Our flight was at 6.15am so we had to get up at 2.30am, I’m basically nocturnal so I didn’t sleep at all, Josh was soundly sleeping in bed while I made instant noodles and watched comedy until the alarms went off.
After a turbulent flight and a quick exit from the airport we had arrived in what looked just like…England. From the airport the overcast skies reminded me of home, but once we were on the flybus, it was clear that Iceland’s landscape was totally different.
We stayed at Hotel Ìsland, at the outskirts of Reykjavik, the lobby/reception was really clean, modern and welcoming but the rooms were a little utilitarian. We were really amused by the separate duvets they’d given us, cuddles were a challenge.
After a little photoshoot and a quick snooze, we had to get ready to be picked up for our Northern Light’s tour. We were exhausted and hungry, but so excited to be off to see one of nature’s wonders. We wrapped up (or so we thought) and were picked up by Reykjavik Excursions and taken a little way out of the city.
The tour guide mentioned to us that we hadn’t gone as far out as usual, so that we could have more viewing time. We all got out of the bus and stood in the squishy lava fields trying to catch a glimpse of the lights. There was a long pale green arc spreading right across the horizon, it wasn’t very vibrant and it didn’t move but we were told this was the most common form of lights to see.
We stood outside in the minus temperatures until my toes went numb and I couldn’t stop shaking, then at the end of the hour we were relieved to be let back onto the bus, only to see that nearly everyone else had come inside LONG ago. So embarrassing, and I think my socks had actually frozen to my feet at this point. I can’t lie we were a little disappointed not to see the bright lights we’d always expected.
Back at the hotel, starving hungry and it being too dark, cold and icy to go out to eat, we gave in to the one thing we promised we wouldn’t do. We ordered a Domino’s.
In our defence, the menu in Iceland is different, we got the ‘Champion’ pizza, which would actually be my favourite if they did it back home. It’s a Hawaiian (my all time favourite pizza) with mushrooms (another favourite) and jalapenos (I fucking love jalapenos). So I was pretty happy. The lady on the phone was really helpful and spoke perfect English, plus we didn’t have any cash so it was a life saver that the delivery guy bought a card machine with him.
We also got the Nutella bread, oh my god heaven!
Day two was another very long day, but one that I’ll never forget because the flights were so amazing. After a quick breakfast in the hotel, we were picked up for our excursion, a tour of the Golden Circle. The views of white mountains on our way out of the city were already so beautiful. First up was Þingvellir, the national park, where two tectonic plates are visible above the earth. The landscape around the park was breath-taking; a waterfall, snow topped rock and pools of water, just melting after the week before. We took so many pictures, we had to catch up with our group at the end, but I’ll never forget those views. Next up we went further out of town to a see a group of geysers, such a fascinating natural occurrence but five minutes was enough for me and I was hungry. The café inside was aimed at tourists, but the astronomical prices were pretty ordinary for Iceland. Approximately £15 per cup of soup, but my god that meaty lamb stew was much needed. Next, we headed to the Gulfoss waterfall, the largest in Europe, so beautiful, there’s usually always a rainbow over the water.
Back at the hotel we napped briefly, we’d booked another Northern Light’s tour, but this time later, like our Golden Circle tour guide Susie had advised us. Still no luck, but our tour leader was pretty adamant so we didn’t make it home until 2am, at which point we collapsed in bed with our pizza leftovers. Luckily we’d learnt our lesson and spent most of the trip in the coach, so we were a little less freezing
Josh loves animals, especially whales and sharks. Whale tours in Iceland are really popular with tourists and I was happy to do it. It’s pretty shocking to think that Iceland still hunts whales though, together with Japan, they’re the last two places on Earth.
It was so fun getting onto the boat, zipping up our red overalls and going up onto the top deck to take in the pretty views. The boat was wonderful, a magical day WHEN IT WAS STATIONERY.
I swear to God I thought I would die that day, Josh told me to focus on the horizon, but the sea was so choppy and the boat so rocky I couldn’t see it. I turned green and spent the whole time clutching my sick-bag, wishing I’d die.
Safe to say it wasn’t the best of days, but we went for a nice meal after at a place called the Askur Brasserie that we found online, only a five-minute walk from the hotel. We had prawn tempura, nachos and a burger and fries, really big portions for Reykjavik, not the best burger I’ve ever had, but I’m sure the meat was good quality and it was tasty enough. More Icelandic TV before bed.
After the boating shenanigans we were feeling like more of a mellow day was needed. The spa at the hotel was amazing, purple lights, a lovely hot tub, swimming pool and saunas. Josh would have liked to do something more adventurous, I’m sure, but I convinced him that we were in desperate need of full body massages, and a lengthy pampering sessions. First we just chilled in the spa, the staff were really lovely to us, and as we had the place to ourselves, they brought some beer and wine for us to sip while we soaked. Heaven!
I was first up for the massage, Helga was so sweet. I never noticed how knotty my neck was, it was so painful the same with my upper arms and my calves. I felt so amazing after, it’s just a shame my throat was still sore from the cold. Josh found his sort of amusing, but I hope he enjoyed it- I know he did really.
We had a quick relax and lunch in the hotel, I had a lovely carrot and coriander soup to help my throat, while Josh went all out with lamb shank.
Next we were picked up for our Blue Lagoon trip, the most visited tourist spot in Iceland. We had the comfort package which gave us a towel, a complimentary drink and the silica and algae facemasks. After getting changed into my bikini I was pretty worried about how cold it would be, Iceland is the last place I would want to be outdoors, at night, wet and practically naked, but it was so amazing and warm! It was like a giant bath, we couldn’t get any good photos because of the water vapour and the darkness, but we made the most of our free wine, which would have cost approx. £12 otherwise. There were lots of romantic spots to relax and talk, and the lagoon was just deep enough to cover you up to the neck, so you could relax in the warm. I did see some dodgy looking activity going on… I’m sure they were just kissing, but you could imagine why the security guards with flashlights were needed. We found the mask kiosk, and applied our silica masks, leaving them on for ten minutes before washing them off in the lagoon water. Next for the algae mask, after all our treatments we felt like baby dolphins. I loved the Blue Lagoon, it was such an unusual experience and incredibly relaxing, I just wish we’d been able to go in the daylight to be able to see more and take good pics.
Our last day!
We had a yummy breakfast in the hotel, packed and then headed off to Ning’s, a Chinese restaurant near to our hotel. We feasted on hoisin duck pancakes and ginger chicken soup. Full, tired, and happy, with baby soft skin, we caught our transfer ride to the airport. Even though I didn’t get to eat at any of the places I’d planned, I definitely got to try lots of tasty food, and we want to go back in a few years this time in the summer, and do all of the things we didn’t get a chance to this time. Like horse riding on the beach!