The Potato Chick
Travelling, eating and my other favourite things...
In a sentence...truly unforgettable.
Food we loved...skyr – Iceland’s answer to yoghurt which comes in a delicious range of flavours including caramel and baked apple.
During our short time in Iceland we got to experience everything – a stunningly beautiful country, awful weather and a healthy dose of soap opera style drama.
We spent our first full day on a Golden Circle tour which took us to some of the natural attractions around the island. The tour started off at the geothermal energy plant. Boring for some but an absolute highlight for Nick. The Strokker geyser, which shoots a huge stream of water up to 30 metres in the air every five minutes or so, was simply amazing.
The Gulfoss waterfall was also spectacular although the very windy conditions made it quite hard to look directly at it. By the time we got inside for lunch our faces were bright red from having snow whipped into them. The final stop was Thingvellir National Park, where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Despite the awful weather we were blown away (literally and figuratively) by the sheer beauty of Iceland.
That evening we spent about 4 hours in a bus cruising around the countryside in search of the northern lights. Time inside the bus (which was heated to sauna-like conditions) was punctuated with time spent outside in the hideous minus 12 degree night looking desperately into the sky for the slightest hint of activity. The only highlight was the hot chocolate served with Icelandic donuts. The difference between Icelandic donuts and ordinary donuts being, of course, that the recipe had been passed down from trolls and elves. By the time we were dropped back at the hostel tired and miserable at 2.30am I swore “never again”.
The next day started a bit more slowly with a delicious brunch at Laundromat Cafe. We spent a lazy day wandering the cute city and its harbour and taking in the view from the top of the church tower.
Despite my previous comments, we found ourselves aboard a northern lights bus again that evening. Luckily, we had the same adorable guide who said all the same things he had said the night before including his interesting theory that we were all living together on a little spaceship called earth. Our persistence paid off with a sighting of the lights almost immediately. The relief was palpable. And the lights were amazing. Hopefully you can see them in the photo below. Make sure you click directly on the photo for an enlarged view.
Our final day in Iceland was drama filled. We were due to fly out at 6.00pm which meant we could fit in a few hours soaking in the Blue Lagoon before heading to the airport. What a relaxing way to end our time in Europe we thought to ourselves. Things got off to a bad start when we arrived at the bus station to the bad news that a “pipe was broken” at the Lagoon which meant we wouldn’t be able to swim. We decided to still head out there to see it for ourselves and take some photos as it’s a really pretty part of Iceland.
It took about 40 minutes to get there by which time the weather had turned completely feral. It was snowing so hard and the winds were so fierce that you could hardly see in front of you. The road got snowed in behind us which meant we were then stuck at the Blue Lagoon. We ended up hanging out there for about 6 hours. Luckily the staff plied us with homemade Christmas biscuits which were absolutely delicious. We made it to the airport just as the runway was being reopened.
While it was disappointing not to swim in the Blue Lagoon the memory of trying to walk through a blizzard with 15kg on my back and the wind blowing into me sideways is not one that will easily be forgotten. Huge thanks to Iceland for the priceless memories. We can't wait to visit again during Summer.
Next stop...New York City, USA.