See the Northern Lights: DONE!

Posted on Posted in 30 by 30

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We did it. We saw the Northern Lights! We took an amazing trip to Iceland in February – a place neither of us had any connection to but had always wanted to visit. It was amazing. My photos don’t do it justice; it has to be seen.

In the run up to our trip, I’d been hawk-eyed watching the Aurora Webcam which looks at the Imagine Peace Tower, so it was pretty mental to actual wander around the city, and walk to the place where the webcam is positioned! I was also constantly checking the aurora forecasts obviously: here, and here.

We had been hoping to see them on our planned Northern Lights boat tour, and spent the first three nights having an epic time at Sonar Festival. HOWEVER, on night two of Sonar, while we were taking a breather between bands, we noticed a bunch of people running along the harbor (right outside Harpa, the venue for the festival) and we both shouted ‘Northern Lights!’ and jumped up and ran after them. When we got outside, everyone was Oooh-ing and Aaah-ing and I tried to snap some pictures with my long-suffering point and shoot:

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It was really, really awe-inspiring though and photos don’t do it justice. It only lasted about 20 minutes or so in this instance, but was so vivid and magical, even with the lights from the harbor well in view. We were so lucky to see them here.

The next night we had a tough call as to whether we should go to night 3 of the festival or try to get our boat tour in early, but we went to the festival in the end. Still not sure if this was the best choice as on the boat tour the next night, they kept saying it was the absolute most amazing show the night before. But the boat tour was lots of fun, and the aurora came out for us early on, so we were not disappointed!:

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It was the most crystal clear night out, and really just lovely and relaxing to sit above deck with my best friend looking up at constellations (in our very warm neon one-piece outfits).

Aside from seeing the amazing Northern Lights, and going to 3-day Sonar music festival, our trip to Iceland was pretty awesome.

We ate lots:
– Cafe Loki Icelandic food (including yummy rye ice cream!)
– Kaffitar coffee & cakes at The Pearl
– Skyr (icelandic yogurt/cheese stuff in SO MANY FLAVORS, we ate this everyday)
– Ice cream! (at Valdis ice cream shop and a massive crepe sundae at Eldur & Is, where we met a Scottish girl server!)
Baejarins bestu – most famous hot dog stand ever
Loveballs! (I will definitely be making these..)
Vegamot restaurant on our last night.. our only proper restaurant meal I think!
– Chocolates! (I bought a selection of Icelandic chocolates and sampled THEM ALL. It seems they’re big into chocolate & black licorice combos).

Saw lots of neat things:
– The Pearl
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach – closed actually for winter!
– Sun voyager sculpture
Golden Circle tour (Gulfoss, Geysirs, Þingvellir national park, with a green energy stop off at Hellisheiði geothermal energy plant. AMAZING!!)
– Pet Icelandic horses!
– Kolaportið Flea Market
– Swam at Laugardalslaug, the local geothermal pools & walked to the zoo but it was shut.
– Hveragerði & river hike
– And of course walking the length and breadth of Reykjavik to do all because it’s nice to be outside and wandering (when one spends all one’s working hours inside at a desk).

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If I could go back again, I’d go back in the spring, hire a car and drive around the ring road stopping off at geothermal hot springs along the way. I’ll also do a whale-watching tour, and perhaps if I’m fit enough, the 4-day walk through Laugarvegar(sp?). But for a 5-night trip, I’m pretty pleased with how much we squeezed in!

Essentially, I saw this and wanted to see it all in person:

And I did!

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