I have always wanted to see the Northern lights, so when a friend proposed a long weekend away in Iceland, I signed up straight away. We did some research, and ended up booking a 4 night trip that covered both Reykjavik and Akureyri in the North.
We arrived late into Reykjavik, and after a few hours sleep, headed off the next day for our internal flight up to Akureyri. On arrival, it was just beginning to get light – at 10am! There was plenty of snow on the ground, and by the time we had checked into the hotel it was light enough to have a walk around the town.
The winter light was stunning and I really enjoyed getting the camera out for a few photos.
We started by going for a swim at the local baths – all naturally heated spring water! The main pool was a leisurely 27 degrees – but there were a couple of jacuzzi baths that were 35 and 42 degrees! It was amazing to be outside in the snow, sitting in a very hot pool of water! Reminded me of ski holidays where there has been a hot tub at the chalet! It certainly warmed us up for the rest of the day.
In the afternoon, we opted for a boat tour. They called it a whale watching tour, which seemed unusual as all the info I’d read up on before arriving said that whales went south to warmer waters in the winter. It was the tour company’s first Winter of running the trip, so we headed off to sail due North up the fjord.
We got dressed up in all in one warm suits, and headed out, breaking our way through some ice as we went.
It wasn’t too long before we realised we were going to be very lucky – the Captain spotted some humpback whales further up the fjord. And there were about 8 spread out over about a mile of water. And before we knew it, we were along side them and watching them breach.
When we got back, we had just enough time to grab some dinner, before we headed out in a coach with some other guests to go and visit a waterfall … in the dark … there’s a first time for everything! The idea had been to go Northern Light hunting, but as we drove onwards, it was clear we were heading into snowy weather and there would be no lights tonight!
Next day, despite some severe weather warnings, we headed off to do some exploring. We revisited the waterfall – Godafoss – so named as the story goes that when Iceland converted to Christianity, their pagan god statues were thrown into the waterfall.
We then went on to Dimmuborgir – the home of the Yule lads trolls. It’s a lovely place with amazing volcanic rocky areas. The idea is that they could be hiding in them – which at Christmas time, they do!
After that we headed off to another local natural bath, so that everyone could soak their cares away!
Then it was time to head back to our hotel. We had a bit of a tricky time getting back through the pass to Akureyri – but eventually we were back in the bar and enjoying getting warm by the fireside.
Next day it was already time to head back to Reykjavik, where we had a trip booked to drive out to the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geysirs.
After that, we had a little time to rest, before our final adventure began – which had been due to be a boat trip to try and see the Northern Lights! However, following on from the snow storm in the North, the boating trip was cancelled, and instead we jumped into a mini bus and headed off to find the lights! The forecast was very poor, but ever optimistic, we kept our fingers crossed!
And we were rewarded.
We saw the lights. Not for long. But we saw them.
But more about that another time …! I appear to have run out of space for now!