It’s 2AM and I am sitting on the window sill staring up at the stars, crossing my fingers and hoping to see a glimmer of green in the pitch black of the night. It’s why I am here. It’s why my family and I drove out into the middle of nowhere to camp out in a house with lots of windows. I don’t know if it is Mother Nature, or Odin himself that is suffering from stage fright, but i wish they’d get these Northern Lights up and running. I’ve been here for nearly a week, and while I haven’t seen the dancing colours of the night sky, I have concluded that Iceland might be one of the most dreamy places on earth.
Iceland is a land of beautiful contradictions. Where the fire of lava meets the cold of ice. A place that is both archaic and ahead of the trend. A battlefield where unpredictable weather makes it seem like every season has passed in the course of a minute. A mysterious world where trolls, giants and elves exist. Home to a landscape that has inspired the imagery of Game of Thrones and the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Iceland to me had always seemed like a place that is both breathtaking and inaccessible. Perched on the edge of the Arctic ring, I assumed that the environment would be too extreme for me. However, my overwhelming desire to witness the Aurora Borialis spurred me on to include Iceland in my itinerary. I even manage to inspire my sister and mother to come along for the ride. We decided to give ourselves just over a week to drive ourselves around Southern Iceland in our hunt for the Aurora Borealis.
Instead, what we found was ice....so much ice, and snow. It’s icy cold, extremely windy and snowy. It is also absolutely gorgeous. I guess it makes sense Iceland was named Iceland, because it is most definitely full of the stuff.
Despite the extremely cold weather conditions, the warmth and kind hospitality of the Icelandic people tamed the icy chill and added to our wonderful experience. The host of our Airbnb even arranged for a snow plow to come and rescue us from our rural retreat after a night of heavy snow. Even in the more populated capital, Reykjavik, the locals are welcoming and eager to help you out. I don’t know if it is because Iceland has such a small population, or if it is because I arrived here from London, but the rhythm and pace of Iceland was calm. You feel as though you can really exhale.
That is until you gasp in awe at the scenery. From the settling snow of the black sand beach of Vik, to the milky torquoise volcanic lakes of Pingvellir. I was captivated at every turn. Driving the stretch of road between all of the official sites of the Golden Circle you will find yourself drooling over the scenery.
If you have the good fortune to travel these road during sunrise, you will also have the best seat in the house to a spectacular show of light. Like a teenager getting out of bed in the morning, the sun peaks out between the night blue sheets of the dawn sky, beaming across the horizon. The light illuminates the snow and sky simultaneously and like and explosion of colour, the day begins.
While our time here is coming to a end, and our hunt for the Aurora Borealis looks to have not come to fruition, I can confidently say that our Icelandic adventure was still full of beauty and awe. I will return here to continue my hunt for the dancing lights of the night another time.