Iceland – The Full Video

So after a year of life and editing every now and then, finally an Iceland film roll was born…

With the help of my wonderful man Brad we put together this wonderful video of me and my friend Jess and all that we did in Iceland, 2018!

It was a really amazing trip, we did so much in such a short time and it was a great laugh with Jess, I will never forget the experience so you can find the video in the link below!

I am going to start posting film rolls of my trips whenever I go away so next up will be Norway and then Sri Lanka when I get back! It won’t be frequently updated but you’re welcome to subscribe to the channel if you wish to see what is to come!

Enjoy & Let me know what you think!

Music: Intrinsic / Odd Mob & Loving Life / Rationale (Frankie Rizardo Remix).

10 Things I Learnt Whilst in Iceland

  • IT IS COLD.

When we arrived it was at 0. IT IS FREEZING. Well not freezing, but it is incredibly bone chillingly cold, especially the wind. The main reason it’s so cold I actually think is because of the wind! It was -9 on the evening we went out to see the Northern Lights, and -7 the day we went too the Golden Circle Tour. It appeared that that closer to the city you were the warmer it was, and the further out of Reykjavik you were the colder it was due to so much open land and the wind. WRAP UP SO WARM, And don’t only take Adidas Gazelles with you, they will not protect your feet from the cold. Lesson Learnt. 

  • Icelandic Krona is very confusing.

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Its not actually so bad, but at the same time it is awfully confusing. Its all done in the thousands, like 1000 Krona is worth £7. The exchange rate is absolutely horrendous and everything in Iceland is still expensive. But its all absolutely worth the expense and the confusing currency. The currency realistically actually makes sense due to the pay and life in Reykjavik, for us visitors it seems high but for anyone who is living and working there it is completely normal and not to highly priced at all.

  • Getting around using just a map is refreshing.

Although we had out phones and we could use them just as if we were in the UK we were given a map by Blazej at the desk when we checked into our hostel! So we used that to get around the centre and it was wonderfully easy and nice to not really have to use google maps either! I usually live off an application on my phone called City Mapper which is really good but it was so nice for the two of us to figure out where we were on the map and find our way!

  • The Northern Lights is a normal and unexciting experience for those who live in Iceland.

You forget that if you live in Iceland the Northern Lights is a pretty bog standard thing. You can see them over the ocean from the seafront in the city if you’re lucky so you don’t really have to go on trips to see it, but if its not your usual occurrence then its a pretty big deal. After talking with some man at our hostel we discovered that he can watch the lights most nights from his hot tub in his back garden. I’m a little jealous if you ask me.

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  • Turns out, they don’t eat whale as much as we thought.

After wanted to try whale when we were out there as I had heard it was something they eat, I was very wrong. Turns out only 1.2% of the population of Iceland actually eat whale meat!! And its the same with Shark (which smells, bad). They only hunt it quite frequently, but the end result is not actually eating it! 

  • Coffee in Iceland is incredibly popular, Tea is not (And they drink it without milk????).

If I wanted a good cup of tea it was a struggle and asking for milk in my tea seemed to be absolutely mortifying. The tea usually tastes quite herbal, I had one tea with a hint of lavender and it was wonderful, probably my favourite one out of them all. We were told that a majority of people live off coffee and it is a lot more popular so I can understand why you wouldn’t bother with good tea.

  • Folk Tales are very strongly upheld and told to generations still to this day.

The woman on our Golden Circle tour informed us of folk tales like ‘The Hidden Woman’ who appeared to a woman and told her she was pregnant and what to name her baby for good blessings and it is still happening to this day. There was also another folk tale of the night trolls, or just the trolls. Men who have had a spell cast on them and they have been enchanted to the caves and only human contact after 3 days of the spell can break it, but they are so hideous from the troll transformation people do not go near them, so the spell is never broken and these men disappear

  • Driving looks very similar to the UK, although not so easy with the snow.

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It seems so easy! Almost exactly like the UK of course just the other side of the road, the signs are in kilometres and there is a lot of snow. SO ACTUALLY nothing like the UK at all. But it was somewhere where I felt I could drive quite comfortably if there was no snow! But another thing was the snow.

If it snows in the UK, Everything comes to a standstill. Couple of centimetres in Iceland? No problem mate, busses, trains, schools, work, all still open and all roads clear as normal!

  • It smells of rotten eggs (Sulphur) a lot of the time.

The hot water is straight from the ground, so it smells a lot like the Sulphur or rotten eggs. If you run the water for a while it kind of disappears, but as our hostel told us, its just something you have to accept! And it was very easy to accept it, although there was one morning where we had left our window open through the night and my god when we woke up in the morning I couldn’t workout if a rat had died in the room or if it was just the sulphur. 

  • The water in Iceland is the purest water I have ever drank in my life.

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Once you leave the water to run and separate the sulphur the after is the most cold and refreshing water you have ever tasted. It took me to move up north to university to realise that yes, water tastes different everywhere. In Lincoln, the water is rank, in London, its lovely, in Iceland? Its better. Its just really fresh, like drinking something straight out of a refrigerated bottle.

Iceland – The Northern Lights

Jess and I booked a tour for the northern lights which we were pretty excited for so we booked it for the Tuesday night which was our first proper night in Iceland! 

But typically for us, the forecast wasn’t very good even though apparently its a pretty good time to see them this time of year. The forecast when we got back was at 0 out of 9. Pretty disappointing so typically the trip was cancelled and we could reschedule for a later day so we re-booked for the Thursday!

Thursday rolls around and we’re outside waiting for our minibus at 7:30! After another bus journey we ended up on the start of our trip, we had a Icelandic young guide giving us all the facts and we didn’t even have to go that far away too our destination!

We stopped just outside of Reykjavik, by Keflavik airport, although not right by it of course. We stopped by the coast and by a small church, from there we could walk out into the fields to the coastline and stand and watch the lights from there. It was the Reykvanes Peninsula we visited.

WELL IT WAS COLD. Like understatement cold, it was -10. It was windy and late at night and cold so we were fully geared up but it still did not do us any good as it was freezing. 

The reassuring thing there was hot chocolate for us when we were at the bus in the evening, and it was appreciated greatly. We got chatting to a lot of people, tried Icelandic doughnuts and even had the option to try shark?? did we?? No. The smell was enough, it was incredibly off putting. Eventually we gave up at about 11:15 and hopped back on the bus.

We hadn’t really seen anything. There was a faint strip in the sky and some movement but no real colour or movement from the lights. We were a little gutted, luckily we’re on the list for 3 years to book another trip for free when we come back which is always a nice benefit. 

So here was me thinking I had gone to Iceland and not got lucky at seeing the Northern Lights, well, luckily for me, I was wrong!

We were on the plane home and It was a night flight. 7:30pm departure from Keflavik, sad sad times. We’re ordering some food on the plane and Im on the left side by the window seat, taking a nose outside expecting to see uh, darkness, and theres the sodding Northern Lights in all its glory!

I couldn’t really believe it, I nudged Jess and she didn’t believe me of course, it had been a long day and I’m annoying so I salute her for dealing with me. The pilot even turned the lights down for all of us to see out the window properly which was really lovely. We were all talking about it together and Jess managed to get a couple of good photos as well!

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Overall it was a really good end to the trip, I’m so pleased we got so lucky!

 

Iceland – The Golden Circle Tour

Its hard to choose a favourite day the trip because it was all amazing but I am pretty sure this day was one of my most favourites. We did so much and saw so many beautiful things!

We got picked up from our hostel at half 10 to leave on the coach on our Golden Circle tour. We were gonna be on a coach for  very long time on this day but I didn’t mind because I was excited and we stopped and saw so much!

So we headed off on our journey on the coach down a road out of Reykjavik called Road number 1! It waved between all the mountains and was the only ring route around the entirety of Iceland, we were heading to our first stop with a really incredible guide on the coach. She talked loads and gave us loads of facts about where we were going, she was funny as well which was even better.

Our first stop was Pingvellir National Park and it was beautiful. Really breathtaking spot. There we could enjoy the wintery views for miles and walk down a Lava Canyon where the tectonic plates have moved the earth down to another viewpoint.

It was really stunning, but we didn’t have much time, so we ended up running down the Lava Canyon on the way down because we wanted to see the view from the bottom even though the tour guide said we didn’t have enough time to go. WELL we did. And it was worth it for sure. The views were just as good if not better.

The walk back up caused us a lot of regret.

Next up on our trip was to the Geysir’s! The journey was done around a huge lake area on the National Park. A large part of discussion from our tour guide was the cracks in the side of the road in the land and how they have been formed. I mentioned before the tectonic plates causing the lava canyon, these canyons are formed by the North American Tectonic Plates and the Eurasian Tectonic Plates pulling apart.

These create the large cracks we were seeing beside the road, we also got to see all these different volcano’s whilst we were on the coach on the drive.

The guide was pointing them out to us as we drove. We saw Hekla Volcano and Eyjafijallajokull Volcano.

As our tour guide was telling us, You will definitely remember the last volcano as it was the one that caused the rather large ash cloud, grounding flights around Europe in 2010! The eruption brought a lot of attention to Iceland, people living in the area around the bottom of the volcano were evacuated with the number of people removed at 800.

If there was anything good to come from it was that the ash that fell from the volcano actually fertilised the soil on the fields meaning the soil was good for farming!

We headed on around the park to the Geysir’s at Haukadaluar Valley. It was a smelly place indeed with all the surfer coming up out of everywhere! The place itself was large with there being numerous holes puffing with sulphur and the large geysir itself named Strokker. It went off every 2-5 minutes and was the main attraction at the area.

There was a lot to see and if you got too cold there was also a cafe and shop too! I had the most AMAZING cake there. Im hungry just thinking about it**.

We got some good pictures an we stood and waiting for the geysir a couple of times and then it was back on the bus! Our next stop for me personally was the best and the most gorgeous. Gulfoss Falls, or in English, Golden Falls. It really was something spectacular and not to far away from the Geysir either!

When we arrived at Gulfoss Falls we were guided down some steps and told to go down to both viewpoints, so we definitely did as we we’re told. The first viewpoint for the waterfall was a more ariel view as you looked over the cliffs down at the waterfall. It was really beautiful and snowy, there was even a rainbow coming out of the falls at one point!

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The lower viewpoint gave you a better view of the falls but it made me sad because some days you can go down to the very bottom of the cliffs to the falls but the weather hadn’t ben very good so they had closed it! Which is fair enough with the amount of snow there!

Once we enjoyed the beauty of the falls we headed back to the bus for our final very quick stop. The Kerid Volcanic Crater. It was a large crater created by the plates and the sulphur at the bottom of the crater. It was really lovely and a nice little final stop on our Golden Circle Day!

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We drove down Road number 1 and we were arriving back in Reykjavik the tour guide told us stories of Folk tales of Iceland. Where a hidden women appeared to a pregnant lady at night and told her to name her child Helga in her dreams, if she was to name her this she would have good health. So she did the and she did have good health, so now it is carried through generations the name itself.

Another chirpy fact she told us was at the start of the road there are 3 crosses beside the road to signify how many people have died on the road already and to drive safely. We were there on January 17th and there were already 3 crosses. The number at the end of 2017 was 15. Drive safe people!

The trip was great and the tour guide was a lovely woman, we had a really wonderful day that I will never forget for years to come!

We got back to the hostel at around 7:00pm, Just in time for dinner!

**I actually went to the shop and got some chocolate cake midway through writing this post.