We arrived in Reykjavik at 6 am and got through immigration & there non existent customs (very much like KL, they wave at you as you walk through), straight onto the Flybus that I had prebooked and to our hotel. I slept most of the way and then went to bed almost straight away, as I had been awake since 4 am the previous morning. I woke at about 1pm and realized that we had only a few short hours to see a little of Reykjavik as sunrise is at 10.30 am and sunset 4.30pm. So I woke Marty and we headed out. They first thing we saw was a massive mountain range over yonder so headed towards the waters edge to get a photo, actually we slid most of the way cause of all the ice. The weather seemed promising for the northern lights as the sky was clear, but 5 mins later it was overcast and snowing, oh well, maybe we won't see the lights. Then 5 mins later it is fine again, apparently this is normal for Iceland.
We got lost but downtown Reykjavik is so gorgeous, we didn't mind wandering the streets looking at the little homes and shops. We found a grocery store and tried to find something for dinner, but unlike the USA, they don't have foods that can be heated or takeaway things, and it just seemed too hard, so gave that a miss. We ended up having a beautiful Thai meal just down the road.
We went downstairs to meet the bus for the our trip to see the northern lights, we were booked with one company but they didn't turn up, so we joined another large tour company who were happy to have us (and our money). It's about an hours trip out and when we got there we didn't like the look of the weather, but within a bout half an hour the skies had cleared and they stayed that way for about another hour, but alas, no lights. It was however absolutely freezing, so after standing in the the elements for all that time, we made our way back to the bus. The tour company offered us another go at it the next night but we knew that we wouldn't be able to take up the offer as we had an early start the morning after.
We had only 5 hours sleep before the alarm woke us, we had breakfast at the hotels restaurant, very nice too, ham & cheese on toast with juice and coffee. We were picked up by the co owner of the tour company in a 4WD then collected another couple from another motel, and set off.
Here is a quick rundown of what we did :
The Golden Circle is for everyone, whether you are young or old. On this trip you can experience all the best that Iceland has to offer, everything between the mountains and the sea: glacial rivers, beautiful landscapes, wild scenery and two of our most famous places of course, Gullfoss and Geysir.
We go on a tour of history of our most loved place, Þingvellir where as a nation, we took our first steps on the way to independence. You find out how Iceland was born and how it is still growing geologically. We will also show you many other natural wonders such as the implosion crater Kerið and the waterfall at Faxi. You will see parliament fields where the nation created laws and behind it the drowning pool, where they drowned women for adultery and premarital sex. The men got a slap on the wrist.
I can't be disappointed that we didn't see the lights because we saw and learnt so much about this wonderful island that I feel like I haven't missed out at all. Our guide was a young mum and was very passionate about her country and it's history, she explained that they have a government department that maintains the icelandic language eg when something new is invented eg TV, they don't adopt the new English name but create a name for it in Icelandic.
She also recommended we try the whale steaks, and icelandic lamb, which is supposed to be the best in the world, so that night we found a steakhouse that specializes in whale steak and I ordered one, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised but whale is nothing like fish, it's just like beef, but a bit gamier and slightly tougher. I enjoyed it but probably wouldn't eat it again. Marty had the lamb which to be honest wasn't as good as ours or NZ lamb.