Holiday to Iceland

At the beginning of 2010, we came across an article on the Internet mentioning the Blue Lagoon and at that time we didn’t have a clue what that was all about but as we read about it, it became more and more enticing and since then we decided that we needed to experience this. However we couldn’t make it to Iceland because we had another holiday booked and then there was the volcano eruption and it was not safe to go to Iceland.

In November, we suddenly made our minds and decided to go explore Iceland for a couple of days. We managed to find a package holiday which included the Northern Lights, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.  It was going to be 3 nights, 4 days but we wanted to stay for 1 more day to explore Iceland further. It only costs us £25 more per person per night to stay which was really good.

We stayed at Reykjavik Hotel which is a 3 star hotel but to be honest it could have been a 4 star hotel. It’s only bed and breakfast but the room was clean and the staff very helpful. We had the Northern Lights excursion booked on the very first day that we arrived but our flights were delayed because of heavy fog and we missed our 8pm slot because of the 4 hr delay at the airport. The flight time should have been 3 hour and a half but the pilot made it in 2 hours and a half. Anyway once checked in at Reykjavik Hotel, the receptionist told us that the Northern Lights tour was cancelled because of poor visibility. So we were relieved and hoped that the following day, we would be able to do it.

The next day was Blue Lagoon excursion and it took us roughly 50 mins to get to it. A small shuttle bus picked us from the hotel to the Reykjavik excursions bus terminal where we boarded a coach. Once at the Blue Lagoon, we hired bathrobes at the cost of 8 euros each because it was really cold out there (the pathway from the building to the actual warm lagoon). We had to rinse our body before entering the lagoon and that’s without clothes (swimming costumes), so for the shy ones, you might need to wait to get into the cubicle and hand your clothes above. As I said before though, the temperature outside is really cold and the small distance that you need to walk from the building to the lagoon can make you shiver or get ill, so wrap in a towel or bathrobe. The water of the Blue Lagoon is really warm and you can see the steam coming out of it because it’s cold everywhere else. It’s a really nice relaxing environment and there are places where the water is hotter if that’s what you like. There’s also a waterfall feature and it can really help with bad backs because the pressure and hot water is a really good combination for that sort of muscle ache. You will also find sillica mud in the Blue Lagoon for you to use. It’s good for the face and you can also apply it on your body. Leave it for 10 mins and wash off afterwards. I’ve tried to dive in the water but it’s really murky and hard on the eyes. It’s good to have a waterproof camera with you or buy the Aquapak which is just a plastic container which will prevent water from entering it and keep your digital camera dry.

We ate lunch at the Lava restaurant and it costs us in the region of 6000 krona (£40) for a nice monk fish dish and cod and mussels dish. The shop at the Blue Lagoon was really expensive and there was nothing that interest us anyway. Once back at the hotel, we were informed that the Northern Lights tour was once again cancelled because of bad weather. Just across the road there’s an Icelandic and Phillipine restaurant called Harry where we ate dinner that night. It took around 40 mins to be served although the place was not full and it annoyed us because we were hungry. The food costs in the region of £45 for the two of us and it was nothing special to be honest; it was okay. We ordered Phillipines fried noodles and a fish dish.

On the 3rd day, we had the Golden Circle Tour which consisted in visiting the Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall. The first stop at Thingvellir is where the first parliament was ever made and from there you can see the tectonic plates movements. It’s a couple of metres wide and it currently moving apart 2cm each year. You will also be able to see a very nice view of the mountains from there. After that we went to Geysir which is a hot spring which spouts hot water every 10-15 mins. The water is 80-100 degrees hot and can reach a height of 20 metres above ground. It’s a natural phemenomena and a beauty to see. The last stop was Gullfoss which is Iceland’s most famous waterfall. It’s quite big and for those who want a closer look, there’s a narrow and sometimes slippery path down there. It was too cold though and after taking a few pictures, we headed straight to the restaurant where we ordered soups to keep us warm. The soups were too watery though and we filled up on bread instead. One tomato and one lamp soup with 2 cheese sandwiches costs us around £35, no drinks included. This was supposed to be it really. However in the super jeep that we were travelling in, there were one other couple and they wanted to do snowmobile, so the driver had to take us with them. It was a nice drive up the mountains and at one point, I thought the superjeep was going to fall over while the driver manoueuvred over the snow uphill. It was a long drive up the mountains and we stayed in the jeep because it was too cold outside. The snowmobile costs £100 each for about 1 hour’s fun and I thought it was too expensive. If it wasn’t for the other couple, we would have been back to the hotel at least 2-3 hours before. The only regret I had for that day was that I forgot my DSLR camera in our room’s safe and could not take good pictures, however we had our other little camera.

The Northern Lights tour was cancelled on that night as well. We ate dinner and Madina’s which is an italian restaurant down the road from our hotel. It was like 5 mins walk. We ordered pizza and pasta and it all came to about £40 with drinks.

On our last day, we wanted to explore Iceland by walking. We went to Perlan (The Pearl) for a panoramic view of Reykjavic. It took us around 25 mins walking from our hotel and we saw a wild black rabbit while going there. There’s the Viking musem (Saga Museum) inside but the entrance fees are around 8-10 euros per ticket but there was nothing interesting in there, so we decided not to spend out money on that. The viewpoint was a nice place to take some awesome shots and if you have missed the Geysir, there’s a man made one in Perlan.

We then headed to the Reykjavic zoo and it took us around 40 mins by foot. The entrance fee to the zoo was 1000 krona each (around £7) and we had a nice time there. We saw Icelandic horses, seals, cows, goats, pigs, sheeps, reindeer, turkeys, chickens, artic foxes to name a few. There’s also a botanical garden outside which is free but it’s best to go there in the summer. On our way back, we saw the Arts museum but we didn’t have time to enter and we were too knackered as well. Once at the hotel, we were informed that the Northern Lights was cancelled again. We had a take away dinner this time. We walked straight down the street where there was this pizza place and ate the pizza back in our room.

We also visited Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrim’s Church), a parish church, where we took some nice pictures. It’s about 20 mins from the hotel. We had an early flight on Saturday morning.

It was a shame that we couldn’t see the Northern Lights but Iceland is a nice country and the people are pleasant and speak good english. The prices in Iceland are quite expensive though and the cold quite bitter, so warm clothes are a must.