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Iceland, Reykjavik, Travels, Vik

My Christmas in Iceland

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-001For Christmas I once bought myself something I’d truly wanted for a long time. It was a ticket to Iceland. Running on no sleep, I started my week at geothermal spa the Blue Lagoon. While the temperatures were below freezing outside, it was forty degrees celsius in the water. I floated around as the sun rose and the incredible landscape emerged from the darkness around me.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-002A trip along the South Coast showed me just how constant the changes in the Icelandic landscape are. Sometimes it looks like another planet. The incredible thing is the lack of trees which means you can see forever in every direction. Without obstacles, the wind is relentless and if you stand still it’s possible to be pushed across the never-ending ice.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-003 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-004 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-005 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-006 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-007 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-008When there are only four hours of daylight, the most beautiful thing is that you get to see both the sunrise and sunset every single day. We spent the magic hour on the black sand beach in Vik, where we watched the sun disappear into the ocean while listening to stories about elves, trolls and invisible people.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-009 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-010 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-011 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-012 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-013 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-014In the morning we watched the sun rise over the glacier lagoon at Jökulsárlón. Icebergs break from the glacier and make the long journey to drift out into the ocean, only to be washed back up onto the black sand shore. The colors and light were breathtaking, it was like walking amongst hundreds of giant gemstones.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-015 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-016 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-017 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-018 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-019 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-020 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-021The last moments of precious light were spent hiking on Vatnajökull the largest glacier in the country. Wearing crampons for the first time, I cautiously walked across this incredible mass of ice – in fear of disappearing forever. I was amazed at just how far you can see the layers frozen beneath you.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-022 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-023Back in Reykjavik, I ate my way around the city. The Deal of the Century at Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar. Lobster Soup at Sægreifinn. Lattes at Laundromat. Chicken at Sæmundur í Sparifötunum. Waffles at Kaffi Mokka‎. Súkkulaðimús at Steikhúsið. And last but not least; whale, puffin and lobster at Grillmarkaðurinn.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-024 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-025 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-026 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-027After three unsuccessful outings I was lucky enough to see the elusive Northern Lights that had been hiding from me all this time. We saw the glow of Reykjavik, the Peace Tower and the aurora borealis moving right before our eyes. While it wasn’t the glowing mass I had expected, it was magical and special nonetheless.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-028A day of riding beautiful Icelandic horses was then followed by a trip around the Golden Circle to explore Gullfoss, Geysir and Þingvellir National Park. Giant waterfalls, spouting hot springs and a rift valley where tectonic plates collide. Nowhere else can you walk between Europe and America.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-029ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-031 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-032 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-033ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-030The final evening of the year was spent with new friends exploring old Icelandic traditions. We visited one of the many bonfires lit across the city before heading to Hallgrímskirkja, an iconic church for midnight. I have never seen so many fireworks in all my life. Reykjavik sure knows how to bring in a new year. My resolution is to make sure I return.

ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-034 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-035 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-036 ashleigh-leech-someform-iceland-037Taken December 2013. Originally published on Exposure

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ana November 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    amazing! I must go there! And what a fab idea to go there for Christmas and NY!

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