It’s been a busy but wonderful year! I’ve got my dream job in the Marketing & Admin department at Visit Cornwall, I’ve found my man (soon to be moving in together) and I recently turned 30 and went on the trip of a lifetime!
Iceland has always been on the bucket list and I thought my thirtieth was the perfect excuse to book it. We were only there for 4 nights but we managed to cram a lot in to our holiday. If you go, there are so many tours and activities to choose from, but here are my recommendations…
Hike up a glacier
Chris somehow managed to persuade me to put on a helmet, harness and spikes on my hiking boots and hike up a glacier! I have to admit I was absolutely terrified as I’m scared of heights, not to mention the partly frozen deep lake we were walking next to at the start. Once I got over my initial anxiety, I really enjoyed the walk and the views were incredible! It was fun walking in the spikes as we had to stomp about like giants, but landing in pools of icy water and getting my boots soaked was not so fun!
Relax in the Blue Lagoon
We were lucky enough to do this on our first full day and arrived at the Blue Lagoon in time to watch the beautiful sunrise. We shivered our way from the changing rooms to the lagoon, but as soon as we got into the water it was amazing; it was so warm and soothing. We spent nearly two hours floating around in the lagoon, taking lots of pictures on Chris’ waterproof camera and drinking Gull beer. We went into the steam room and tried the mud and algae masks – my face felt so soft after! It was truly a magical experience and we could have spent all day there, but we had lots of other adventures to fit in to a short space of time!
Try different foods
It was my 30th birthday the day we flew. We actually left Hayle at 2am to drive to Bristol airport for our 8.15am flight! On our first evening in Iceland, Chris booked a table in a restaurant called Apotek. We knew Iceland was going to be expensive but we thought we would go all out anyway! We chose the 7 course wine pairing menu and had the best food I think I have ever tasted, plus an amazing selection of wines to go alongside the courses.
I cannot even describe how delicious the food was! Other food highlights of our trip included trying the famous hot dog stand in Reykjavik, sampling the traditional Icelandic lamb stew, eating whale and horse steak and even having a go at eating fermented shark with Brennivin (Icelandic schnapps)! I would recommend it all for different reasons, but I have always been adventurous with my food and love trying new things.
Although there are lots of amazing tours taking place in Iceland, do make sure that you leave a day free to explore Reykjavik. When we went on the Golden Circle tour (below) and on the glacier hike etc. we had to catch the bus rather early, so it was nice to have one day to enjoy a bit of a lie-in. It was also nice to not have a plan for one day and to just do as we pleased. We did a lot of walking, drank a few Icelandic beers, took photographs of the sights and went to the top of Hallgrímskirkja church where we could see breathtaking views of the city. This is the day we tried the fermented shark, which is certainly an unusual taste! Luckily, at the same cafe (Loki) we were able to wash it down with a delicious hot chocolate and a love ball cake!
Iceland really is the land of ice and fire! There are so many beautiful sights to see but the Golden Circle tour enables you to see an amazing frozen waterfall, to walk in between two tectonic plates and to witness the wonder of the bubbling and erupting Geyser! We booked our tour through Gray Line and the tour guides were absolutely fantastic; I enjoyed learning about Icelandic history and culture just as much as seeing the incredible sights. There was a fair bit of travelling involved but you can see some of the best views from the coach window. I think if we had more time we may have hired a vehicle to explore ourselves. I would have liked to have travelled further north and I think Chris would have liked to have a go on a snowmobile as well!
Finally, book yourself onto a Northern lights tour. Be prepared though: there’s no guarantee you will see them and it will involve two long journeys and an hour or two of standing around in the freezing cold! We were lucky enough to see them, but only very faintly and were not able to get any good photographs. This is such a stunning country and I would love to go back one day and hopefully get a clearer view of the Northern lights!
Have you been to Iceland? Is there anything else you would recommend to other travellers? You can find my other Iceland pics on my Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/captaincornwall87