Intrepid explorer is not a phrase ever used to describe me, I prefer my home comforts but in an attempt to push myself and enhance my experiences I decided to pursue my dream to visit Iceland. I’ll be honest, we weren’t taking much of a risk as it was a package tour with Thomson’s and most of the trips were included! Here is a quick update of our short trip to this magnificent island.
Day 1: After a very early morning start, we arrived at our Hotel in Reykjavik, we opted for The Icelandair Marina as I have a thing for boats and we were weren’t disappointed as it was beautiful and so trendy (unlike me!) You can go and sit round the fire with this dude, he was a bit wooden though.
The afternoon was free time so we went for a walk to stretch our legs and see a bit of the town. Due to the cold so we had to keep nipping into (very) expensive shops to stand by their heaters and not buy anything. We walked all the way up to see the famous space rocket (edit: apparently it is a cathedral). The rest of the day was a bit of write off as I was worn out from the early start so we feasted on steak and lobster then slept.
Day 2: This was our big adventuring day on the Golden Circle tour! Again it was another early start but after a comfortable night and a delicious breakfast we headed off in the coach. The first stop on the tour was the geysers, there was only one active one called Strokkur (I googled the name!) I was hoping it would be warmer near the thermal springs but alas it was still eyeball-freezingly cold. We still waited patiently for the geyser to do it’s thing. <<poof>>
After that it was just a short hop to the cafe for a lunch of traditional lamb stew and chocolate cake which was at the site of one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. I’m not going to bore you with facts about it as I don’t remember any, just that it was really big, really pretty and really cold.
A further hop on the coach and we reached Thingvellir National Park and the site of the first (outdoor!) Icelandic parliament. Again, I can’t tell you anything educational because it is really hard to take on information when you are trying to work out if you have frostbite or not.
After our full day coach trip we got back on the coach that evening because we hate ourselves. We were optimistically going in search of the Northern Lights but I decided sleep was preferable and knew that someone would wake me if they appeared (f.y.i. nobody saw anything).
Day 3: We got up late and ate enough breakfast so we didn’t have to buy lunch as food costs a small fortune in Iceland (and we are tight Northerners) Our day was spent mooching around the museums finding out some more about the history of the place; I discovered that there is not much they know so most of it was just really high tech gadgets to play with. I enjoyed our day exploring Reykavik, as I also got to search out some of the funky wall art (shown below).
That evening we decided to skip the coach trip to search for Northern Lights again and instead decided to warm up in the Blue Lagoon. You wouldn’t have thought it possible to be cold in a 40 degree thermal spring but there was an epic blizzard which equals epic brain freeze. I think it was supposed to be relaxing.
I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy my trip but I’m joking, it is a place everyone should visit in their life as it is unlike anything and I can now tick it off my bucket list! I do have a few travel tips though if you are planning to go:
- Pack many many thermals (yep even long johns!), even if the temperature doesn’t seem that low, it is just cold.
- Don’t bother taking any local currency. Use a credit card as everywhere (even public toilets) take and prefer card. You will generally get a better exchange rate too but double check there are no foreign charges.
- Take food with you, especially snack foods if you are going on coach trips as it is so expensive to buy anything and it will add up very quickly. Our hotel didn’t have a kettle and I missed a warm cuppa at the end of a long day so you might want to pack a travel kettle unless you want to spend £8 on a pot of tea in the hotel bar.