Do you know those places you wish to see with all your heart?
That pictures are enough to make your wrists shake?
Have you seen them, those which have always been on your bucket list?
We have plenty of them – perhaps even more that can be visited in a lifetime – but one of these finally stops being just an idea and it becomes as real as the bitter cold that distinguishes it: Iceland.
It still looks like a mirage despite we have the plane tickets for months now.
We have fantasizied so much about this place that even now, with the departure so close, we do not know if to believe to all of this.
That’s how we ended up making a list of things to do and to be prepared before visiting Iceland, the land of ice and fire.
Regardless where we go for us it is essential to have booked a place to stay.
We know people who leave and find themselves choosing accommodation directly on site … well, not us.
Why? First, having always little time does not make us live peacefully the fact of losing time doing something that could have been done in advance; then we do not understand the desire and the thrill of wandering looking for a place without knowing anything about it. It’s 2017, Internet has greatly simplified the lives of us as travelers and if there is one thing we would never give up is the ability to choose accommodation by consulting the reviews of those who have been before us.
Last but not least, it is the sense of serenity that the knowledge of having a place to sleep and a bathroom where to wash ourselves gives us.
It took us a lot to find the right place because all the hotels, hostels and guesthouses here have high standard. However, we were looking for something welcoming, that could warm our hands and our hearts when, in the evening, tiredness would have beat us.
We have found it – or at least we hope to have found it!
And when we will open our eyes in the morning, outside the window of our room at the Frejya guesthouse and suites, there will be the shape of the most important church in Reykjavik: Hallgrimskirkja.
Can you imagine how our eyes sparkle?
Before explaining what tours we have chosen and why, we warn you immediately that this is not the cheapest way to visit the island. Set your mind at rest, whatever activity you will decide to do it will cost you a lor of money. Probably if you rented a shared car, you could save money. We also thought about it, but the cons were greater than the pros: being in winter driving in a land like Iceland, informed of the sudden weather changes, without actually having any thorough knowledge of roads and traffic, having little time available but still wanting to travel long distances … well it is obvious that if we had gotten into this adventure we would have been more unconscious than brave. Maybe we have been influenced by catastrophic scenarios, who knows, we will tell you at our return!
So, discarded the car rental option we had to choose a series of tours that would make our stay unforgettable.
The variety of activities that can be done on this island is inversely proportional to the time available: too much to do and always few time to do it.
So the choice of tours should be based on specific criteria. Ours: time and uniqueness of the experience.
In other words, how long it would take us to do the tour in relation to the total time available and if we will ever be able to do that experience elsewhere or in an another season.
Practical example: one of the things that has filled our eyes just seeing them from photos are the ice caves. In the selection of the activities we said “When the hell will we be able to see them? Caves whose walls look like glass, can’t you believe it? never again! We can not miss them!! “
Therefore, considering that the visit to this surreal place is only possible in winter and taking into account that if we will come back to Iceland (and we will definitely come back), we will do it in summer, the choice of this tour has become mandatory.
Ultimately, with a thousand reflections and conjectures and snack breaks – because the important choices make you hungry – we have selected these tours:
- NORTHERN LIGHT because we are going to see it, for the uniqueness of this event, for the incredibility of a painted sky, to hold tight and to say “wow”. We will do it with Gray Line that it has the pick-up from Reykjavik and a second night free in case you won’t be able to see anything the first night.
- GOLDEN CIRCLE because it is the “must do” of the tours. For this experience we relied on Travel Reykjavik and their Golden Circle tour that it includes also a guided tour in Reykjavik and Blue Lagoon.
- SOUTH + ICE CAVES because this tour will show us the greatness and uniqueness of Iceland; because we will live the emotion of finding ourselves inside a blue bubble, so brilliant to seem a jewel; because we will put our feet on a black sepia beach and because we will be able to feel small looking at the Icebergs drifting on the Glacier Lagoon. The tour is organized and managed by Goecco that in 18 hours it will make us travel for 800 km making us feel plenty of emotions.
“If a village in the Alps could enjoy the northern lights and it be surrounded by the sea, it would be Iceland” -cit. invented but it gives the idea of the weather and what can be expected.
So? Technical equipment stores were the only shopping that we allowed ourselves.
Few things, essential and well thought because we will leave only with hand baggage.
So here’s what we will save our life from the bitter cold * for our 5 Icelandic days:
- Thermal t-shirt;
- 2 light plaids;
- Waterproof technical jacket;
- Plaid trousers;
- Waterproof pants cover;
- 3 sweaters;
- Hiking boots, warm and waterproof;
- Thermal socks;
- Slippers, towel and necessary for the pool;
while in the beauty-case we could not forget:
- Moisturizing cream;
- Toothbrush and toothpaste;
- Essential medicines;
- Lip stick;
- Hand warmers and foot warmers in disposable packs;
- Hand sanitizers.
As a “must have” we have instead:
- 3 replacement batteries for the SLR;
- Various chargers;
- Power bank 26800 mAh;
- Tripods to photograph (hopefully) the Northern Lights.
And nothing, only there is left is the count down!