It’s been a long old while since I last wrote regularly on my blog and for weeks I’ve been promising (and putting off) this post on my instagram. Over 3 months ago now I went to Iceland with my school and I got back and was super preoccupied with exams and work. Then exams ended and I thought I’d become a blog maniac, shooting out posts on the daily. Buuuut it hasn’t really turned out like that… 😂 Instead of all the reading and the writing and the art and the ‘being a tourist in my own city’ plans I had, I’ve pretty much watched about a million films and gone swimming with my friends every day. Lovely but in no way productive or mind-widening. So this post marks hopefully the first of a nice little string of regular ones on my blog! Let’s get this thing on the road.
So on my phone, I have a photo album called ‘dreams’ filled with screenshots from travel accounts on instagram. Travelling is and always has been a dream of mine, so when I was given the chance to go to Iceland with school, I couldn’t believe my luck. I was uncontrollably excited in the weeks leading up to it, especially when I realised one night that a lot of the screenshots in my ‘dreams’ album were geotagged to be in the place itself. It was pretty much all my friends and I talked about, and was the best kind of motivation to get through the GCSE controlled assessments taking place just before. Then, the night before swung by and I had a short moment of anxiety as I was packing that it might not meet my expectations. Going to one of your dream places after months of anticipation is actually kind of scary, and I was starting to worry I’d be disappointed.
Lemme just say it now: you are NEVER going to be disappointed by the beauty of Iceland. It is incomparable, in the way that I think the dynamo which London possesses also is. As someone who normally lives in the said location, I really can appreciate how much it has to offer, and although I’m the outdoorsy type, I’m definitely a city-girl at heart. However, the absolutely stunning setting of Iceland was like nothing I had ever experienced. As incredible as it was to visit, and as much as I sorely miss the views and the fresh air (post holiday blues have never been so bad!), I know I could never live there. I missed the culture and the sense of really being part of something in London- one thing I did not feel in Iceland was like I belonged. Even the heart of Reykjavik (the busiest part of Iceland) felt empty and strange. Maybe I’m just used to living in the bustle of a megacity, but while Iceland is incomparable for its sights, for me it is definitely somewhere to visit rather than to settle in. If I were to live there, the stunning setting for sure wouldn’t get old, but the lack of things to do most probably would.
So while I don’t plan to make a life in Iceland, it was definitely the most amazing place I have ever visited (this sounds so contradictory, but you get what I mean, right?!). I could tick pretty much half of my life’s bucket list off after my 6 day visit. I walked in front of, behind and underneath waterfalls. I watched the geysirs, swam in the Blue Lagoon, walked down a black beach, up a glacier and best of all: saw the Northern Lights. This has been a complete dream of mine for so long, and I feel so unbelievably lucky. From having longingly scrolled through photos on Google images trying to accept the fact that I’d never be able to see them in real life (we were told that when we went wouldn’t be the right season for them), to actually standing on a street in Reykjavik with my friends, witnessing them on the first night was incredible.
So enough chat, and now about the days and some pictures! Some of you might have seen a few of these on my old instagram which has had a little makeover the baby of which is @sleep.long.dream.deep . Go and give it a follow for more photos and updates (expect lengthy captions because I am a rambler who cannot shut up either online or in real life).
[Lil disclaimer- some of these photos were taken by my friend, I had to take all of them on her camera, since I left the battery of mine charging in my bedroom and only realised at the Terminal 4 Heathrow departures lounge 😭.]
DAY 1- THE FLIGHT AND THE BLUE LAGOON:
I woke up buzzing, and took the tube with my friend to Terminal 4 of Heathrow airport. (On a side note, I really do recommend the tube if you’re going to Heathrow- it takes about an hour and a half but really is so much cheaper than a cab/paying for parking, and takes you directly there.) We got on the plane (Icelandic air which has some damn good movies- I watched Room for the first time and was left in awe: review to come!). Then, we landed in Reykjavik at about 4pm (it’s one hour earlier there).
We got on the coach and went straight to the Blue Lagoon- a geothermal spa containing 9 million litres of water. All my photos from there have people in them so I can’t use them but if you google it, you will know what I mean when I say the water is opaque. It’s the strangest thing – it’s light blue, but you can’ t see your feet less than a metre below the surface. I did a bit of research because I was curious about it, and it’s because the water has a unique composition featuring silica, algae and minerals. It’s meant to be really good for your skin and historically people have been going there to cure leprosy and other diseases (though I think I broke out the next day haha). It’s a pretty amazing place, and you feel special there- complimentary face masks, steam everywhere and even a bar (the £6 slushies DO NOT float, take it from someone who learnt the hard way!). Swimming in heated water in the 2℃ outdoors is truly memorable.
REYKJAVIK AND THE NORTHERN LIGHTS:
After, we went back to Reykjavik, and as we were stepping out of the coach, we saw the Northern lights. This came as a complete shock to everyone (including the tour guide) , and the photo just doesn’t do them justice. These ‘auroras’ are indescribable, and fill up the whole sky, changing from white to green to purple, and moving as the wind blows.
DAY 2- THE MID ATLANTIC RIDGE IN TINGVELLIR:
My first ever waterfall yay! Also, can we talk about Iceland’s lighting? The photo above was taken with my crappy iPhone 4S and is completely unedited.
So I thought the first waterfall was amazing… I cannot use words to describe the size of Gullfoss but if you zoom in enough on the second photo you can see some people on the road near the bottom just to give you an idea of how humungous it really is.
DAY 3- SUNSETS IN SOUTH ICELAND (HVOLSVOLLUR):
We stayed in 3 different hotels: two in Reykjavik (so proud I can spell that now haha) and one a completely rural part of South Iceland. Iceland in general is pretty rural (on average there are only 3.3 people per square km whereas in England it’s 413) but this place was like a whole different level. No houses for miles which made for some mighty good sunset photos.
DAY 4- SKOGAFOSS:
Maybe my favourite part of the trip? You could get so close to this waterfall, the spray actually kind of hurt! Double rainbows and all: incredible. Again, absolutely huge- the man in the first photo is not a good indicator of the size, he was metres away from the foot! Kind of an overwhelming and almost eye-opening experience which gave me a whole new appreciation of nature.
If you look closely you can see loads of birds living at the top. Wait, did I mention you can climb to the top?! I’m almost 100% sure this is the same waterfall, but I’ve left it too long to be certain and might be mistaken. Either way at one point I went up 463 steps (my friend got five hundred and something though so we’re probably both miles off) to the top of a waterfall- pretty cool!
Black sand beaches!! I have always dreamed of visiting one and although I couldn’t get the moody shots I had always hoped to because the sun was shining (I know, ugh good weather, poor me) and there were so many tourists, it was still pretty unforgettable. And the rocks! And the cave! Water dripped through the rock making it look silver (best in black and white):
Maybe one dramatic snap? Couldn’t stop myself from trying haha.
Ok, ok two.
Maybe this was actually my favourite part. Walking behind (and running underneath) a waterfall! The behind bit was probably a bit cooler than the underneath bit (we got wet and told off and had to sit on the coach for 3 hours to the next spot), but an all round bucket list-ticking-off experience!
The little bit of water furthest to the right is the part we ran underneath. It literally felt like hammers falling on my head, so I can only imagine what standing under the main stream would be like!
DAY 3- BACK IN REYKJAVIK AND SNOW!:
We stopped off our coach journey to visit a crater (the name of which I can’t remember ahh) and it started snowing! It had been cold for a while but in March we thought it’d be unlikely, especially as we’d had so much sunshine on the previous days. But wowowow we got to experience it all and I honestly feel so lucky. I hadn’t seen proper snow for a long time (in London it seems to fall grey if at all haha), so this was really cool. Cue a cheeky snowball fight (which we got told off for again):
And then a bit of free time in Reykjavik! If I’m honest I felt a bit underwhelmed, probably because at this point in the trip I was exhausted and had run out of money so couldn’t really buy that much to eat. Instead of a hot hearty meal, I spent my final krona on an Iceland hat which will be sure to make an appearance this winter.
DAY 6- HOME 😔:
We got up super early from our one night in the coolest hotel EVER (all decked up to look like a Viking’s lodging- check it out ) and hopped back on the plane to London again. Sad to go but ready to go, which I think are signs of a good holiday.
Feel out of breath after that- I know now why I put off writing it for so long! If you made it to the end then hugs and kisses and admiration from my keyboard to yours. Hope you enjoyed!