Reykjavik – Day 3

Today was probably the highlight of the trip for me – the blue lagoon. As we were waiting for the bus to pick us up it was spitting with rain, the first bad weather we’d had. However, if it was going to rain, I’d rather it did it while we were soaking wet and swimming anyway.

As it turned out, it stopped raining when we reached the lagoon. We were ushered inside and wandered off to our separate changing rooms. We were given strict instructions to put liberal amounts of conditioner in our hair because the salts in the lagoon water would dry it straight out.


After only getting marginally lost we got out of the maze-like changing rooms and made it to the lagoon. I immediately fell in love. It was the most beautiful colour I’d ever seen, what I can only describe as candyfloss blue, spoiled only by the dark bobbing heads of other tourists. As I waded in, my body disappeared below the translucent surface and I found myself in nearly 40° water. If I closed my eyes I could have been in the tropics, but with my eyes open the hot steam meeting the cold air reminded me where I was.


It was one of the most romantic things I’ve done, swimming in one of the world’s wonders with the most special person in my life. I was initially reluctant to believe the lagoon had spiritual healing powers as I’d read, but as we bobbed about I felt the most relaxed I’d been in a long time.

There was a bar half-submerged in water, so you could lean on the counter and sip your drink while still floating chest-deep. We got cherry slushies, which were the tastiest I think I’d ever had. Mind you, in my state of ultimate chill anything would have tasted amazing.

Once excessively prune-like and ravenous, we showered and headed to the restaurant. Looking inside gave me a flashback to the Ritz – I’d got very lost one time – so we decided to get paninis from the much cheaper cafe instead, which were also very good.


Once back in Reykjavik city centre, we headed to dinner at the Lebowski Bar, which boasted a broad range of burgers and White Russians as well as the Big Lebowski playing on loop. I tried a white chocolate White Russian, but wasn’t a huge fan. The burger however, honey-glazed bacon and cheese, was pretty special.


The slight downer of the day was the email we received from Reykjavik Excursions saying that the Northern Lights tour had been cancelled tonight due to bad weather. Still, it’s a common fact that the aurora borealis are notoriously difficult to see, and much more experienced visitors than us hadn’t yet had the privilege of a sighting, so it was a long shot seeing in our first short visit. All the more reason to go back to beautiful Reykjavik!


Reykjavik – Day 2

When I looked out the balcony window this morning everything was blue. It turns out that Iceland is actually magical. With recharged camera batteries we headed out to explore.


The plan was to go straight to the shops, but down a side street I glimpsed a mountain and the sea. It was decided instantly that we’d put shopping on hold and go explore.

The natural light of Reykjavik is beautiful. Even at 11am there were still the diluted pinks and blues of early morning. We walked over the rocks and photographed the mirror-still water. Curse Iceland for making a cliche the only appropriate way to describe it, but the dirty old ocean looked like milk as it rippled against the shore. It was stunning, especially with Sólfarið (The Sun Voyager, below) standing proud against the city backdrop.


By this point we were getting peckish so we found a cute little creperie along the main street. Doused in Nutella, bananas and peanut butter, it filled the gap nicely.

Rejuvinated, we hit the shops. I bought gifts for family and friends then realised just how much money I’d spent. Iceland is expensive, as I’d been told many times over, but somehow being in such a beautiful part of the world made it all okay.


One thing I loved about Reykjavik was the street art. Nothing like the (mostly) ugly, scribbled graffiti that adorn the walls of London, Reykjavik buildings were covered in every colour imaginable. Giant painted eagles swooped overhead, while elsewhere a huge image of Frankenstein’s monster stood tall. It was a street photographer’s dream, and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to capture my favourites.


We’d glimpsed Hallgrímskirkja, the tallest church in Reykjavik that dominates its skyline, so decided to get a closer look. The colossal structure looked more like a spaceship than a place of worship, standing 73m tall. The sun was beginning to set so we stayed for some photos. Once the light had faded it began to get chilly so we headed back into town and, after stopping off at the Noodle Station for dinner, chilled out in the hotel room.


Later on we went on one of our booked trips, to hopefully go and see the Northern Lights. We got all wrapped up and set off on the bus. For a while it was a struggle to find any breaks in the cloud, but we eventually got off in the middle of nowhere and set up tripods.

While we were waiting we got chatting to this lovely nurse from New York. She was interested in photography too, and we ended up talking about the migrating waxwings.

We waited eagerly for several hours but were eventually forced to abandon ship and get back on the bus. Naturally we were both pretty disappointed, but the Northern Lights are infamously sneaky and we can go again tomorrow night, so hopefully we still have a chance.

Reykjavik – Day 1

Taxi to the station, train to Glasgow, shuttlebus to Glasgow airport, plane to Keflavik and shuttlebus to Laugavegur, Reyjavik.

The journey to Keflavik airport was far quicker than I imagined – less than three hours from Glasgow. As soon as we stepped off the plane we were hit by a gust of Icelandic wind, but despite the cloud cover I was far from cold. Ironically, I was warmer here than in Carlisle.

I noticed immediately that I could take advantage of the beautiful light here. Although the sun rarely shone directly and there were few hours of daylight, the sky always seemed to have a pastel filter over it – sometimes pink, sometimes blue. It was beautifully wintery and I couldn’t wait to go and explore.

After a walk downtown and a traditional dinner of Plokkfiskur, otherwise known as “fish mash” (something I would definitely have again), we headed back to the hotel ready for our first busy day.