Everyone kept asking me “Are you out of your mind? Why on earth would you wanna visit Iceland in winter?” Well,
I do loose my mind here and there , but this time it wasn’t that.
The thought of seeing the Northern Lights just overcame all other aspects about the trip to Iceland and as you know that you can only see them during winter.
Landing in Iceland was a complete trauma for me. The time was 10am and it was completely dark outside. I had read from another blog that Iceland has short winter days, but I just didn’t expect complete darkness.
Don’t ask me what I was expecting lol.
The darkness kinda affected me throughout the trip. I’m normally that brave girl who likes living on the edge but this time it was different. I had an awesome time during the day,
or let me rather say while there was light. When it becomes dark then I just wanna go back to the hostel and for the first time became homesick.
On the first day, I got to the hostel at 12 midday and there was light finally, though it was a cloudy day. That was more normal and the braveness kicked in.
So I left my luggage in the luggage room and walked down to Reykjavik to the meeting spot of the Free Walking Tour. It took me 30 minutes to get down to the city center and I really enjoyed the stroll down the quiet streets of Reykjavik.
The walking tour guide was very informative and showed us the historic buildings, told us about the vikings, answered our questions and even took us to the famous hot dog stand where people like President Clinton and the Kardashians have once tasted their tasty footlong hotdog.
It’s the best hotdog I’ve tasted by far.
The following day I went to the Golden Circle tour which was pricey but worth every penny. By the way, Iceland is very expensive.I paid about R1300 for the tour.
I should have hired a car apparently it’s cheaper.
The tour started at 8am and for the next 3 hours the tour guide kept on saying ” If it was summer you could be seeing 1,2,3…”
You can imagine how bored I was.
When light finally appeared, it was as if I had entered a different planet. The natural beauty of Iceland is just so heavenly. Mountains on either side of the road covered by a blanket of snow.
We were driving on the moon I tell you.
The good part about Iceland is that there are no entry fees to see the attractions. So booking the tour was enough.
In some places it was very slippery, it was as if I’m walking on the ice rink. Well my tour guide had spike shoes on, so he held me by hand.
2 or 3 people kept on falling.
When we got to the Geysir area, that whole area is full of smoke coming out of the ground as a result of hot water springs.
Like one of the scenes of a scary movie.
Since my tour was 8 hours long, I decided to have lunch there. Bought french fries, 3 fish fingers and coffee for R250.
I could buy the same meal in my country with less than R50. Well like I said, Iceland is very expensive.
The tour guide told us that predictions of Arora activity are looking very good and read 6 on the scale. Cloud coverage was a bit of an issue since we needed a clear sky to see the Northern Lights.
That didn’t stop me from booking the Northern Lights tour that evening. They fetched me from my hostel at 20:30 and we drove out of the city.
Took out our tripods, smartphones and cameras and waited in the cold to see the Northern Lights. An hour passed and there were no lights, instead the clouds covered the sky and by that time I had frozen. So I went inside the bus because I could not take the cold any longer.
The tour guide offered me a blanket and that really helped. He also mentioned that the lights are most likely to be seen around 22:30 to 23:00.
Around that time, in a small gap between the clouds appeared a green light and everybody screamed.
Shortly after that, we started to see bits and bits in different directions. Then finally God answered my prayers, clouds moved and the Northern Lights just filled the sky.
I was so excited, wiping my tears as I set up my tripod again to takes pics and some videos. In the midst of that excitement then boom, my memory is full.
Quickly deleted all those stupid watsapp videos and took more pics. That was not just a bucket-unlist moment, but more of a dream coming true.
Moral of that story is always check the memory of your photo taking device.
The plan for the last day was to visit the blue lagoon. But the tickets during day light were fully booked. So after arguing with myself for a long time I decide that it was not worth to pay over R2000 to go to the blue lagoon and not see a thing.
Instead I went to the local swimming pool. On my way I got lost and went into a random shop to ask for directions.
Luckily, the one guy in the shop said that he’s also on his way there, so we can walk together. He went into his car and grabbed his backpack and walked away without locking the car.
I was so shocked, and he went on telling me how safe Iceland is with a crime rate of zero percent. Come to think of it, the guide from the free walking tour did mention that Iceland is safe when he showed us a building which used to be a prison but was now has been abandoned since there were not so many law breakers.
Before you enter the swimming pool you must shower naked since it’s a geothermal pool and they would like to keep it as clean as possible.
There are 4 pools with different temperatures and depths. I first went into the 38 degrees pool then moved over to the 40 degrees pool where I spent the next 2 hours chatting to a local.
He insisted that I take a walk and get lost in the streets of Reykjavik.
So as I walked out of the pool, ready for the adventure, then he shouted “drink water because the pool dehydrates you.”
I had a glass of water and then went on to take a shower. As I stepped inside the shower room, I got so dizzy that I almost fainted. I drank more water and chilled a bit. Little did I know that I was supposed to constantly hydrate myself while siting in the pool.
Well, that’s another lesson learnt.
Apart from the darkness, I really enjoyed my visit to Iceland, though I don’t think I’ll go there in winter again.
It felt as if I’m in prison, a very dark one, or probably down a hole.
Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to visiting Iceland in summer to see how green it gets and do all the other things I couldn’t do in winter.
Apparently, they have longer days, meaning minimum darkness.
I wonder how do they sleep.