Pre HofftoExplore (thanks to my travel diary!) November 2013.
Off to London Gatwick Airport for our flight to Iceland! Travelling with Derrick, Robyn, Chris, Jen and Luke. Six aussies! When we arrived at our hotel we were thinking, is this right? It’s fancy! We’d bought a 199 pound package deal for flights, accommodation for 4 nights, breakfast and northern lights tour. And we were staying at the Radisson! Once we checked in we explored our local area and found a burger place for dinner. Followed up by the Dubliner for a few drinks.
Saturday Blue Lagoon & Northern Lights
There was a big selection of cold and hot food and fresh juices for breakfast in the hotel. So good! Then it was time to put bikinis on (yes in minus degree weather), covered by a set of thermals. Off to Blue Lagoon! It’s a geothermal spa surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It really is a beautiful misty scene of white. It was really warm in most parts of the lagoon and when you didn’t raise a body part out of the water. We took advantage of the mud and applied it all over our faces in the hope of looking younger. The time passed quickly and it was soon time to get back on the bus and get ready for our Northern Lights tour!
The bus picked us up at 8:30pm from the hotel. We drove out to the middle of nowhere where it was dark so we could hopefully see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see any. On the plus side we all got a free spot on the tour the next night… fingers crossed! Chris and Des headed out to Lebowski Bar but the rest of us were ready for bed after a day of activities, excitement and disappointment.
Sunday Golden Circle Tour & Northern ‘Light’
Today we did the Golden Circle tour which I highly recommend. It’s a good mix of things to see. From amazing waterfalls, to thermal pools that bubbled and shot up about 20 metres into the air every 10 minutes, to a farm visit with the best icecream straight from the cows! At this time of year there was also plenty of snow to throw at one another and push each other into. Tip – wear waterproof pants / trousers. Apparently snow melts!
During the tour I had to literally defrost my feet. I’d been given the tip to wear a plastic bag over my socks so that any water that gets into my shoes could not wet my feet. The major downside was that my feet were now sweating and freezing. The defrosting process involved taking off my shoes and socks and running them under hot water in the bathroom. I would have done both feet at the same time if it was possible!
Later on it was time for our second Northern Lights tour. This time we actually got to see one! But it was faint and no beautiful bright colours. Actually if it wasn’t pointed out, I would have thought it was a long horizontal cloud. A few people who took photos said that there was a green colour that showed up on the image.
Monday Quad-biking and cave exploring
Last day of activities in Iceland! First activity – caving. It was a lava tube cave, not easily spotted if you didn’t know it was there. There were a few small spaces to manoeuvre through but nothing too scary. We were sweating up a storm in the cave despite Narnia outside! Once we’d finished exploring we jumped back on the bus and headed to the quad bike part of the tour. We split into pairs and followed the tour leader on our quad bikes around a track up to the top of a mountain. It was a surreal experience coming from living in a hot town most of my life to quad-biking through endless white snow. I was a little afraid of my frozen toes falling off though! Make sure you buy good quality socks and shoes!
It was our last night in Iceland and you’d think we’d be keen to try one last time to see the Northern Lights. But we didn’t want to waste three nights in Iceland doing the same thing. So where did we end up? A pub. Playing games that involved a topic or theme that you had to keep going e.g. if it was celebrities and someone said Tom Hanks, you had to come up with a celebrity starting with H and so on. It was fun but I’m glad we found out the Northern Lights tour bus didn’t even go out tonight due to zero magnetic activity!
Maybe I’ll see the Northern Lights in Lapland?