Are you thinking of visiting Iceland? No? Ok, it was a bit of a long shot and this post may feel a bit niche but bear with. I don’t knowingly do helpful travel post jobbies but if you do have a vague interest in Iceland; perhaps you saw a promotional Ad campaign in 2009 and thought you might fancy it one day, or your Boss at work said she really enjoyed her romantic weekend stay in Reykjavik then you might – you just might enjoy this post. But I’m not going to bet my next mini break to a European city on it.
So anyhoo, we had an occasion slash excuse to visit this mystical, mythological and Nordic land of ice because it was my Mother’s birthday – a big one, without giving too much away – it had a 7 and a 0 in it. Well, anyway, yonks ago she mentioned she wanted to see the Northern Lights…..
“Mum, I’m taking you to Iceland.”
“What? I haven’t shopped there since your father took an aversion to prawns! You know I prefer to go to the Adles!” (that’s Aldi and Lidl to the likes of you and me).
“No, real-life Iceland – we’re going for your big Birthday!”
” But I fancy Barbados!”
“It’s already booked.”
“Darn,” muttered audibly.
So we left our little Devon village and the pre-Xmas conveyor belt of daftness behind and boarded a big orange bird which whizzed us away (badly squished knees as standard) to Reykjavik! Our short break to Iceland was in mid-December when the sun rises at about 11:20 and sets approx 3:20pm. However the light is such that it feels like it never really rises properly (well duh, because it doesn’t!) – this is beautiful, eerie, captivating even but also a bit well, #dark. If you suffer from SAD you will return to the UK positively brimming with gratitude for the seemingly abundant daylight hours on offer in winter Blighty. You’ll never whinge about ‘the nights drawing in’ again. Fact.
Consequently, the diminished daylight and snow everywhere makes it feel like it’s constantly Apres Ski time! Any ski lovers out there will know that this is lazy downtime when all you want to do is eat cake and drink hot chocolate/mulled wine and then have a little nap/bath before dinner and then all the alcohol! Therefore, I wandered around in a state of wanton cake withdrawal plus a desperate craving for Gluhwein at inauspicious moments!
Places we visited:
Thermal Hot Pools: relax in geothermal waters and enjoy the romantic half light (because frankly, that’s the only lighting option in Dec). Just don’t go near the hot inlets because they’re proper boiling #likealobster! http://secretlagoon.is
The Golden Circle, no not a sadistic syndicate of James Bond baddies but a tour taking in several outstanding places such as Gullifoss Waterfall, the Geysirs and Geo-Thermal Pools.
Geysir, spurting Geysers – don’t blink because there’s no foreplay, just the spurt!
The Ice Cave at Perlan Centre Reykjavik. Much like U.S/North Korean relations, the atmos is pretty frosty here – a frigid minus 15 degrees inside the manmade cave of ice. https://www.perlanmuseum.is/en/
A Northern lights tour. Obvs. Weather conditions permitting?
Failing that, Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Centre. For all your ‘I’ve disappointedly missed out on seeing the real northern lights due to adverse weather conditions and I’m going home tomorrow’ needs! The staff **probably receive regular staff training updates in dealing with severe disappointment! http://aurorareykjavik.is
When we saw the Northern lights………
at, yes you guessed it – The Northern Lights Centre!
What to take:
All your money. It’s pricey! e.g, a coffee – about a fiver. A sandwich – about a tenner. A coffee, sandwich and a large cookie – about twenty pounds apart from the currency is Icelandic Krona obvs.
All your muffs: it’s chilly so – ear muffs, neck muff, hand muffs – or gloves for ease of digit movement and if you don’t want to look like Lara from the film Dr Zhivago.
All your food. It’ll save you a *fortune!
*May hamper your chances of trying authentic Icelandic food.
Things to try!
Hakarl – Icelandic fermented shark, or dried Cod (like fish jerky) – don’t take your nose. Best consumed when inebriated on local Schnapps appaz!
Lamb soup it’s la specialite de la region.
Petting a pure breed Icelandic Horse which looks suspiciously like a pony because it is the size of a pony but it’s not a pony because it’s a horse apart from it looks to all intents and purposes like a pony. To avoid offense, play along with the popular Icelandic game Don’t Call It A Pony! When in Rome etc.
Things I learned in Iceland!
That it is indeed really really icy. Whoever named this Country was not being at all ironic.
That Icelandic people have a great sense of humour and they also have over 30 words for snow. It got me wondering how many we have?
Snow, sleet, sludge, powder, piste (borrowed from France) so about 5 then, not including all the swears we use to describe the white stuff!
That it’s a very beautiful magical place, spesh the areas where they filmed all the famous TV shows!
That when chatting with all the Taxi drivers and Tour guides- they all know all the actors from Fortitude and Game of Thrones.
Consequently – a redundant google translate that we were never able to make use of.
Have you been to beautiful Iceland? What did you discover? Pop it in comments!