I’ve never heard a bad word about Iceland – well, maybe about the price of a pint, or from my mum when she talks about how snowy the roads were. When my family went, in January 2014, a driver coming the other way told us to turn around as we wouldn’t get through thanks to the heavy snowfall in the countryside.
It was awesome.
Since I went, for those four blustery snowy days, I’ve been desperate to go back (although, not in a January). And so it seems, is everyone else who’s ever been.
What is the obsession with Iceland?
Ar, there’s just something about it. It’s so raw – even with the snow cutting our road trip plans short it just felt so rustic and, y’know, we were at the mercy of the elements. Thanks to the size of the island you’re only ever a few miles from a volcano, or a waterfall, or even a beach. Whether it’s bright sunshine, angry skies, snowy days, or blustery winds, nature is there, in your face, reddening it from either the heat or cold.
The main attraction, the Golden Circle, looks and feels like something made up from a fantasy story. With craters, geysers, waterfalls and ponies dotting the vistas, if you’re driving you’ll want to go slow to take it all in.
Thanks to Iceland.is for all the photos – another reason why I need to go back, to get my own!
We were in Iceland to try and see those elusive Northern Lights. We’d booked three nights in the countryside in an awesome house away from the lights of the Big City and had two nights before in Reykjavik. We had a nightly rota for people to watch the skies – to be honest convinced that as long as someone was there to tell everyone else, we’d see them. No luck.
The most we saw of them had been on the second night in Reykjavik. There was a green glimmer on the horizon reaching across the skies. We’d thought it was a pre cursor to the light show we were due to see, not the entirety. I’ve seen some incredible pictures of the lights – I want to see them for myself.
The topography of Iceland has been likened to the moon. I mean, I’ve never actually been to the moon, but I can vouch for the crater like surface. Stunning, epic, eye watering, breath taking – all the words that are usually annoying hyperbole in travel writing, are totally valid when it comes to Iceland.
I love the musical side to Iceland, and the amount of artists that have come out of a relatively small and isolated island. Artists like Bjork, Asgeir, Gus Gus and Sigur Ros. I was obsessed with Asgeir’s album after seeing him live at Latitude Festival, in English. And then I heard it in Icelandic and just had to go and see him play it live. Incredible.
Must go to Iceland Airwaves Festival ASAP.
The Blue Lagoon though
Ah you can’t go to Iceland without going to the Blue Lagoon. Just be warned – I wouldn’t recommend picking up the mud from the bottom of the lagoon and smearing it on your face. My brother did and ended up with someone else’s skanky plaster in amongst it all. You need to splash out for the proper stuff from the shop, not be tight like us.
Have you ever heard anyone speak Icelandic? Here’s a little video for you to hear the melody for yourself.
Next time I go to Iceland
I’m going to rent a motorhome thingy. This is a great way to save money as you go, both on bed and food. And means you can get to the hard to reach places. AND, if you get one with a window for a roof you’ll have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
I’ll eat out more. We were a family on a budget with a super cool house in the countryside – apart from a meal in Reykjavik we ate at home. Not next time! I’ll be out like a right Timmy Trendy flashing the cash, hopefully.
I’ll stay at one of the farm homes. To get a real taste of the culture of any country, you need to get out of the cities. Did you ever see that Rick Stein Long Weekends episode where he met some Icelandic people and they introduced him to lamb, which they told him after he’d bitten into it was cured in sheep poo? His face was brilliant. I’d love to stay with a real family up in the hills and see how they live their lives.
I want to snorkel between the tectonic plates. I’ve walked between them at Thingvellir National Park, but since finding out you can snorkel between them I really want to give it a try. Sounds awesome!
I want to see the black beaches. We tried. In fact my brother drove me and my cousin all the way down to Vik Beach from our countryside manor (kind of) and then when we got there we realised that we couldn’t see it, of course, the beach was covered in a layer of snow. The now white beach, surrounded by the volcanos, looked magic, but it wasn’t the black we’d come to gawp at.
I need to spend more time in Reykjavik. Looks like there are some really cool things happening in Reykjavik – from cool and cosy nights, to festivals, to new restaurants. I want to get involved!
That’s why I want to go to Iceland
Iceland intrigues me. I love the way over half of the nation genuinely believes elves live in the valleys, I love the extreme weathers, their reactions to world events and even the way their tourism agency handles their social media. Iceland is unapologetic, it can be brutal – as I realised when I got out the car to open the gate and nearly blew away in gale force winds.
There are no gimmicky attractions set up – the natural landscape is attraction enough. Iceland is the natural world at it’s most raw and fascinating, making it perfect for pictures, both in mind and on the memory card.
I mean, jeez, why aren’t I back there already? Anyone fancy a November jaunt to include Iceland Airwaves Festival?