Last year was my 30th birthday and Andrea and I decided that we wanted to do something a bit different to celebrate. I really wanted to see the Northern Lights and as we love travel and discovering new people and places before long we decided on Iceland.
As per normal with Andrea and I, Andrea did the research (she loooves it) and so when we set off this is what we knew about this mystical cold dark island before we entered it. We knew they have given us a lot of great music for such a small nation (only over 300.000 people), they love good coffee, alcohol is expensive, there is an abundance of volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and thermal springs. Dark clear nights mean Aurora Borealis could show up in these parts of world.
We went all out and went armed with our digital SLRs, a film camera with Kodak Portra and Fuji 400H, our trusty GoPro and some with our phones. See if you can tell which was which. Personally we have fallen in love with our film images 🙂
We hired a campervan and drove east from Reykjavik. We noticed immediately the breathtaking scenery and how weather will dictate our itinerary for the journey. In the first hour of being in Iceland we experienced sun, rain, snow and hail. This as we came to discover is perfectly normal. There was no better way to get used to the roads than sliding down a slippery snowy hill in your first 50 km!
We made it to Hofn on the South East coast in two days of the most beautiful and diverse landscape we’ve ever seen, especially as it was mainly bathed in sunshine. We drove back through one snowstorm to another stopping for the night only when we couldn’t see the road anymore. We loved our camper and only had two moments where the road conditions became too much for us. Being 2WD instead of 4WD and a high top, it was tricky in high winds and slippery surfaces to stay on the road. One day got so bad the visibility became zero and the high winds caused the compacted snow on the roads to become icy. But hey we were in a camper with food, heating and wine!!! So no problem, we cooked dinner, watched a film and waited for the storm to pass which it did the following morning.
One thing we came to also love were the wild horses, they are more pony sized than horses we are used to but this made them even more cute with their big fringes and friendly nature. I made a new friend with blondie who was curious about my camera!
One of the things we love about Iceland is that you can drive for 100km and not meet another car or see a village. Even the bigger towns feel like bustling metropolis after driving through barren landscapes and they are the equivalent to the size of an English village. As long as they had a cafe, small supermarket and a thermal swimming pool we were happy.
The best Icelandic treat was to find (outdoor!) thermal pools in almost each town we visited to soak ourselves after a cold day of exploring. Yes the Blue lagoon is what everybody has heard of but you are really missing out as there are so many smaller ones to explore.
We’re food lovers and Iceland did not disappoint. The natural smoothies, the coffee, the beer, the meat and the dairy mmmmm you must try SKYR!! (Iceland’s legendary Yoghurt). We would also recommend fish, lobster and reindeer….some of the best food we have ever had!
Icelandic people are quirky and friendly, with a sharp slightly sarcastic sense of humour, we could seriously imagine ourselves living there.
We booked this trip with the intention of seeing the elusive northern lights and even though we only saw a weak show one night (this means we have to go back right?) we found so much more than we ever could have imagined.
Since we got back we have been plotting how and when we’ll visit Iceland again. If you or someone you know are getting married or thinking of an elopement in this beautiful corner of the world, it would be an absolute dream come true to join you.
Oh by the way we documented our adventures on video too so expect that in the near future 😉