I’ve always had a thing for nature which is why I ended up in Iceland. Yes, tickets were cheap (this is mainly how I decide my travels) but an island full of volcanoes and light-up sky in the night, was something I had to see. I became officially obsessed with the Northern Lights and I simply couldn’t wait to see them.
When I booked my IcelandAir ticket, I did it with a three day layover in Copenhagen first. You will come to realize I do this often: leave the best for last. (No offense to the happiest country in the world, but Denmark is a whole different vibe). So after Denmark, I headed to Iceland.
As soon as I landed, and gone through customs and out the baggage claim, I encountered a grocery store. Yes people, inside the airport! This is when I knew I really must be in the middle of fucking nowhere! Where else do you have a full-on grocery store inside an airport? Well, in Iceland! It’s kinda like, get food here or else you might not find food in God knows how long! I didn’t go in since I was heading straight to Reykavik.
After riding the bus and finally making it to “the city” (about an hour drive) I decided to hit the town with a free walking tour. I suggest you do this, not just in Iceland, but if available, anywhere you find one. It is much different to see a city walking it than it is in a car or bus. It’s also a great way to meet other travelers, specially if you are traveling solo like I was.
Reykaviks’ Opera House
Once we started walking around I immediately felt safe. Later on I received confirmation that I was not hallucinating. There’s basically no crime in Iceland. I found it funny how the tour guide explained how women from other countries liked going out at night with the shortest skirts available, knowingly how safe they were. I did not do this since I was too busy wearing four layers of pants to make it through the cold rainy day.
So one might ask me, how was my stay in this northern island? Pure bliss. Pure tranquility! Reykavik is this little town in the middle of nowhere where prices have a battle with those in New York City, but the calm and serenity of it make it worthwhile paying for. I vividly remember spending $16 for a postcard, a small Iceland flag, and a pin. Prices aside though, you receive nothing but love from their streets and people.
The scenery Iceland provides you with is the kind that makes you really wonder “where” you are. I kept thinking, this is definitely what heaven must be like when you die.
Miles upon miles of volcanic roads accompanying you throughout the journey. Volcanoes that dissipate through the clouds.
Waterfalls that alert you how huge nature is, and how small us human beings are.
Glaciers one step away, and a black sand beach where the modern world meets the always classy black and white backdrop.
Don’t ask me.. I don’t know.. 😕
Elves stories that up until this I day, I still don’t understand. May I say, WTF Iceland?
Two continents at once, and hot springs with this “crazy blue” water that relaxes the shit out of you!
Needless to say, I was in love! It hadn’t been 24 hours from my arrival when I knew I had to return to this majestic land. Three days is definitely not enough time for this gem.
But like I mentioned before, it was ridiculously cold and rainy, and therefore cloudy when I landed in Iceland. I kept telling myself this “weather issue” shouldn’t be a problem between my obsession of the northern lights and its spectacular view.
Fool I was! Icelands’ weather is a whole different mambo, not one to mess with and much less doubt its power. So for three consecutive nights, my Northern Lights tour kept getting cancelled! I was beyond frustrated. I had come all this way to see those “damn lights” and they were hiding from me!
You have to understand my frustration. I had just finished my Australia trip where I had gone to Tasmania and had searched non-stop for four straight days the Aurora Australis. (more on that another day). So coming to Iceland and missing the Aurora Borealis was not the best news I could possibly be receiving.
And then, during my last night in Iceland I got the news I had been waiting for; the tour was on! I think I cried out of excitement. I was finally going to see what I had been searching for all along!
Off to the tour bus I went. Three pants, two shirts, a heavy coat, gloves, beanie and boots on. GoPro, iPhone and camera ready. It was on!
However, of course, God was not ready to clear the skies for me. It didn’t matter how long we stood in that freezing cold, or how hard I stared at the nearby church praying for a little visibility, those clouds where not going anywhere.
We sipped hot cocoa at a “nearby” cafe while we waited. I say “nearby” because nothing in Iceland is nearby. Either it is around the corner or a twenty minute to hours of a drive away. The wait was useless and back to Reykavik we went.
The next morning as I got ready to head to the airport, the clouds were still in the sky. They haunted me all the way back to the airport. That was, until I started to board my plane. Then, of course, magic occurred! The sky cleared!
You can imagine my “happiness”. I guess this is Gods way to making sure I visit Iceland again.
So off I went, onto another plane and back to New York City, where its concrete jungle light up the sky, and some even say, the world.
Til’ next time Iceland!