So I am officially back from Iceland. Happy to be reunited with Kyle and Yuki and my tea collection, but already missing Reykjavik. Mum and I just completely fell in love with the city and the countryside. We managed to cram in a hell of a lot for just a few days, from geysers to beaches to the Northern Lights to waffles. Even so, I really wish we'd had just one extra day to do a bit more - whale watching was something we fancied but didn't have time for (plus the weather probably wasn't ideal for being out at sea). And I personally could have gone for one more round of waffles.
|Look at that perfection.|
This is in the lava fields outside the Blue Lagoon, a really surreal and stunning location. The water is super-heated by a nearby lava flow, and a beautiful milky blue colour due to the mineral content. The spa itself is a huge man-made lagoon with the same water. It rained a little bit while we were there, and it was a truly unique experience to be floating in that gorgeous hot water while cold rain fell down on us.
This is Reynisfjara beach, my hands-down favourite location from the trip. The black sand and basalt sea stacks make it a completely magical, mysterious place. It was absolutely pouring with rain the day we visited, so we couldn't spend as much time on the beach as we wanted, but even just a short visit was worthwhile.
There was a lot of cool street art around Reykjavic, and this was my favourite piece because werewolves.
Sunset over the harbour in Reykjavic. This was from our first night, when we were supposed to be going out for a Northern Lights tour. The weather wasn't right for it, but luckily we managed to get booked in for another tour on Monday night. We got driven out to Pingvellir National Park at around 10.30pm. Getting off the coach, we were greeted by perfectly clear skies, and with no light pollution for miles around, we could clearly see countless stars - and ghostly white bands that almost imperceptibly moved and changed as we watched. That was our Northern Lights sighting - very beautiful and eerie. It was a shame not to see any colour, but getting to see anything at all felt very special, and the sight of all those stars was amazing all by itself.
So we started back to Reykjavik...only to find the coach driver stopping ten minutes later and the tour guide urging us all to get off the coach again.
And we did. And outside we got those Northern Lights. The great shimmering arcs of green and pink light, dancing overhead, moving so fast and gracefully, I can only describe it as magical. My phone camera wasn't good enough to capture any shots, but I'm glad in a way. It was much better to just stand and watch, and soak it all in, rather than be staring at it through a camera lens. It was icy cold and my neck hurt from staring up so much, but it didn't matter. I fulfilled a lifetime's ambition and saw the Northern Lights in all their glory, and I won't need photos to remember how incredible that felt. I've wanted to see them ever since I read Philip Pullman's Northern Lights (or the Golden Compass to my American friends), and not only did we get to see them, but we saw a truly special display.
It would be hard to pick one favourite experience from the holiday, but the Northern Lights and Reynisfjara will stay with me for a long time. I'd love to go back to Iceland at a different time of year, fit in some whale-and-puffin watching, or go back to Reynisfjara and explore more. Everyone we met was lovely, Reykjavik is charming, and the entire holiday was just perfect. Coming back to reality, and all the bills and housework and emails that entails, you can't help but experience something of a slump.
Well, after a long discussion with Kyle, we decided there was only one way to combat such a slump, and that was to book a holiday.
It will be Kyle's 30th birthday in December, and we've been talking for ages about what to do for it. In the end (like, literally at 11pm last night), we settled on a trip to Morocco! We'll be staying in a mountain hotel near Marrakech for five days. It'll be completely different to anywhere I've been before, and I cannot wait! We need to find a nice cat hotel for Yuki so she can have a little holiday too. So...thank you, Iceland. I love you very much. And on to the next adventure!