A little while ago now the hubs and I hopped on a plane heading north. Sunny had always been fascinated by Iceland after studying it for a school project, so I decided that a little trip there would make the perfect wedding present. It was
supposed to be a surprise but I buckled a few weeks before the wedding and told him, because the more and more I read up about Reykjavik, the more excited I was to go!
Surrounded by Esja and other mountains on one side and the sea on the other, with houses made of coloured corrugated iron and lit in winter with fairy-lights all day, Reykjavik is the northern most capital city (and possibly the smallest – you can pretty much see it all in a day) and not like anywhere I’ve ever been before.
The first thing we did was climb to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland and the best view in Reykjavik.
We went at the end of January when the temperature was hovering around 0° (with a seriously cold wind!) and the sun was rising at around 10:00am every morning and setting at around 4:00pm. As a result, it always felt like it was constantly either dawn or dusk. The streets were sleepy and silent.
There were fairylights everywhere. This was weird at first, as if everyone hadn’t realised that Christmas was over several weeks ago, but when there are only around 6 hours of daylight a bit of extra lighting goes a long way – and why not use fairylights?
Tjörnin, ‘The Pond’, was frozen. I had a huge telling off from Sunny for walking out onto the frozen water, but he soon shut up when we saw a local cycling right across the middle!
Okay. When you tell people that you’re going to Iceland they’ll be quick to tell you that food is expensive, and they’re right if you’re in the market for typically tourist food or high end a la carte dinners. We really weren’t interested in trying Rotten Shark, Minke Whale or Puffin! There are plenty of decent and reasonably priced places to eat. Our favourites were Icelandic Fish and Chips in the harbour and Prikid (above).
We went to the Blue Lagoon straight from Keflavik Airport. It’s pretty special. The water all year round is kept to between 37–39 °C and has an almost impossibly bright blue shade to it. It’s so quiet there and the excess steam combined with the scenery around the lagoon (especially if you’re there when there’s snow on the ground) makes you feel like you’re on another planet.
We didn’t go to Iceland purely to see the Aurora, but it was right up there on the list of reasons to go. I was desperate to see it, and really got my hopes up – which was a bit silly really, because it’s never a guaranteed thing. A lot of people think that if you go far enough North then you’re in for an epic light show every night. Not true. Seeing the Aurora is all about luck, luck and more luck, because there are just so many factors that need to be in place for it to make an appearance, and even then it might not show up!