March 18, 2010


I visited Iceland on the weekend, with six friends. We flew out of Heathrow on Friday night, and I quite liked Icelandair, as you get to watch movies and tv and stuff (unlike Easyjet et al). I watched 500 Days of Summer (cheesy but the guy was kind of cute at least), an episode of the Family Guy, and a short documentary on Icelandic horses. Sold! I love Icelandic horses. More on them soon.

We arranged a private guide to take us around the Golden Circle area. In the map above, it's the green roughly circular area to the south east of Reykjavik. After my perpetual cooing at the herds of horses we passed along the road - there were tears of joy when I spotted one rolling over - our driver took us to meet some.

We visited the Þingvellir National Park, at the site of the world's first parliament. It's also where two tectonic plates meet - the North American and the Eurasian. Lots to be seen here, including an area where women used to be executed by drowning, and some stunning and deep ponds.

There were deep craters and steaming, spouting geysers. Possibly most impressive was the enormous Gulfoss waterfall. Near the top of the falls, I built this:

We attempted a Northern Lights tour one evening, but low cloud meant that the only lights we saw was the dance party provided by an app on my iphone. Deepest apologies to all the other people on the bus... the Australians started it.

The next day was mostly all about Icelandic horses and rain, and a rather interesting gait called tölt, which was a bit like trotting but with less of the up and down thing going on. Perhaps once I'm a pro horse rider, I'd say in a few months time, then I'll be able to explain it better. I did learn that Icelandic horses have two gaits that are unique to Iceland.

No visit to Reykjavik would be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon, which we made on our way out to the airport. Lovely... 38 degree waters, weird sludge underfoot, splurging on an in-water massage - that's what holidays should be about! Not so much about the almost-dreadlocks that took about a week to stop feeling like straw, but some people pay for that, right?

On the flight home, I watched the Sigur Rós documetary, Heima. It was really quite moving and made me want to see more of the country. Or the band. Iceland. Go there. I'm going back, in the summer - midnight sun!

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