Iceland 4th-7th March 2016

Tracey Scales on 09 March 2016

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Iceland is a small volcanic country in the North Atlantic Ocean. There are only 331,000 inhabitants. The towns are mainly around the coastlines, as the centre of the country is inhabitable. It is mountainous and covered in lava and moss. Reykjavik is the capital, it is relatively small with 122,000 inhabitants. People go to Iceland to see the Northern lights, Blue Lagoon and The Golden Circle. We arrived on Friday morning. The journey from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik took around 45 minutes. The landscape between the two is rugged and bland- miles of dark grey lava and moss. We stayed at the Reykjavik Centrum, a small, traditional hotel in the centre of Reykjavik. It has 89 rooms. The rooms are compact, clean and modern with a small shower room. The breakfast was quite basic. There is a small bar, which sells lunch and evening meals and a full restaurant. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The hotel was in an ideal position. Very near to the harbour. There were numerous varsity and restaurants nearby. The trip to the Norther Lights was on. The forecast was reasonable. We set off on an hours trip to find the best location and waited. The sky was clear and there was an abundance of beautiful stars. We waited and waited........alas, the lights did NOT come out to play! The tour company say if you don't see the lights the first time, you can keep going until you do see them. This promise lasts for up to 2 years! Saturday morning, we set off on a trip to the Blue Lagoon. This is one of the 25 Wonders of the World. It is not far from the airport. As we got close to the lagoon, we saw the steam rising and lots of chalky blue pools at the roadside and were engulfed by a strong smell of sulphur! As, we got to the entrance, the awful smell subsided. The lagoon itself is amazing. It is very well run, and they offer various different packages including towel and bathrobe hire. There is a spa and massages available. There is a bar at the side of the lagoon, and you purchase drinks by scanning an armband. There is also a lovely restaurant onsite called the Lava. The water in the lagoon is around 38degrees. Once you are in, you really don't want to get out!! There are face masks at the side for everyone to try, full of properties to make your skin look younger. We stayed in the lagoon for over 3 hours and felt thoroughly chilled. In the evening, we decide to go out for a nice meal. Note make sure you pre book a restaurant. There was 6 of us and we struggled to get a table. Saturday evenings are extremely busy! Another note food and drink is quite expensive, so be prepared for this. A beer is around £7. A glass of wine is around £11. A meal (1course) is around £20-£30. Whale is one of the local delicacies and tastes pretty good. Fish and chips are really good and very light in texture, not like the stodgy we get in the UK. The Northern lights trip for Saturday night was cancelled due to bad weather! On Sunday we did the all day tour to the Golden Circle. We had woken up to to thick snow. The journey was picturesque! Beautiful snow covered mountains, it looked like a Christmas card. First we visited a glacier, beautiful views and a small church in the distance. Then on to the Golden falls. They were truly spectacular! We went to the restaurant next to the falls, where we enjoyed Icelandic lamb soup, it was yummy! Next we went on to see the Geysirs . By now it was bright and sunny with gorgeous blue skies. We had fun dodging the exploding Geysirs! We also visited a beautiful church and a horse farm. The guide told us the Northern lights trip would be on, so we attempted to book it though the guide and by phoning the depot ourselves. To no avail, it was fully booked. Note: book it every day in the morning, if you miss it and hopefully you will get to go! We were due home early Monday morning. Seeing the lights would have been the icing on the cake. We will just have to come back another time........an amazing weekend!

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