So, this post is just a tad delayed, but as I’m trying to get back into blogging, I figured my thoughts on Iceland were still worth sharing. Another reason I write these posts is so that I can better remember my own travel experiences, and so that I can easily look back on them – I would highly recommend doing this!
One of the many highlights of Iceland, and what propelled me to venture out there in the first place, was the Northern lights. My cousin and I first saw them faintly streaking across the sky from the Blue Lagoon one night. They weren’t as paramount as they were on our bus tour, but on a clear enough night it is definitely possible to get a glimpse of them from the Lagoon. The next evening we took a tour bus outside of Reykjavik into the middle of nowhere in hopes of getting an even better sighting of them.
We boarded the bus that slowly made its way out of the slushy streets of Reykjavik and into the countryside where it would be dark enough to see them. As the lights of Reykjavik faded further into the distance, our guide began singing some traditional folk songs in Icelandic, followed by the recitation of an original poem. Her poem was about the Northern lights, comparing the fickle, unpredictable sightings of them to love, and how they both show up when you least expect them (By the end of our trip, we were really appreciating the Icelandic sense of humor!).
Our four day excursion to Iceland was pretty action-packed, but in between our Blue Lagoon visit, our Golden Circle tour, and Northern lights excursion, we were still able to explore the city of Reykjavik. We noticed as soon as we got off the plane that Iceland had received a heavy snowfall (about a foot and a half) the night before we landed. We later learned from our Golden Circle tour guide that it was the most snow Iceland had received in a single night since 1938! Cars and entryways to houses were snowed-in, and streets in the city were just starting to be plowed as we arrived in Reykjavik. Although this made walking around a challenge (and our socks and boots got soaked through after just a few hours of walking) it was a really cool experience to see the city completely covered in a blanket of snow.
The amount of tourists in Iceland was astounding to me. The fact that it is such a small country, (with a population of only about 330,000) made the swarms of people trudging through snow-covered Reykjavik with backpacks, cameras, and tripods seem even more paramount. Dozens of tour buses were constantly drifting through the maze-like city streets, and at each stop on our tour of the Golden circle, our tour group was accompanied by at least ten other buses, all packed with camera and backpack-toting tourists like us. Luckily, we went to a few awesome restaurants and cafes, like Babalu, Braud (bakery you cannot miss), Glo, hotel Apotek, and Rok, among others, to escape the frigid temperatures, and slushy streets.
In an age where anyone can be a writer, photographer, or some kind of creative, it gets to the point where I think ‘Does what I write really matter?’ Is anyone going to find this blog post or tweet funny, or witty, or entertaining in some way amidst the rest of the content they could be reading or listening to? We’re all out there living in the moment and letting the rest of the cyber world know as soon as we stumble upon something cool. We’re sharing our thoughts on twitter, our words in blogs, and our images on Instagram and Snapchat almost as fast as we can think, and snap a photo or video to go along with it.
Iceland was an amazing place. Our Northern Lights tour guide mentioned this to us about twenty times, while also emphasizing what an amazing tour group we were as the bus drove us back into the city. This post might not share any new information, per se, or anything that can’t be found elsewhere on the internet; my pictures also do not capture anything novel. Each new place we visit and experience is filtered through us as individuals. However similar two peoples’ experiences may objectively seem, our own unique perspectives, and the specific details that stick out to us can make our art, in the form of words, photos, videos, drawings, or anything else, pretty worthwhile.