When we were planning our wedding nearly 12 years ago now, Pete asked me where I wanted to go on honeymoon. Without skipping a beat, I said ‘Bora Bora’. When he asked why, I already knew the answer. I didn’t want to go on honeymoon to a place where a million other people would say they’d been. Thailand, Maldives, Mauritius, Bali, the Caribbean – wonderful holiday destinations, but for me a honeymoon just had to be even more extra.
And so we went to Bora Bora, via LA and Tahiti. We stayed in the Beverly Wilshire – scene of that elevator shot from Pretty Woman – and an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. It cost more than the actual wedding but I’ll never regret it for one second. That’s what adventure means to me, not necessarily jumping out of a plane or whitewater rafting but finding an experience that can be harder to come by. It’s why when we went to Las Vegas I took a morning away from the strip and went horse-riding in the Nevada foothills which was such a magical experience and probably not one people think of when they imagine the bright lights and craziness.
As always, my bucket list is never-ending and one of the adventures I’d love to experience is seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. I know, I know. Iceland as a destination for someone who hates the cold and dark isn’t very logical but again, it comes down to being something a little more exclusive. A natural phenomena that even if you visit, there’s no guarantee of seeing them and that’s what appeals so much. Plus, the landscape just looks absolutely magical, evoking mythical fairy tales and when it all gets too cold, you can’t go wrong with a natural hot spring.
For a relatively low-population country, there is so much to see and Tucan Travel offers an incredible 8 day tour, taking in all the key sites and providing the best possible chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I find that there are certain countries where an organised trip and guides offer so much more insight and knowledge than trying to see it yourself. Here’s what I would be most excited to see from under my 50 layers of thermal clothes.
The Icelandic Horses
Of course, as a huge animal lover the horses are right at the top of my list. They always look so adorable in pictures, more like stubborn, gritty little ponies than horses. Day 4 on the Tucan Travel tour covers Selfoss in south Iceland with a visit to an Icelandic Horse stable, learning just how they manage to survive in such harsh conditions.
The Black Sand Beach of Reynisfjara (otherwise known as Vik)
One of my friends is a passionate traveller and award-winning writer and has covered her own adventures in Iceland extensively. She’s also had amazing luck in seeing the Northern Lights for herself. When I saw her pictures of Vik I knew I had to see it for myself. I’m not going to lie, golden sandy beaches in tropical climes are more my scene but the contrasting landscapes of Vik looks to be breath-taking. As if the black sandy beach isn’t majestic enough, the jaw-dropping basalt cliffs rise like sentries to another world. And of course popular culture lovers will know that this is one of the many locations for Game of Thrones.
The Gullfoss Waterfall
Iceland may be awash with waterfalls but without doubt the most famous is the Gullfoss. I’ve never seen a proper waterfall before but there’s something about them that again holds me in thrall. Similarly to when we went to see the Grand Canyon, nothing can ever really prepare you for the magnitude of geological formations and no cameras ever really do it justice, either.
The Blue Lagoon (basically, just give me ALL the hot springs)
It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, you can find me in a hot tub if there’s one to be had (well, with the exception of the freezing UK countryside in January). I even went in one in Florida after baking in the sun all day. Not my most clever moment. But imagine feeling all numb and chilly from a full day of exploring the beautiful Icelandic countryside to then relax in the peace and tranquillity of a hot spring. If that’s not relaxing I don’t know what is. In fact, is it asking too much to watch the Northern Lights from a hot spring?
Reykjavik (last but by no means least)
The Tucan Tour starts and finishes in Iceland’s capital city allowing time both guided and free to explore. As someone who lived all her life in the countryside and is now a bona fide city girl, I LOVE the vibrant buzz and hubbub of other countries cities. What makes them tick, how do people live. And bearing in mind how rich Iceland is in terms of geography, I think topping and tailing my dream trip with a city seems like the perfect itinerary to me.
So now I’ve established all my must-see places in search of the Northern Lights, I just need to figure out a way to make it all happen. Perhaps I need to start looking at 2020 and make this bucket list dream a reality at long last.
This is an entry into the Trips 100 Tucan Travel Blogger Challenge.