How ruddy excited I was; sat on a plane with Mum, having bumped into a friend from uni, full of anticipation for the weekend ahead.
The celebrations started in style, boozing it up on the plane to Reykjavik. Discovering a love for blueberry liquor topped with Prosecco, I had two of these delightful cocktails along with the free snacks from the cabin crew to celebrate my birth. I don’t often feel spoiled or special, and so it was rather adorable that the steward who served me made that extra effort.
Prosecco on ice for two please ✌🏽
(Also I bought a bottle of the blueberry liquor, so if anyone is up for cocktails, holla at me)
Upon arriving in Iceland’s capital, the cool air hit us like a wave. The wind, twirling the rain around us, gave us a taster of what was to come. Welcome to Iceland, Ayla!
The whole process of having our passports stamped, waiting for our luggage and then finally getting to the hotel took longer and zapped more energy out of us than we had anticipated. I had expected to spend the entire afternoon exploring the city, and it didn’t really happen. Nevertheless, we fuelled ourselves on caffeine (I was a bit tipsy after all) and out we went for a bite to eat.
Hearing about Reykjavik’s hot dogs, I treated to some as a pre-dinner snack. These hot dogs – served with bacon, fried onion, chopped raw onion and spicy mayonnaise – were over £9 each! They were delicious, no doubt about it, but £9 for a hot dog!!! Oh my days. I definitely made an inappropriate joke about being stuffed by a sausage. This is me after all.
Good job I was stuffed from the sausage, because for dinner we queued for about 45 minutes at a fish restaurant called The Sea Baron. It was a delightful dinner – we ended up sitting next to a Greek mother-daughter duo from Boston, so we shared stories and they gave me tips on what to do when I visit later on in April.
For food, we started off with lobster soup. It was so delicious. I could quite easily eat that every day. For our main, Mum and I shared a skewer of grilled blue ling fish. It was so delicate and light on our palette. Nom!! We also had a sample of mink whale, I’d never seen whale on a menu before and it seemed quite common place in Iceland, so I gave it a try. It was delicious; I was expecting to hate it, yet it melted in my mouth.
I also judge myself massively for even trying whale. Upon having dinner and when I got back to the hotel, I Googled how Iceland manage sustainable whale farming/fishing. And the truth is, they don’t. My moral code was and still is disappointed, especially as it tasted so good!
Before we got back to the hotel, which was about 15 minutes walk, we got ABSOLUTELY drenched. The rain and wind batted against us, blowing us back in the direction we were walking from. I was drenched to the bone and struggled to warm up after a hot shower. To make matters worse, the wind howled and rattled the window panes all night long so basically I got less sleep than normal. I woke up on my birthday rather tired; nevertheless still excited and enthusiastic for the day ahead. And my presents to open! HAPPY 30th TO ME!
I went all out on my birthday breakfast. Three waffles layered with nutella, honey and sliced banana (carb overload), and rye bread topped with a tuna, egg and skyr mix. Sounds gross – it wasn’t!
We got picked up and taken to the Blue Lagoon bright and early. The outside scenery was breathtaking, and it was the landscape I had been looking forward to seeing. Rather than grey and dark skies from the rain, it was black and bright blue; such contrasting yet beautiful colours that utterly mesmerised me.
Inside, we dressed in our robes and Blue Lagoon branded flip flops (the latter which I totally brought back with us) and headed to the showers. We had been warned that the water totally ruins one’s hair, so I smothered my hair in conditioner. It wasn’t a good luck, but at the end of the day, I’m not one to be obsessed with how I look and vanity.
Walking in was a bit unbearable. Being in a bikini, even with my extra body fat from Christmas, it was absolutely freezing. The type of cold you mildly scream aloud at and say “ooo ahhhh ooo.” As pictured in this facial expression:
I also covered my face in a mask… I am 30 now you know. Time to start worrying about wrinkles 😉
Mum treated me to a massage by Hans. He was utterly beautiful and hunky. I try to not judge a book by its cover, but I certainly wasn’t complaining about my hands having to rest against his abs, or his biceps. Hey, it was my birthday and Hans looked like Thor.
The massage was quite special, and not just because of Hans. The massage takes place actually in the Lagoon, floating on the water. One lies on a yoga mat wrapped up in a towel. And I just floated. It was so surreal, yet incredibly relaxing.
I also enjoyed some booze in the Lagoon. Again, it was my birthday!
We finished off our visit to the Blue Lagoon with an absolutely incredible fish and prosecco lunch. I have hundreds of photographs. Too many for this blog!
We spent the evening wandering around Reykjavik and it wasn’t raining – hurrah! I got to show off my delightful new hat, which I think looks super cute on me. Aaaaand it’s purple! I bought matching mittens too.
Dinner again was an amazing fish supper, served with coriander and skyr dip (which was too tasty for words). Followed by a trip to see the Northern Lights. It was a FAILURE. Nothing depressed me more than sitting on a coach, freezing cold, waiting for the clouds to jog on. Poor mum and I were so tired and exhausted. We saw nothing, apart from The Plough. After seeing The Milky Way in Australia, unfortunately a few stars didn’t impress me much… cue Shania Twain.
Four hours sleep later, it was time for our Golden Circle tour! Hurrah again! This day filled me with so much joy and feelings of content. The Blue Lagoon was a taster of Iceland; the Golden Circle just topped it all off. I was captivated by the scenery, leaning over mum on the coach to snap a photo as we zoomed past the countryside.
I look back at these photos now, and I can feel my heart crushing with the memories of how beautiful it was. It was 9-something AM, and I had already decided I need to come back. Iceland not raining is something else completely. So if anyone is up for a road trip around Iceland for a few weeks one summer, also holla at me. It’s going to happen, whether I do it solo or with someone! I am forever alone, so likely to be the former. That’s okay 🙂
A short journey out of Reykjavik, we went to some giant green houses where tomatoes were grown, fed on the water from the glaciers. The plants were taller than me, as you can see below. And yes, my thermal socks are over my skinny jeans. I looked friggin’ awesome.
It started to rain a bit, which was a shame. Especially as our next stop was outdoors visiting THE geysir. We stood in the rain for 10 minutes waiting for the water to blast into the air. It was an anti-climax to say the least. I did get a photo on my GoPro, and with some Instagram editing, you can just about make it out from the dreary sky.
I basically said to mum, I am standing in the rain watching a giant puddle. Life.
I got rather wet, but that was nothing compared to what was coming. Despite the sun shining when we arrived at the Gullfoss Waterfall, the heavens absolutely burst open. If you can’t tell from the second photo below – my coat is rather drenched. The rain hit my face as if I was being stabbed my thousands of cold, sharp needles. The rain hurt, but my excitement and enthusiasm of exploring Gullfoss made up for it. I made life long memories.
Having a spare change of clothes with me was the best idea I had that day. I was still shivering from frozen thighs despite the dry clothes, and unfortunately the weather did made me quite poorly in the two weeks post holiday!
Luckily we had one last bit of sight-seeing in the glorious Icelandic sunshine. The grey clouds were passing over us, and not a rain drop in sight, whilst we went on a small hike through the Thingvellir National Park.
Perhaps most interesting about the national park, other than the fact I am walking in the shoes of some of the Game of Thrones cast, is that the first ever parliament in the world took place here, back in the day of 930 AD. It’s also set between two tectonic plates. Taken from Wikipedia, “The park lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian.” HOW AMAZING!
We finished the day with some fermented shark. It was repulsive and burnt my sinuses.
And that was the end of our trip. It was fantastic, and comical in other ways. We had a weekend of bitterly cold rain, and everyone at home were sunning themselves.
One more topic to share with you. The street art around Reykjavik was so cool. Much to Mum’s annoyance, I stopped every five minutes to snap some photos.
Until the next trip!