travel

Flashback Friday – Reykjavik, Iceland

 

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A few years ago, I had a strong desire to see the Northern Lights, so some research and a trip was booked! We booked Iceland for four nights in mid November.

I don’t normally book package type holidays, but I ended up booking the tours with the flight. I used Wowair,and the process was so easy, and we got a really good price. Hotel was through trusty old Booking.com.

Reykjavik is not cheap which we found out whilst there! Unfortunately I don’t have many photos for this blog post, as they are all stored elsewhere.

Anyway, whilst we was there – we completed three tours, visited the Blue Lagoon and explored Reykjavik on foot.

Two of our tours were unsuccessful! One was the Northern Lights chasing one – there was the tiniest glimmer, but not enough for me to say confidently I had seen them! It was still an experience, being driven miles and miles to where there is no light pollution, and standing in the middle of a road, on a hill looking up at the sky in Iceland!

The other tour was a whale watching one – two hours on a boat in very bad weather! As we got on the boat, the captain was offering everyone another date to come back (we couldn’t as only a short stay), or a sea sickness tablet! We didn’t take the tablet, as neither of us suffer from motion sickness. It was a very rough two hours with not a whale in sight!

The tour that was amazing was The Golden Circle tour, its a long day, over six hours – but you get driven around in a coach to see a lot of natural beauty sites. Such as Strokkur geyser, Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, (where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year.), so you see actual craters in the ground!, you also visit a greenhouse where they grow tomatoes. Everyone else had hot tomato soup, my fiancé and I had a bloody mary! During this tour, there is a stop for lunch, but it is not included in the price, same as the tomato drinks.

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As I mentioned, the Blue Lagoon was amazing – its a must do if you visit Iceland. Such a surreal experience, in a pool which is lovely and warm, but its freezing out and you can mountains and snow! There is Silica Mud all round the outside, so you can even give yourself a facial! In all honesty, I wish we had stayed here longer but we had to rush back for the Northern Lights tour!

So the only disappointing thing about the trip, was the lack of Northern Lights – which is all weather based, and never guaranteed wherever you go! And as you now know, I saw them a few years later in Norway.

Iceland was one of those places I didn’t think I would ever go to, and definitely wasn’t on my list! I was really surprised but how pretty and scenic it all was. Even some of the houses were so cute! I would recommend Iceland, and suggest you put on your travel plans for the future!

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Flashback Friday – Tromso, Norway

I’ve decided to do a quick summary of recent trips in last few years to catch people up on my travels!

I’m going to start with Tromso in Norway. We decided to go here as after an unsuccessful sighting of the Northern Lights in Iceland, I read that Tromso was more likely to see them. Again everything is weather dependent, but I at least wanted to try – and I got to tick another country off!

We stayed four nights in Tromso, and crammed in 5 different tours! I had booked a private Northern Lihts hunting tour, just for my fiancé and I. I actually booked the guy that was on the TV show with Joanna Lumley, he was such a cool guy and has done so much in his life! we left the hotel at 7pm, and didn’t get back til gone 2am. We drove and drove – we saw a tiny glimmer all night but otherwise it just wasn’t the night. I was bitterly disappointed! But what an adventurous night!

Another tour was Husky Dog Sledding! This was at the Tromso Villmarkssenter. Was the usual pick up and drop off with the bus, and dinner included.

They was Siberian huskies, and we met over 50 dogs! All so friendly. So I chose to be the lazy one, and sit in the sledge whilst my partner did the hard work – and I’m glad I did, he said he was exhausting! But there we was out in the middle of the Artic Circle countryside at night, with 5 huskies pulling us! Was crazy, there are some experiences in life you don’t expect to do!

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Another tour the next morning was reindeer feeding and learning about the traditional Sami culture. This one started really early, so was in a huge field feeding hungry reindeer as the sun was coming up! You was given buckets of food, and told to hold out arms length. They were a little scarier than I was expecting, as the antlers are so long and tough and they all butted to get to the food! After you could choose to go ride a quick sleigh ride, and have an attempt at lassoing (not an animal, just a practice target!). Then we had traditional food, and learnt about the culture, with a fire going.

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We spoke to another English couple whilst there, and they was saying about their Northern Lights tour, and how good it was! At this point, I had decided to book one whilst we was there and try our chances again!

We booked one for that night, a group bus tour one – with Tromso Safari. And SO glad we did! It was amazing, we drove for about an hour further and further away from the towns and light pollution. We were technically crossing loads of little islands. We even saw a glimmer of the lights from the bus – our guide said this was a very good sign! Our guide was Spanish, and had been living in Norway for just over a year, he loved his job – he was the guide / photographer and he was so excitable.

Finally we got to our destaination, a little island owned by a family for geneartions. There was a small building in which there was unlimited tea, coffee and hot chocolate for us all, and to just generally get out the cold!

I don’t quite know where we was, but it was so dark out, with small hills/mountains all around – I genuinely felt like we was on the edge of the earth! But it was a very good night – we saw the NORTHERN LIGHTS!! They are not as bright as they appear in photos, the camera actually amplifies them, but we saw them! They lasted hours, and they was continually changing, there was different colours, it was magical and its definitely a bucket list item! The guide (who took the below photo) said they was the best of the month!

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We also managed to squeeze in one more tour of the morning we left. We always love to go visit breweries, winery’s, distilleries etc. So we visited the most northern brewery in the world! Mack beer. It was more of a micro brewery and the tour was only an hour. We tried a few samples, and they also explained they play different music to each batch. Someone had also painted on each of their beer tanks!

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In between tours, we wondered the high street, walked down to the front where some bots were, went to a museum about Norweigian history and I tried some traditional Skolebrod (schoolbread – Epcot fans, you know what this is!).

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All in all, I loved Tromso, it was very scenic and if you ever have a chance to see the Northern Lights – grab it with both hands!!

 

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First blog post!

So… here goes. I have read and wandered nosily around other peoples blogs for a while now. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to start my own.

The older I have got, the more I have enjoyed holidays and travelling. Nothing makes me happier than looking, planning and booking a holiday. I think Wanderlust is one of my favourite words, and I love the meaning. So my basis will be that, plus days out on the weekends, reviews and anything that takes my fancy!

One of my favourite places in the world is Walt Disney World, I know it sounds like a cliché… but it is true! I have been visiting since I was 9 years old, I’m now 31! I have a lot of happy memories there, including my surprise proposal in front of Cinderella’s Castle last May!

I have had some amazing holidays over the last few years including Norway to see the Northern Lights, Bruge, Iceland and a Disney Cruise. Maybe I will do individual blogs for each trip.

For now, this is the beginning – and I have a Walt Disney World trip coming up on the horizon!

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