Short trip / short days in Iceland
The trip to Iceland happened a year ago and since then I have promised to write about it, but as you know I spent 2019 preparing our wedding and only now could I actually stop to write about this amazing trip.
We were in Iceland in December, which turned out not to be a very good time to be there. We woke up at 8 am, but when we looked out the window it was dark as if it was 4 am, you couldn’t see sunlight before 11 am and by 3 pm it was dark again. Yes, I know during the winter the days are shorter, but, I wasn’t expecting to have only 4 hours of dim sunlight a day.
We stayed in one of the main cities, Reykavik, and although we only stayed there for 5 days, I was delighted. Even being part of an old country, Reykavik is very modern and I honestly love the Nordic architecture and design.
Our first day was simple but a little bit scary too. Simple because we just walked around town and went out for dinner and well, that was the scary part, Iceland is a quite an expensive country and even though our little dinner consisted of two burgers and chips it cost about one hundred pounds, that’s right, you didn’t read it wrong! Did you not know that Iceland was expensive? Yes, we did, but we never thought that 2 burgers in a pub could kill us like that, literally! But, the trip was just starting, so we decided not to stress about that, after all, we were already there, so we had to have some fun!
On the second day, in the morning, we went to the supermarket, yes to try to save money in the evenings ahead, but also because we love to browse in foreign supermarkets. We didn’t buy much, but we bought enough to save some money on dinners and lunches out every day, and if we hadn’t done that at least, we would have had to sell our souls there.
I know I’m making it all sound like a nightmare, but no, in fact Iceland is lovely, it’s a shame we went there at the wrong time, I am sure in the summer Iceland is even prettier, but as we were there to celebrate Jason’s (my husband’s) brother’s birthday and as my birthday is just 4 days before his, we put it all together; but if I ever go back to Iceland it certainly won’t be in December.
Despite the prices and the dark days we booked a very good tour on Gray Line website , which wasn’t too expensive, and it gave us the opportunity to see all the natural beauty of Iceland, which is truly breathtaking. It was The Golden Circle and it consisted of a day trip to see the world-famous Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss, the queen of Icelandic waterfalls, as well as Thingvellir National Park.
The geysir geothermal area boasts spouting springs, including Strokkur, and they say that it is the most active geyser in Iceland. In Gullfoss we had the opportunity to stand next to an amazing waterfall and to watch a huge quantity of water tumble violently into a deep, meandering gorge. Thingvellir National Park was nice too and it is an amazing place in an area of historical and geological significance. During this tour I also had the opportunity to see and touch the Icelandic horses, which in my opinion, are very different of the horses we know.
The bus picked us up at the hostel around 10 am, and I remember even recording a video to show how dark it was, I swear to God, it felt like 5 am, but the trip was a bit long so when we got to our first stop it was already clear enough to see everything. Something that I can’t forget about this day was the temperature; it was about minus two degrees, if my memory serves me right.
The day was amazing! See more pictures here.
Back to the hostel we were starving, so we opened a bottle of wine and our pasta with tomato sauce and sausage tasted better than any caviar.
The next day was my birthday and Jason managed to find in the middle of the high street full of ‘golden’ restaurants a beautiful pub offering a cocktail and tapas buffet! So we spent the whole afternoon there, but to be honest, I don’t remember anything that happened after a few drinks called ‘Bloody Marys’.
After this we went to another pub that was a place much more suitable for people like us, people with no money … There, the beer was cheaper and the name of the place was so cool that we regretted not having found it before, The Chuck Norris bar. On the walls of the bar are loads of great Chuck Norris jokes, I remember that some of them just cracked me up, like this one for example: ‘Chuck Norris built the hospital he was born in’, and many others … If you ever go to Reykavik, please go to the Chuck Norris bar and think about me.
How about the northern lights? Did you see them? Unfortunately we didn’t. There is a website where you can see the likelihood of it appearing and you can try to prepare you stay in Iceland based on it, but when we were there the probability was very low. However there are a few other countries where you can see them too, so maybe one day I will see them.
Our flight back to London was around 7 pm, so we decided to get up early and head to the famous Blue Lagoon, the geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon it’s about 37–39 ° C (99–102 ° F) and you kind of have the cold and hot experience in a way that I can’t explain. It was the second best decision we made on the trip, after Golden Circle, we had a chance to relax and it made our return trip very easy and enjoyable.
So here are some tips if you go to Iceland: save up money – a lot of it; Eat at a local restaurant at least once or twice while you’re there; If you don’t mind cooking and if you are in a place that allows you to do so, go to the supermarket, you will save a lot; If you don’t want to rent a car, book at least two tours, so you can have a real experience of the place; go in the summer to enjoy the landscapes under beautiful sunlight or in the winter for the Northern lights and hopefully you will be luckier than us to actually see them; Iceland has its local language, but everyone speaks English, however, it is always good to learn how to say something in the local language, it will increase your knowledge and you will make them very happy.