Iceland (or Ísland, as the locals would write it) was really great, and the cold was either delightful (Olly) or frightful (Laura). The weather was really changeable, but there was no snow unfortunately, only some slush at one point.
The whole city had a delightful small town feel to it, and all the shops were bright and cozy. Iceland is also running on 100% renewable energy, which I was quite impressed with - everything is geothermal, including all the hot water! Another fun fact, Iceland’s population is just over the number required to prevent inbreeding traits! But I imagine that there must be enough people arriving and leaving that it doesn’t really matter.
We really enjoyed the food there (we went to an Icelandic buffet on the first night), and there was lots of seafood and HUUGE slabs of smoked salmon! Yum Yum Yum. I was also very brave and tried some fermented shark meat. The meat is toxic when fresh, so they have to leave in buried in sand for a few months to squeeze the urea out of it. After that it just tastes like rotten fish with some bleach mixed in. It was yuck.
We much preferred the Icelandic hotdogs, which have lots of sauces and toppings and stuff on them, and are one of the cheapest meals around. All the other food is very expensive, costing around $30 for a toasted sandwich! (It was very nice though).
On our second day we went to the Blue Lagoon geothermal pools, which were really nice and we even got to see a bit of a sunrise from them. It was lovely to wade around the huge pool and relax, although it did leave our swimming gear all salty and smelling sulphurous.
The third day we did what was called the “Golden Circle Tour”, which is Iceland’s most popular tour, seeing the Rift valley, which is the fault line between the European and American plates. The valley had some really cool landscape, and used to be the site of Iceland’s (outdoor) parliament!
We also saw some geysers, which were cool but smelly, and we weren’t allowed too close because the water was boiling hot. And finally we saw Iceland’s biggest waterfall, which was cool - all the spray from the falls froze on the sides, so there was more snow round there.
We missed the northern lights, but we’re already making plans to see them again some time (a good excuse to visit Svalbard if you ask me!).
We’re on our way to the UK now!