Iceland for my birthday.
If you’ve been following my blog, or a friend of mine, you would know that I like to travel on my birthday, and this year I’ve chosen Iceland.
Initially I had planned it to be a solo trip (like my last 3 birthdays – I know I’m weird), but my best friend has decided that the best present she can give me was her presence – and it was the best present!
I would like to acknowledge that this was my first birthday in London, being away from family and friends, and I didn’t know how to react to it. It’s such a mixed bag of emotions between homesickness and gratefulness. I honestly thought when you leave a country everyone will eventually forget about you, but the overflowing birthday messages and gifts from everyone (including my work) has made it so much more special. Goes to show distance doesn’t really matter for those who really care about you.
We flew out to Iceland the night before my birthday. I had checked the weather forecast to see what my chances were of seeing the northern lights, unfortunately it was forecast to rain the entire time we were there. I had zero chances of seeing the lights.
But something miraculous happened. I was given a window seat on the right side of the plane, and 15 mins before we were scheduled to land the captain called out over the intercom, ‘Now if you look out the window to your right, you’ll see the northern lights’.
I almost jumped out of my seat, flung my body right up against the window (sorry to the two people next to me who didn’t see a thing). At first it was a bit cloudy, but then our plane emerged above the clouds and I saw the most spectacular swirl of green light filling the night sky. I started to tear up and thought mother nature has given me the best birthday present ever! It was so close to midnight too! Best way to ring in my 29th year of existence.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any photos of the northern lights as there was too much glare on the window reflecting in.
After we landed, we took a taxi to our hotel which was 10mins away from the airport. Here’s a tip, don’t catch a cab in Iceland – like ever, that 10mins journey costed AU$40.
It wasn’t til we got to our hotel that they told us they also offer a free shuttle bus transfer service. Doh moment!
We decided to stay close to the airport because we had to pick up our rental car the next morning. Hiring a car in Iceland is the way to go, because there is no public transport in Iceland. The other option is booking yourself on a tour bus, which to be honest will cost you about the same if not more, plus with a car you can see a lot more. Make sure you read carefully all the insurance policy of your car before you sign your life away…
We spent my birthday at the beautiful blue lagoon. It was so warm! And very well organised! I just can’t believe this entire lagoon is completely natural. How great is Earth!
Equipped with a bar!
We then spent the remainder of the day in Reykjavik. Not my ideal place to shop as everything is expensive, but you’ll get to see some artistic graffiti, visit Harpa, and the Hallgrímskirkja. Also the Icelandic delicacies are whale and puffin. Neither of which are appealing to me.
Hallgrímskirkja, for 6 Euros you can go up to the viewing deck and see the entire city.
The next day we attempted to do the Golden circle but unfortunately two of the main roads were closed off due to snow/wet season, so we only had the chance to do half the circle. Guess this is another reason for me to return to Iceland during Summer…
Sunrise in Iceland starts at 8:30am, this picture was taken at 10am and it was still just as beautiful!
Endless roads, you might want to prepare a good road trip playlist.
Pingvellir National Park
Geysir, also known as the active hot springs, and if you wait there long enough you get to see a steamy eruption, pretty cool!
Then we started making our way up to Húsafell, to go to ‘Into the Glacier’ tour.
I was more excited seeing the snow on the mountains than the glacier.
Here we go…
They give you crampons for your shoes so you can walk in the slippery snow.
Quite impressive! You can pre book your tickets here.
The next day we set off to Vik.
With a few pitt stops along the way of course.
The famous volcano Eyjafjallajökull
Black Sand Beach in Vik
And my favourite day of all was finally reaching the Jokulsarlon Lagoon Glaciers! Totally worth the 2 hours drive from Vik. It’s quite a nice drive too! Make sure you stop and pet the Icelandic horses if you can!
I was absolutely speechless when I saw these Glaciers, it is such a spectacular sight! Another pinch worthy moment.
Got caught taking a selfie, can you blame me?!
I can now tick Iceland off my bucket list. So in love! I can’t get over how BIG Iceland is, for a country with a population of 300K, it was a lot bigger than I thought. We only covered about a quarter of the country in 5 days.
The trip was even more special because I got to do it with my bff.