Back to the beginning – ICELAND!

Okay, so for this post I’m really going back in time! I visited Iceland 6 years ago!! I will definitely go back as it was such a beautiful place. When I was there it was in January- so absolutely freezing but did mean I got some great landscape shots and really experienced the country, from the perspective of its namesake! When I return, I’d love to go in summer, were the days are long and really explore by doing the island loop. For now though, let’s jump back in time… to my first solo trip, the place where I guess it all began for me and my arty travel journey!

Playing with fireworks after New Year

I arrived into Reykjavik on a lovely clear day and I remember how fresh the air was- cold, but fresh! I checked into where I was staying and met up with friends of mine who live there. I was so lucky to know people who lived there as they showed me all the cool places I might not have seen otherwise! We drove through the moon like landscape, stopping to take far too many photographs! It was, and still is, like nothing I’ve ever seen – it’s like an ocean of rolling waves, frozen in time.

The lunar landscapes of Iceland

On our outing I was taken to see one of many ‘fish drying’ outlets. We drove to what felt like the middle of nowhere and there it was! A wooden structure holding rows upon rows of fish, all drying in the fresh Icelandic air! It really was a cool sight to see and again, I spent ages, taking lots of photos!

The fish drying fields of Iceland

As well as spending time with my friends and their family I also did a lot of solo exploring. The country’s capital has a lot to offer in terms of street art, as well as contemporary art Galleries. I wandered along the nordic streets, taking in the clean air and brightly coloured street art. I made my way up to Hallgrimskirkja church which is architecturally stunning and like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Street Art in Reykjavik 

I visited the Art museum which had a great contemporary exhibition on, with an industrial feel to the space (unfortunately it was so long ago I can’t remember the artist!). It was a nice gallery and I’d thoroughly recommend paying a visit if you’re in town! For such a (relatively) small place there are a lot of small scale galleries and spaces to visit, alongside the larger more mainstream; Reykjavik Art Museum.

Exhibition at Reykjavik Art Museum

Whilst in town I decided to make the most of it and took part in a glacier tour which was incredible! Armed with crampons and a pick axe, our group made our way over the frozen expanse, it really was like adventuring into a magical world. Very serene.. I also visited the popular Skógafoss waterfall, which, as it was in the depths of winter, was partially frozen and simply jaw dropping! I was fully layered up but still absolutely freezing. It’s one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve visited but with the sub zero temperatures- it’s one to pay attention in! One day I spent just 10 minutes outside, and even though the only part of my face exposed to the elements was my nose and eyes, I had to retreat back indoors as it felt like I was being sandblasted, the blizzard was so strong and painful! -Respect the elements haha.

Image 1 – Glacier, Image 2 – Skógafoss waterfall

I was only there for 5 days but I managed to fit a lot in! It’s a trip that means a lot to me, as it set a pretty high precedent for future travel adventures! At the time I had no idea how much travel would become a part of my life so it’s really nice to think back to the trip that started it all!

Hallgrimskirkja church

Before I left, I knew I had to visit the famous Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately, the day I visited there was a bad blizzard (again!), so, after a slightly terrifying car ride to get there (you literally couldn’t see anything in front of you!). I arrived and made my way through. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t blown away… but maybe that would have been a different story if the weather was better and I’d been with others. I think because I’d also taken advantage of the local public swimming pool while there (which is also heated thermally, like the blue lagoon) I was actually more impressed with that than the lagoon, which in my experience was purely an expensive tourist trap. I much preferred the local experience (shared with friends!)

The famous “Blue Lagoon”

Last up during my visit was a visit to the Icelandic equivalent to McDonalds… where I sampled no. 10 on the menu, which at the time was sheep head, served with mashed potato and swede (all cold). It was an experience in itself, that’s for sure and i’m happy to have ticked that off but I don’t think i’ll be having it again! Another delicacy in Iceland is fermented shark. I was given some to try from the father of a friend and obviously didn’t have the stomach for it. I had the tiniest nibble but I just couldn’t… not for me!

Tasting the local grub!

This trip was incredible and it opened up a door that I didn’t know was there but now I have it open there’s no way I can, or want to, close it ❤️  

Another shot from Skógafoss waterfall

I would love love love to return to Iceland, and I will do someday- to drive and camp the loop, and hopefully get out and do some whale watching! My only disappointment with this trip was that I wasn’t lucky enough to see the Northern Lights! Maybe i’ll be luckier when I visit Norway, Sweden and Finland 😉

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