In January Ben & I packed up our warmest clothes & headed to Iceland to hunt down the Northern Lights! It was such an incredible experience. I would love to go back again sometime! We flew through Boston (more on that later!) then hopped on Icelandair where we got our first taste of the stunning country. The mood lighting in the cabin mimicked the Northern Lights! I sat there mesmerized for our short flight. Since our red eye flight brought us in earlier than our hotel was ready for us, I’d arranged a tour of Reykjavik first thing. Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, the world’s northern most capital city, & home to 80% of the country’s population. Our arrival was met by total darkness as we shuffled through the icy parking lot & loaded the bus. I have a hard time sleeping on flights & the combination of jet lag with such intense darkness made me more tired than I’ve ever been!
Our trip from the airport into the town of Reykjavik we passed several local hot spots including a former McDonald’s. It was the only one in the country but due to the high costs of shipping in the beef & the low interest from the Icelandic people in fast food, the McDonald’s closed down. It was taken over by a local restaurant that makes more affordable lamb burgers. I’d never been to a country so untouched by American fast food!
We also passed several indoor swim facilities. Thanks to the ever present natural hot springs & geothermal energy, Iceland has easy access to warm swimming water, making it the most popular sport in Iceland!
Our first stop was the Northern Lights museum where we got to learn all about both the mythology & the science behind the Northern Lights, & get assistance setting our cameras up in order to properly photograph the Northern Lights.
After being regaled with stories from every culture about how the Northern lights came to be, we loaded back onto our warm bus & kept on moving through town!
Long, dark nights seem to have inspired locals to add color wherever they can!
Local Icelandic treats were available in their cafe. The juice boxes were the cutest!
The chilly deck made for gorgeous views of the city!
Our final stop was at Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in the country. This beautiful Lutheran church boasts an enormous pipe organ & a view point at the top of the tower. It can be seen from all over the city!
The statue of explorer Leif Eriksson in front of the church was a gift from the United States.
Check back for next week’s Wanderlust Wednesday where I will be sharing about our experience horseback riding through the snow!