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It feels a bit strange finally sitting down and writing a post about a trip that I took over 6 months ago, but I have needed some time to actually come to terms with the fact that this really happened and it wasn’t just a dream. I started off trying to write a post about everything I did on the trip but it was so long, I don’t think anyone would have gotten through the first paragraph without giving up so I thought I’d save you the pain and just show you photos of what I did and give you a lil bit of info instead instead of going into every little detail of what I got up to. I’ll start with a bit about the logistics of my trip. I flew with Easy Jet from London Luton Airport into Keflavik airport (Keflavik is about a 30 minute drive from Reykjavik city centre). Iceland doesn’t have train transportation so you will either need to go by car or bus. I took a mini bus with Airport Direct who I thought were great, the mini bus was clean and the drivers were both really helpful and were able to drop me off and pick me up right outside my hotel. I stayed at the 100 Iceland Hotel which is right along Laugavegur (Reykjavik’s main shopping street). The hotel was very “no frills” but it was tidy and warm and in an amazing location, it was nothing glamorous but it was all I needed for my stay. I took trips out of the city with tour companies including a Northern Lights Boat Hunt. That was one of the coldest experiences of my life, but was really worth doing even though we didn’t see the lights. The first day tour I did was the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon tour with Reykjavik Excursions, This was a mini bus tour so there were only about 10 of us in the group. This meant we could ask our guide, Albert, as many questions as we wanted and he was kind enough to show us some extras along the route because we had a little extra time. Albert was so knowledgeable about the places we were visiting and told us loads of stories about Icelandic Folklore, telling us all about the “hidden people” and some of the stories behind what people believe the Northern Lights to be.
The second tour I did was with a smaller company called Your Day Tours and I did their Golden Circle tour (I had also booked the South Coast tour but this idiot overdid herself and needed to spend a day in bed). I loved every second of this tour, our tour guide Ævar was hilarious and he was the kind of person that you could listen to for hours on end. This tour took us to some of the most well known sites in Iceland, but to me, it was the little personal touches that made this trip so memorable. Ævar took us to a couple of extra stops as we were making good time (I was so lucky that both tours I went to were full of punctual people) including a farm where we got to meet a lady who makes wool clothing and accessories and sells them from the farm. He then he took us to another farm which makes fresh ice cream on site from the cows that live on the farm. We were also given some Icelandic food and drink to try, most notably sheep-dung-smoked lamb (it was actually really nice!). One of the highlights of the trip for me (and probably one of my life highlights) was driving through the countryside watching the sunrise with Sigur Ros playing through the bus speakers. That band is a large part of the reason why I ever wanted to visit Iceland so this moment felt very full circle to me, it was quite surreal.
Because of the lack of trains and the fact that I can’t drive, organised tours were the best way for me to get out of Reykjavik and see more of the country. I really recommend them if you want to learn about Iceland as well as seeing it, as most of the guides have lived in Iceland their whole lives and can give you recommendations that you wouldn’t find in books and online. if you can drive, then it would be amazing to rent a car and have a road trip around the country. It is absolutely breathtaking, and you do need to get out of the city to see what it really has to offer.
Before I went on my trip I was warned by so many people that it’s a very expensive country, and me being a stuborn arsehole, I chose to ignore them and returned back to the UK very snug in my overdraft. They weren’t lying, it’s so expensive and you really need to remember this if you are planning a trip to Iceland. There are ways to do it on a budget but you will need to plan and budget before you go. I was there for 4 days and I probably spent about £500 on just food and knick-knacks.
Going somewhere I’ve never been before by myself was such a daunting idea and I never thought it was something that I would actually do. I’ve wanted to go to Iceland for many many years – as I mentioned, I started listening to Sigur Ros when I was at school. I watched a video of them playing somewhere in Iceland and from that moment onward I had it in my head that I wanted to go. I’ve also always been obsessed with the idea of seeing the Northern Lights, so when I found out that it can be seen quite often in Iceland it just exponentially multiplied my desire to travel there. I had never even considered going on my own until last year my dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I had recently had my tarot cards read by my friend Martyn and my reading ended in us both talking about his past trips to Reykjavik. I started looking at flights just to see how much they were. It turned out that they were right in the budget of what my dad was able to spend, so I sent him the details and before I knew it, the flights were booked. Choosing to go alone was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Without sounding overly dramatic, I feel like this trip was something I needed to do on my own, I saw it as something that was really pivotal in me learning to appreciate my own company and to prove to myself that sometimes it is right to follow your heart and do something purely because you want to, even if other people think it’s a bad idea. I had the most amazing experience of my life, I’m still in slight disbelief that it even happened and that it wasn’t just one big dream.
Hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings and I hope you enjoy the many photos! X
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Tour
Golden Circle Tour