Icelandic Adventure: Day 1

It’s fair to say I’m a very indecisive traveller. Ask me to plan a holiday for summer, and I’d be so overwhelmed with all the choices on offer I’d be unable to pick anything, not even the basic choice of which country.

So when we decided a spontaneous trip overseas was warranted, the decision-making started all over again. Should we book somewhere that might be sunny taking a chance it might be grey? Somewhere in the UK? After much deliberation for a few days, we picked Iceland!

It’s always been a plan to visit Iceland, and I really wanted to as part of my 2014/2015 goals. So with a destination in mind, we had decided! And as there’s no better time to enjoy somewhere cold than in December, we booked a weekend getaway with just a week to spare.

Hotel chosen, flights booked, thermals packed, and tickets printed, before we knew it the week had flown by and we were literally flying by little England.

Three relaxed hours soaring over the freezing Atlantic Ocean in a rather comfy Iceland Air plane later, and we started to see speckles of land. All grey, gold and white, it was a stunning sight to see and a far cry from the lush greens and emeralds of England. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and as the sun was just about still over the horizon, it’s fair to say we felt nothing by excitement as we screeched across the runway.

Reading the in-flight bits and bobs, it seemed like Iceland was just as temperamental weather-wise than back home!

Navigating the airport, we had a Flybus booked, and were heading straight to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, a hot spring slash hotel slash luxury experience and a great way to soothe tired muscles after our flight. Everyone should pop in after a flight, it works wonders!

After we’d simmered for a good few hours it was time to head to Skuggi Hotel. Grabbing our frigidly cold robes and slippers which had been slowly freezing while we’d been soaking, we dashed inside for a warm shower and to get dressed, and have a quick taste of reindeer soup the chef had knocked up at the on-site restaurant.

The last Flybus was heading out at around 9pm. Hopping aboard, we told the driver the name of our hotel, and waited our turn to be dropped off, a good 45 minute journey through mountainous terrain and mounds of snow.

With the driver calling out, “Hotel Skuggi!” we were informed that he’d only been able to drop us off at the end of the street. David was in the middle of getting directions, before I interrupted with frantic arm-waving. You see, something was happening in the sky. It was similar to a vapour trail left by a plane, but I could see it shimmering – getting brighter by the minute.

“Excuse me,” I said, pointing at the strange band. “What’s that?” The driver stopped, looked up, and went back to his map.

“Oh that,” he muttered, clearly engrossed in finding our directions. “Those are the northern lights.”

Actual hyperventilation may have occurred. After an amazing experience sitting under the stars in milky, warm water, there I now was gazing at a spectacle of nature you could only hope of seeing!

Swirling above the imposing concrete tower blocks the lights put on a real show, welcoming us in true Icelandic style. Green and blue, red and purple; we stood in the middle of the road, suitcases in hand, utterly captivated at the sight.

Soon, the cold started seeping through our thermal layers, so we traipsed over to the hotel, watching the lights dance until midnight.

As far as first days in Iceland go, it had it all: a beautiful sunset, the Blue Lagoon, a brief taste of reindeer soup, the northern lights, and a gorgeous hotel to end the day.