Halló! If you follow my Instagram you may already know that last week I was a very lucky girl who was surprised by Toby for our anniversary, with a getaway to Reykjavik. I’d never been before and was of course extremely excited as 2 major items on mine, and most people’s, bucket list are located in Iceland – the Northern Lights and the Blue Lagoon. These were the two things I was most eager to do in the time we were there, and I feel very lucky to say I can put a nice fat tick next to both of those.
We flew into Keflavík airport and landed around lunchtime, we had booked onto a coach transfer to the hotel which was so easy to locate right outside the airport. When we came out of the airport it was actually snowing and snow was covering everywhere. On the plane I was on the window seat and sat the whole time absorbing the landscape, it is so different from the UK with all the land being so free and open, there’s really only a couple major cities/towns in Reykjavik, but as I soon came to find their capital is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of London.
Just opposite our hotel was the coast line, the city runs along this and features their opera House at one end, and beautiful mountains the other. We had a lovely snowy walk along to go and explore the city, and thoroughly enjoyed the view and the sound of the snow crunching under our feet.
On the opposite side was a building which looked starkly different from any of the other structures and has some strong historical value to the city as it was host to the The Reykjavík Summit. This was a where the then U.S. President Ronald Reagan met Gorbachev of the Soviet Union Communist party in 1986
We wandered onto the main shopping street – Laugavegur and had a little snoop in the shops, found a Christmas decorations (we try to buy a decoration wherever we travel as a souvenir),and had a much needed caffeine break in a nice book shop/coffee shop Te + Kaffi. I also managed to find our Honey bee in Reykjavík too! Interestingly I only saw 3 dogs the whole time we were there!
Shops and houses had a very quaint and interesting style, they were all quite unique in build and style in the centre of the city, and quite a few places still had Christmas decorations up!
A lot of the buildings were covered in corrugated iron which they apparently use as it is so durable to withstand the harsh weather they have. A lot were painted in lovely bright colours and really gave them all a certain charm.
Next up on our walking tour of the city was the Cathedral, the Hallgrímskirkja. As you can see in the picture the architecture is amazing, it’s an extremely imposing building in a clearing, on the hill. You can see it from almost anywhere in the city and it certainly makes an impression.
Inside was a glass baptismal font possibly? But anyway it reminded me of what Dumbledore drinks out of in the cliff cave in the Half Blood Prince.
The city itself is like no other city I’ve ever been too, honestly my local high street is more busy than the whole of Reykjavik. We hardly saw any people out an about, on the high street, in the evening, and just around the city. The majority of people we saw were in the Cathedral and waiting outside the hotel to get on coaches for tours, and even then it’s only the same as people waiting outside a bus station in the UK, or less! The tranquillity of the city almost made me feel like I was in some fake, model village. But with the whole population of Iceland being around 334,252 and London around 8.788 million it makes sense that it’s a very sleepy city. So, if you want a city break but hate the hustle and bustle, Reykjavik could be perfect for you!
We also stumbled upon an old disused underground public toilet that had been converted into a museum of Icelandic Punk, which was pretty cool to have a look around.
In the evening we enjoyed a nice (but eye watering expensive) dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and went back to our Hotel to rest a little before our evening excursion – a Northern Lights Mystery Tour (they call it a ‘mystery’ as they can’t 100% guarantee you will see them!). Our coach picked us up around 8.30 and drove us an hour out of the city and away from any light pollution, we un-boarded the coach into -12 degrees and stood and watched. For around 2 hours the lights would appear as a beamy/glow over the horizon, occasionally moving slightly and getting dimmer and brighter, one thing that was bright the whole time though was the billions of stars we could see, including 2 shooting stars! We would break for shelter into the coach to warm up for a bit and then venture back out, but after a few hours of it just slowly fading away we were ready to leave. However, on the drive back into the city someone on our coach noticed something dancing in the sky outside, we pulled over, rushed out and almost right above us the lights were literally dancing brightly. It was of course incredible, unfortunately no camera would pick them up. 😦
Today was Blue Lagoon day! Our coach picked us up and drove us out the where the spring is located, as we got closer we could see large mushrooms of steam over the snowy horizon, and little puffs of steam coming through the rocks. Getting into the lagoon was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, it was massive and hotter than any bath I’ve ever had. The comprehension that you are so hot and warm when there is literally snow right next to you is crazy, the fact that it’s all natural makes it even more astounding. I was worried that with so many people you might just feel like a can of sardines, but with all the steam it makes you feel so private and peaceful, and you’re the only people there.
That evening we went for a walk into the city for dinner at a street food noodle house, and left in the morning for our plane home. Even though we went for a short time it was amazing and we got to do the two things we were most eager to do, however we’ve now added more to the list so going back to Iceland to explore more is definitely a must! A city break like no other, I can assure you.