided to take a trip up its tower and take in the sights before we headed home. The views you see here are of the front and the back of the church.
And there we have it, my last trip of 2016 over and done with. I’m not too sure I’d go back to Reykjavik, or whether my bank account would allow it. I appreciate their simple way of life, but it’s made me realize that I’m much more materialistic than I thought. So, I’m putting this down to be a once in a lifetime trip.