Wednesday, 17 February 2016

One Blonde Goes To Iceland

Anyone who knows me (Melisa) personally will be aware of the fact that I have well and truly caught the travel bug, interailling across Europe and exploring the exotic beaches of Thailand. After begging my boyfriend for the past three winters to go to Iceland, he finally got his finger out and agreed to accompany me to the breath taking land of ice (3rd times a charm). Therefore, as part of a new segment on TBOB, when we are lucky enough to venture out of Glasgow, we shall be blogging about all things travel. So let's get right down to it... Firstly I would like to start by mentioning how fabulous it is that Glasgow Airport now have a Victoria's Secret! After being a strong and independent woman by managing to avoid Mac, I couldn't miss out on the 5 pairs of beaut panties for the bargain price of £20! 

Anyways moving swiftly on, as a die hard bargain hunter, I found a great deal on Expedia which included both flights and accommodation in the gorgeous Grand Hotel in Reykjavik (which for anyone interested, resides in a convenient location with the bonus being that you are the first to be dropped off after all the tours have ended, meaning that you can literally walk two footsteps from the bus into bed 'Zzzzz'). We stayed for a total of four nights, however arriving late on the Thursday and having little chance of seeing the Northern Lights due to snowfall, we pigged out on pizza and were soon fast asleep.

On the Friday we arose at the crack of dawn, ready to go galavanting on the Golden Circle Tour. We stopped off firstly at Thingvellir National Park, where we visited the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and is one of the few places in the world where you can actually see the tectonic plates drifting apart as many of these sites are deep underwater.  For the first time we could feel the freezing temperatures however, with the stunning snowy landscape, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking and the cold was soon forgotten about.

The second stop, and definitely the most random/what exactly are we doing here, was in this massive green house where they are able to grow tomatoes and cucumbers all year round - wow interesting right!? But then I indulged in probably the most terrific tomato soup I have ever had in my life, and despite the fact it cost £6 for just a cup, I must say it was worth the visit alone. 

We then got back on the coach to visit Geysir - well not really as he's only active around once a year and there's no way of predicting when he will actually erupt. But instead we seen Strokkur (his wee bro) who was magnificent enough in himself. He shot up to 30/40 metres high in the sky with temperatures reaching up to 300'C. Risking anything for a 'facebook-able' selfie, we stupidly chose to stand in the direction the wind was blowing, and all of a sudden we were both blasted with water, which soon turned into pure ice. So there was my boyfriend and I (Ben btw, I'm sure he will appreciate this cameo - not) real life ice sculptures scurrying our way back on to the bus in an attempt to melt back down to normality. Que the most unattractive photo of Ben and I in 3,2,1...

The last stop on the tour and without a doubt, the most spectacular phenomenon I've seen in all my life was the Golfoss Waterfall, the largest in Europe. In the past, when I've dreamt about visiting Iceland, I've always wished that when I eventually got the chance to go, that it would mirror a winter wonderland - which is exactly what we got.  The waterfall was so powerful and majestic, however, due to the wind, my hand just about froze off when trying to take some pictures. But the frostbite on my right hand was totally worth it for the results, and plus, it was nothing a cup of hot coco couldn't fix!

As dedicated night owls, we decided to put our alcoholic duty free buys to good use (which btw I would recommend doing, as the price of alcohol is ridiculously expensive) and experience the Icelandic nightlife. After Ben enjoyed 'the best burger of his life' we decided to embark on our own wee bar crawl.  Like the sociable butterflies that we are, we got chatting to the locals, who took it upon themselves to show us about the town.  It was a typical, drunken fun-filled night, with the club scene being similar to that of G-Town, however, the Icelandics are around 7 months behind on the charts and shamelessly love a bit of Pitbull.

On the Saturday afternoon we had booked to go horse riding. Both being tragically hungover, misread the pick up time and as a consequence had to scramble downstairs and face a raging tour guide.  Once we got over the initial headache and felt the fresh air on our cheeks, we had the most enjoyable horse ride through stunning volcanic scenery.  I had never been on a horse before, and I can admit it definitely wasn't amongst the easiest of tasks, finding myself a good few times spinning round in circles as I failed miserably to control the reigns. But again, I couldn't recommend this experience any further, with the only downfall being my sore bum. 

Saturday night we set out to see the Northern Lights. We heard they made an appearance the previous night, so we were not that optimistic that we would catch them. At first when we arrived at the National Park around 10:30pm, the lights were out however, they weren't very bright or distinguishable for that matter. It was -13, so after gazing at the lights for around 40 minutes, we went back onto the coach for some warmth.  I would like to add that I moaned the face off my boyfriend for not investing in some winter boots before the trip, however, there he was, standing nice and toasty with his thermal socks and New Balance trainers. Then theres me, fashioning my leather, fur-lined boots (fur-lined that is apart from the toes), freezing to death, with my toes that numb I could hardly walk.  I actually had to take my feet out of my boots for some warmth - never again.  Anyways, within the next hour the full sky lit up, illuminating green, with the stars dazzling so clear behind the lights. The pictures just don't do it justice. 

On our final day we chose to visit the much acclaimed Blue Lagoon (and no, not the chippy in Glasgow). This I think, was my favourite of all tours, relaxing in the stunning geothermal spa, downing ice cold ciders and prosecco all day long. Although, the spa was extremely busy with tourists, due to its magnitude, in some instances you felt like you were the only people there in the world. We also opted to have lunch in the Lava Restaurant, which again was nothing short of delicious. 

I hope that you enjoyed this new travel addition to our blog, apologies for the rambling at times. Amy spent Valentines in Amsterdam, so you can read all about her trip right here on the blog within the next week or so. But for now thats a wrap, thanks for reading and we will be back soon.



TBOB xoxo

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