Well, I can tell you now after spending four days in this amazing and isolated country that they have way more to offer than this electric artist.
This is a trip I've had in the works for a few years. A few times when crossing the Atlantic I had tried to make extended layovers on this Nordic Island, but it just never seemed to work out. So, this past summer I started planning. I knew I would be flying home to Canada for Christmas and figured this was my chance to make the trip finally happen. I got my roommate on board and we booked four days at an old biscuit factory turned hostel in Reykjavik.
|Hallgrimskirkja Churh - designed to look like Icelandic lava flows|
Bundled up with several layers and going on very little sleep, we boarded our bus and set out to hunt for the Northern Lights. Curled up on a comfy, warm bus listening to the tour guide tell stories about Iceland's famous elves and legends about the Northern Lights, I became extremely comfortable and extremely sleepy. It wasn't long before my jet lag and lack of sleep took over and I was out like a light. I woke a few times and saw nothing but pitch black and a starry sky. Iceland is truly the darkest place I have been. We finally made it to the designated stop in hopes of seeing some action in the sky. Our guide told us it is very hit or miss. Being near the water and having cold winds blasting outside, I decided to stay curled up on the bus and figured someone would holler if the sky lit up. Sadly, there were no Northern Lights to be seen that night..but I did have a pretty sweet four hour nap on the bus.
The next adventure was whale watching. A definite recommendation if you're in Iceland! (Staying at the local pub until 4am and waking up in the early hours to board a boat on the cold, choppy seas is not, however, recommended.) Sarah decided to hike a glacier, which looked amazing, and I decided to take to the seas. I have a strong love for the ocean and always feel so content when I am on a boat or at the sea. My Grandpa was a fisherman in Newfoundland and my Dad always said I've got the fisherman's blood in me. Truly, nothing makes me happier than a day on the ocean. When I arrived to the Old Harbour and found my boat I was met by the assistant Captain who was handing out sea sickness pills. She said that the tour had been cancelled the past few days and they were about to cancel it today as well because the seas were too rough and the winds too strong. For whatever reason they decided to go ahead with it but were strongly recommending every passenger take a pill. I politely declined thinking "I'm made for the sea, I don't get sick!!" I was again strongly pushed to take the pill. I decided to take it and put it in my pocket (just in case). An empty stomach, a late night out and some truly rough waters and it wasn't long before that pill came in very handy!
As we continued to sail around the bay, passengers began to fall over due to extreme winds. At one point we were ordered off the deck and back into the cabin while the boat turned itself around. Once back on deck everyone was using every ounce of energy to walk without falling. Every object quickly became a safety rail to hold tightly. Several people were literally blown to the ground of the boat as they let go of the railing and tried to walk around. Yep, this was definitely the time to take my seasickness pill. As we got closer to the shoreline of some mountains the wind became much more bearable. The temperature continued to drop, but at least now we could walk around without having a death grip on the railings. In the distance we saw two whales breach the surface and also a baby seal swimming along side our boat. After almost 4 hours I was beat. The cold, the wind and my growling stomach were taking over. I headed back to the cabin and curled up in my coveralls (note: this horrendous looking snowsuit is not mine. They are supplied by the boat!) and took a short nap before heading back to shore.
The next morning we checked out of the hostel and headed back to the airport ready for a seven hour layover in Germany and ready for a new year in Italy!
I will leave you with some fun facts about Iceland:
- Everyone including the Prime Minister is listed in the phone book
- In the summer months Iceland sees approximately 23 hours of sunlight per day.
- There is an Icelandic legend that states if a woman sees the Northern Lights while pregnant, her baby will be born cross-eyed.
- Iceland is expensive for tourists and prices are comparable to Scandinavian countries