When I finally made it to the place on top of my Bucket List: Iceland

Going to Iceland had been on my wish list for years. I was enticed by the otherworldly landscapes, the rich cultural output, and, of course, the Northern Lights. It had always been one of those out-of-this-world destinations where adventure is found around every corner. And that’s when I realized that I couldn’t spend any more days away from this adventure. I decided the time was finally right. 

When I first starting searching about the things to see in Iceland, I was so overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to see in this country. My list of places, list of adventures in Iceland was not built overnight but over the years. The more I discovered about this wonderful country, everyday little new nuances kept on creeping onto my list. And yes to cover them all in 10 days was definitely going to be the most amazing 10 days of my travels so far. I realized that although this volcanic island is small, there is so much natural beauty packed in that you could spend a lifetime exploring its nooks and crevices without seeing it all. 

Years and months of planning this epic trip

All the waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers and beaches looked incredible and I wanted to see as much as possible when in this country. But for starters, the names of all the attractions were seriously faltering me up and making it even more difficult to plan. Icelandic is one crazy language. (how can one fit so many constants next to each other in a single word.)

I wonder if I made a list of places or several spelling errors

After compiling my years of saved information from many different places and spending hours spelling things and places wrong in the Google search bar, I was finally all set to explore the Land of Fire and Ice.

First views of the glaciers in Iceland

Having set foot in the capital city of Reykjavik my heart was already pounding with excitement. With temperatures dropping by drastically as you neared the destination, I chose Reykjavik as the base to explore this Volcanic Island.  

Arriving at Reykjavik in wee hours

Of all the nights booked in Iceland I had booked my Northern light experience on the very first night to make sure I could catch glimpses of this every night possible. I was following the Aurora forecast months in advance and exactly knew which dates were most viable to make a trip to Iceland. And being so very lucky on the very first night with clear skies it was the perfect start to this trip. 

Heading to the outskirts of the city in search of darker skies away from the city lights, I was lucky to have a geo- storm night on this very day with high KP index. Yes weather plays a big role and making your Northern Light night. 

Here’s my very first glimpse at the Aurora Borealis and we were lucky enough to catch this was shot on Iphone with the Northern light app.

They say to see magic you need to wait for the moment and yes waiting for this moment in sub zero degree was definitely a moment worth it. We witnessed our first aurora show dancing all night bright and beautiful, sometimes green and then purple all the way. It was like watching magic happen right there above us in the sky. The kind of magic I would want to witness every night.

I must say once you have seen the Aurora Borealis you can never get enough. There is this yearning to seeing it again and again. And yes we were lucky to see them again the next night, colour the sky not only in green but shades of green and then suddenly purple in a moment.

Too see the auroras in a geomagnetic storm is like watching someone paint the night sky in colors and bring it to life. During this beautiful symphony of lights nothing seems to matter, the cold gusty winds, sub zero temperatures or even the blinding night. All that matters is the those dancing right above you.

Shot on camera with ISO 1600, Aperture = f-stop. f-2.8. Shutter speed. 20 sec. 
The camera setting guide I followed to capture the Northern Lights

A night I din’t want to end, but the eagerness of witness other marvelous sights was what I looked forward too as well.

Waking up bursting of excitement, today I decided to explore the city of Reykjavik. Walking around the city center the lanes and corners added to my amusement. 

Exploring the Icelandic city

Been here just for a day I wondered what do the locals do in an extremely cold and windy country to keep themselves warm. And the answer was right there hidden in the city center. I found their natural hacks!

The Icelanders make good use of their waste heat by diverging them through these pipes at all public places!  They are installed throughout the city corners to keep the locals warm all year round. 

Graffiti paintings on houses all along the street
Then there are colorful ones too

With graffiti painting and houses carved with colorful sights, this city had its own culture.

At times I wondered what exploring the world’s northernmost capital would feel like? With nearly two-thirds of the country’s population living in the capital area; that’s only around 123,000 people in Reykjavik, there’s nothing that gives this city less of a culture or tradition.

First views of the church

One just sight, which made me completely believe in it, was the Hallgrímskirkja Church

Hallgrímskirkja Church

This magnanimous structure that stands as the tallest building in Iceland took 45 years to build. It was build to resemble the trap rock formations, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape. This is most noticeable in the wings and the steeple of the church which were inspired by the famous cliffs of basalt columns found along the south coast of Iceland.

Cant get enough of the view of this beautiful church

Walking by the Islands shore towards the city center Solfar is another tribute you will notice. 

The city shores itself will leave you awestruck

Solfar, or the Sun Voyager, is a unique modern sculpture located by the Reykjavik seaside with a great view of Mount Esja.

Sun Voyager

The vision for this piece of art is to convey the promise of the undiscovered territory, the Sun Voyager symbolizing the dreamboat that goes into the unknown, for the promise of hope and freedom.

Exploring the city center much further you are bound to stumble upon the glittering Harpa center.

Harpa Center

This outstanding architecture with the glass facade seeks inspiration from Icelandic nature. They say the artist who constructed this building was of the idea to move the famous basalt blocks which are found in several places in Icelandic nature closer to the citizens. 

The light which comes on during Iceland’s dark winter months is projected onto the building’s façade creating a magical light show reminiscent of the northern lights. Even during the summers with the sun in full glory, Harpa radiates in beautiful light and colours reflected in the sky at different times of year when the weather changes.

After all the expeditions in the Reykjavik center nothing more soothing than dipping in the so very warm Blue Lagoon the next day.  

Arriving at the Blue Lagoon
Before taking a dip in the geo thermal lagoon

This was another must do on my list since I arrived in Iceland.  Listed among the 25 wonders of the world the 6 million litres of geothermal seawater comes from 6,500 feet/1981 metres below the surface.

Among 25 Wonders of the world

The moment I set my foot on this geo thermal spot, you could feel the warmth in the air even with freezing temperatures outside. 

The smoky Blue Lagoon

Soaking away in the Blue Lagoon I grasped the Lagoons distinctive blue colour owes to the way the silica reflects sunlight although the colour of the water is milky white! The temperatures were so warm inside the lagoon that you surely dint want to step out anymore.

Trying to stay warm the Icelandic way in zero degree temperatures

The temperatures of the milky water hover between 37 and 39°C all year round. It basically feels like you’re taking the bath of your life in a giant hot bathtub with 0° C temperatures outside! To make the experience even more exciting they give you different mud packs to apply only making your skin more radiant at the end of the dip.

Silica Mask mode on

This was just my encounter with the Iceland’s City life that had already left me awestruck. And there was still so much more to see and explore. 

Living the Icelandic Life

Iceland is the dream destination of pretty much every traveller and it was only now I had started to say that I totally understand why.

Cannot Miss: 

  • Witnessing the Northern Lights
  • Exploring the Reykjavik city on foot
  • A dip in the Blue Lagoon
  • Bringing your warmest jackets, clothes everything you can
GlobeTrotting365Days: ICELAND March 1st 2019.

Author: globetrotting365days

Dreaming and living the wanderlust life at my early 20's, I have always thrived on my long bucket list. Yes a list that counts up to more than 75 odd countries, I have been lucky enough to witness the magic of 20 awe-inspiring countries already and it still keeps me yearning for more.

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