Between Christmas and New Year I spent 4 days in Iceland.
We saw some breath-taking sights, from climbing inside a glacier to the mesmerising Hraunfossar waterfall.
Here's a taste of our trip and some of my personal favourite shots, I'll do my best to list the places featured and share a few stories with you.
I cannot explain how excited we were to be woken up at 1am on our first night and told that the Northern Lights were dancing above us. Half asleep, we pulled our snow boots, ski coats and gloves over our pyjamas and – grabbing the camera and tripod on the way - legged it outside. It was -15ºC and my hands felt the cold sting as soon as I took my gloves off, but my gosh it was worth it.
Having travelled all that way, it was amazing that we saw the lights after only being there for less than 12 hours - some people come and never see them. It was a magical and amazing experience, but after half an hour of standing in the cold we were equally as happy to return to the warmth and comfort of our beds! One of our days was spent on an ‘Into the Glacier’ excursion to the tunnels and ice caves of Langjokull - we travelled up to the glacier in a converted missile launcher, watching the sun rise over the sheets of white ice.
How small do my brother and dad look next to these 4x4s?!
Once there, we descended into the 550m long tunnels, dug 40m below the surface of the glacier. You wouldn’t have thought it, but it was actually warmer inside the ice! In the darkness of the glacier we saw the ice in all its beauty and terror, from gorgeous blue tones to dark, endless chasms.
Hidden within the tunnels was a little ice cave-turned-chapel. The walls of this cave contained less oxygen due to the pressure of the ice, and the solid walls made for some pretty amazing acoustics.
The stunning blue colour is a result of larger ice crystals being formed under the weight of the glacier and a water pocket that rippled through the wall. We were told these pockets provided the most danger to those who dug the tunnels; if you happened to burst one, all you could do was run. Despite this scary anecdote, I couldn’t help thinking they were beautiful.
I promise I haven't edited the colours in these images - it was actually that blue!
We spent a day exploring Iceland in our rented Skodas, following the energetic guides of our mothers. Only 10 minutes away from Hotel Húsafell are the Hraunfossar waterfalls, a brilliant valley spilling beautifully blue water from dark, snowy rocks.
Can you spot the people in this one? (hint: top right corner)
The unique colour is a result of the meltwater off the glacier, causing the water to be pure and therefore more vibrant and vivid.
We were there just as the sun was rising (about 10 am) and got some stunning shots. However, as was becoming a trend on this holiday, we soon returned to the warmth of our cars before our fingers froze off.
After driving around all day, visiting geothermal pools and Icelandic ponies, we all needed some good food. Having only eaten the fine dining of the hotel since arriving, 'normal food was all we could think of. We finally arrived at the seaside village of Bogarnes and huddled inside a restaurant called 'The Settlement' which the mothers had found on Tripadvisor.
(the best burgers in the world)
The meal was followed by a quick trip to the museum downstairs, then we returned to the Skodas and drove back to Husafell – but not before some photos of the 4pm sunset!
We spent our final day in Reykjavik before flying back home to see the New Year in - what a trip.
Special shoutout and thank you to Maddie Day for helping to write this blog post.
Places mentioned: - Hotel Húsafell
- Into the Glacier
https://intotheglacier.is/ - Hraunfossar waterfalls - Settlement Centre (best burgers in the world)