When you’re a kid, you color with reckless abandon. You color outside the lines. You color however you feel. Blue elephants, purple trees, red bears, green oceans — it’s all good. As you get older, though, everyone tells you to stay inside the lines, to color everything just like you see it. You end up painting by numbers — whether you actually paint or whether you write or sing or dance or act or direct. I think you should create what you feel. Create outside the lines. I want to watch green oceans and red bears. I’d love to listen to purple trees. And I long for blue elephants.
I have traveled a lot and have had amazing experiences in my life but seeing the Northern lights was top on my list of things to see for many years, so my wife and I decided to book a trip to Iceland before Christmas in the hope of catching the magical Aurora.
We did quite a lot of research beforehand and as there was a lot we wanted to see including the Northern lights, and we eventually decided on a 3 day Ice cave tour with Goecco, which turned out to be really really great. I will post images from that tour in a separate post.
We arrived in Reykjavik pretty late Sunday evening and as our tour was beginning really early Monday morning, we decided to check into our hotel and just go get some food and snacks for our trip the next day.
We booked a room at the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum for 1 night as we would be out in the Golden circle for the next 3 days. The hotel was really nice and clean and in a great location downtown, price was quite reasonable too. We booked a Grayline bus to take us from Keflavik airport to our hotel and it cost us ISK3000/£21/€24/US$26 per person. We read online that the buses are much cheaper than a taxi from the airport as the ride is about 40 minutes. My first meal in Iceland!
We returned to a very snowy Reykjavik Wednesday night..Braving the snow down by the Harpa before retreating to our lovely warm apartment which we booked on Airbnb.
So we only had Thursday to explore Reykjavik and as the Blue Lagoon only had free spaces at 7 and 8pm(yes you need to book a slot), we decided to find a local pool to go and relax in the awesome natural hot outdoor pools.The one we chose was Laugardalslaug and is a very short bus trip(No.14) from downtown. There is a bus app you can download here – Strætó bs but its pretty crap and didn’t really work well for me but its all I had. We bought our bus tickets at a Tourist information centre that was right next to our apartment and a return bus ticket cost us ISK420/£3/€3.50/US$3.70 per person.You can rent a towel at reception and you have to shower naked before entering the pool area. There are various hot pools outside and it was so relaxing lying in a hot pool during a blizzard! From the above photos it looks like the few hours of daylight we got(about 4 hours a day in Winter) were nice and clear, but the weather is very changeable. The Icelandic have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes!”
So we got our bus back Downtown and went for lunch in a really nice restaurant called Laekjarbrekka, which is in a building that has been there since 1834!I ordered the Salted Cod with Broccoli, Cauliflower, Barley and Salsa and as you can imagine, the fish in Iceland is delicious! After lunch, I was eager to find a coffeeshop I had found through instagram called Reykjavik Coffee Roasters and the coffee did not disappoint! I have no pictures of the inside as it was quite busy at the time, but if you’re into your coffee and your in Reykjavik, it’s a must!
Reykjavik is pretty famous for it’s street art which I love, so here are some shots of that and the local area while we rambled around the streets..Sólfar – Sun VoyagerHallgrímskirkja churchOur final dinner in Iceland was at KOL Kitchen and Bar, 30 seconds walk from Hallgrímskirkja church, where we both ordered Charcoal oven cooked Lamb with Barley, 12 month old Tinder cheese, fennel and carrots, amazing!
Well as I said, I will post our Golden Circle trip pictures and information in some separate posts, but if you have any questions regarding a trip to Iceland, feel free to comment or find my email here.Just before bed on our last night we booked our Grayline bus back to the airport and they picked us up from the front door of our Apartment. On the booking page there is a drop down menu with a list of pickup locations around the city, most of the hotels and well known apartment buildings are on there, and if not, Reykjavik is so small that you can’t be far from any one of the listed locations. So if you’re thinking of a trip to Iceland, just do it! It’s super expensive but it’s totally worth it! It’s safe, it’s beautiful and the people are great!
Big thanks to my wife for being the perfect travel companion again and again!
So as the sun sets on 2013, here are some of my favourite photos of my adventures throughout the year…
A year of ups and downs and big decisions..
Well that’s been pretty much it for 2013, I’m sure I missed some stuff but that’s all I can think of right now, been a great year…
– Gary Patrick Mannion