In order to celebrate the 30th birthday of my other half Craig, we decided to go on an adventure to Iceland. We invited his mum and dad along, we spent three weeks touring New Zealand together in a campervan and so we knew we would get on well for a week in Iceland. We stayed in the centre of Reykjavik in an apartment at Room With A View.
On our first day we had a big Icelandic breakfast and we went out to explore. We walked down to the harbour and went inside the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall. We walked to the Maritime Museum and went inside to warm up with a hot chocolate. After Tjornin and lunch at Bakari Sandholt we visited Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik's catherdral which you can see from most places as it is such a monumental building. We ventured to the top which was very windy but offered fantastic views of the city, the colourful buildings and the mountains in the distance.
On day two we decided to do a self-drive trip of the Golden Circle. As there were four of us it worked out cheaper to do the trip ourselves. We first visited Þingvellir National Park where two plates meet. Next stop was Geysir and then Gullfoss which was definitely a highlight of the trip though we did get caught in a heavy hailstorm. The weather in Iceland is so changeable, during our visit to Gullfoss there was perfect blue sky, then rain and a rainbow then a full on hailstorm. The guy at the car rental company recommended that we stop at Kerið, a huge crater which we walked around in the late afternoon sun.
Day three was spent whale watching although in all honesty I felt completely sea sick and only glimpsed a minke whale and some dolphins. This was more than made up for when later in the evening we sighted the magical northern lights. They danced over our heads in Reykjavik and we saw them in all their glory on a tour to the outskirts of the city.
After a busy few days we decided to spend the next day unwinding at the Blue Lagoon. It was such a surreal experience floating around in hot water while practically in a blizzard!
The next day we woke early to drive south. We visited three waterfalls including the mighty Skogafoss and the Eyjafjallajökull visitor centre. We watched a film about the eruption which affected the whole of Europe in 2010 and I practiced my pronunciation - "AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl-uh". After, we drove on to the black sand beach at Vik.
Our last full day in Iceland was spent driving to Snæfellsjökull National Park and was probably our highlight. We had an unobscured view of the partial eclipse in the morning and then drove round the peninsula stopping at beautiful sights. The roads were quiet enough to stop right on the tarmac to take photos and the towns on the south of the peninsula were completely deserted for winter. We met some lovely ladies in a town on the north of the peninsula while we stopped for snacks who were so excited to tell us what we should stop to see en-route. It's so lovely to meet people that are so friendly and proud of where they're from.
As our flight was later in the day we had plenty of time to visit the shops, the art museum and have a lovely lunch at a vegetarian cafe before making our way to the airport.
Iceland was pure magic and I can't wait to return, in fact I loved it so much that I asked Craig if we could move there. The people were so wonderful, the landscapes incredible and we had some seriously great adventures.