Well hello Iceland😍… what an absolute treat it has been to see another beautiful country with insane geological landmarks and beautifully snowy landscapes. Fortunately for you, you’re in the the warmth reading about my adventure, whereas I turned my fingers into icicles taking these images!
Monday 21st January (Day 1)
Monday was mostly dedicated to travelling and making friends. Since this was a trip organised by the University in their International Travel Award Scheme the group of 40 of us going were from all years and courses within the University. Fortunately enough, my boyfriend also got chosen for the trip which made it less daunting for me being on my own with 38 other strangers.
We flew from London Luton with EasyJet, the flight departed at 2:00pm and arrived in Iceland approximately 5:00pm. This meant most of the day was spent: travelling to Luton, flying and being transferred from Keflavik Airport, but 100% worth it. We stayed at Hotel Cabin, which was about 25 minutes walk from the centre of Reykjavík and two streets away from the coast.
There’s no rest for the wicked as we dived straight into the jam packed itinerary, after dinner we went out on an organised trip to see the Northern Lights. We got driven halfway back to the Airport to reach one of the prime Northern Light viewing locations which was a golf course in Kálfatjarnarvöllur. Unfortunately the sky let us down and didn’t put on a show for us, instead we got a lovely view of light pollution and a full moon.
Tuesday 22nd January (Day 2)
This was our first full day in Iceland and we spent it visiting the gorgeous landmarks the South Shore has to offer. With a 7am start and a 7pm return it was a long day, but completely worth the tiredness!
Our first port of call was Sólheimajökull… to walk on a Glacier (WHAT??). Considering I’m far from the iconic ‘adventurous person’, this was something out of the ordinary and I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even know what a glacier was before this trip.
“A glacier is a large, perennial accumulation of crystalline ice, snow, rock, sediment, and often liquid water that originates on land and moves down slope under the influence of its own weight and gravity.”
Being given a harness, crampons and an axe, I really didn’t know what I’d agreed to. At least not until we trekked through the valley in thick snow, and strong winds with many regretful thoughts, to be met with the stunning glacier itself. Thankfully, the guides were great at knowing where to and where not to step when walking on the glacier as there were many sheer drops, rock fall areas and slippy ice stairs. The views were incredible and the thought of walking on ice was insane – something to remember for a long long while.
The next stop on our South Shore trip was one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, Reynisfjara. This is a black-sand beach with iconic basalt sea stacks that have a claim to fame in season 7 of Game Of Thrones.
We visited at the perfect time, during golden hour making it look even more stunning on pictures. The waves however, were pretty beasty and unpredictable meaning few people were getting back on the bus soaking wet! Ultimately, this has one of the strangest things I’ve experienced, walking on snow one second then walking on sand the next, crazy.
When in Iceland, it is completely acceptable to go chasing waterfalls (sorry TLC), the first waterfall we visited was called ‘Skógafoss‘. This is claimed to be one of the largest and most elegant waterfalls in Iceland located on the river Skógá. Not only does it put any British waterfalls to shame, but it acts for a perfect selfie opportunity.
We also visited another waterfall, Seljalandsfoss on the way home. Although, it was way too dark so we passed up on the photo opportunity and accompanied our viewing with a coffee instead.
Despite it being a long and exhausting day, we decided to try again to see the Northern Lights, this time we stayed local to the hotel and found a little area with benches along the coast with as little light pollution as possible. It wasn’t long before we were freezing and came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t going to happen, the sky was way too cloudy.
And that concludes day 1 and 2 in Iceland, with achey legs and cold hands, feeling completely accomplished with myself having completed the glacier walk. This is something I’d never have done if it wasn’t for being on this trip with University – for that, I am thankful!
Read about the rest of my Iceland trip here…