I go through phases of wanting to write about certain topics and at the moment it’s travel, probably because we just booked our next adventure and it feels like a million years away, so getting nostalgic about my honeymoon is helping.
After our mini road trip to the South East, we stayed local for a few days and just enjoyed lounging around in geothermally heated hot tubs and pools. We’re normally always on the go so this trip felt really laid back for us, although I think this would still be considered not enough relaxing on honeymoon by some. Different strokes!
I love pigging out on breakfast on holiday before a busy day of exploring. Multiple croissants before 8am are acceptable on honeymoon right?
When I first looked into Iceland, I read about a hike up in Hveragerði an active volcano -Hengill- to a river which ran hot because of the geothermal activity in the area, which you can bathe in. Because of weather or timing I’ve never got around to it, so on a quiet day we decided to go and check it out.
I read online it takes about an hour each way, but what I didn’t take into account was the fact that would all be uphill. It was absolutely killer and I was shattered by the first ten minutes. As the path curved around peaks you could never see where you were going, which was the only thing that stopped me from turning back. I did notice at one point a post which read 30, so I knew we were still ages away but I persevered. Every time we came across a river we checked it to see if it was hot, to no avail.
When we finally reached the top the path was covered in steam and mud bubbled in the ground, it was fascinating and eerie at the same time as no one else was around.
The river has been equipped with decking along the side for easy access and changing, but sadly lots of people left their rubbish there. I can’t for the life of me understand that but it happens a lot in Iceland, tourists leave rubbish at natural spots of beauty and it falls on the locals to clean it up. Whenever we go anywhere we tend to bring back some of other people’s rubbish with us and certainly never leave any of our own.
We got into the river and found the hottest spot we could handle, by swimming upstream. When we got too hot we would crawl down into a lower part to cool off. It’s such a relaxing feeling, especially after such a hard -hard for me at least!- walk. We stayed there for hours in the knowledge it wouldn’t be getting dark anytime soon, before eventually heading back in search of food. Thankfully the way down was considerably easier, but I felt accomplished for my mini volcano adventure.
Aaron and I in Hotel Ion, on our last day there. Why are cold weather clothes so much better than Summer? Roll on Autumn when I can wear hats and gloves in the UK.
We moved hotels to Hotel Katla, which was recently featured in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians as they stayed there just before us. It was so funny seeing it on TV and seeing Kim and Kourtney in ‘our’ hot tub. Obviously I don’t like hunting or dead animals generally but I had to take a photo of this because I couldn’t believe the size (Aaron is 6″4).
Polar bears don’t live in Iceland, but every few years or so turn up on icebergs from Greenland. They’re confused, starved and aggressive so unfortunately get shot. It’s such a shame, but I can sympathise as they’re so huge, if you’re not expecting one what on Earth would you do to safely transport it back, without causing even more distress?
Hopefully we will see happy, alive polar bears in the wild later this year, when we go to Svalbard. – Having been to Svalbard, can I just add what the hell was I thinking when I wrote this? Thankfully we didn’t see any polar bears and thus I’m still alive and able to tell blog the tale.
Near to our hotel is Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano which caused all the issues in 2010. I managed to learn to say it correctly on honeymoon too as it ends in glacier like our wedding ‘venue’, FYI it’s pronounced Aya – fiatla – you-cccch. There are some similarities between Welsh and Icelandic (not that I speak Welsh fluently!).
Iceland’s oldest swimming pool Seljavallalaug is heated naturally by that volcano and sits nested in the mountains with amazing views, so we decided to go and find it. Thankfully the walk was a lot easier than the hike a few days before.
Being fascinated by glaciers, one thing on my bucket list which I’ve still not managed to do is to go inside an ice cave. They’re only stable in Winter but weather conditions have meant getting to them has never been possible when I’ve been away. We decided to go and look at Inside The Volcano, Iceland’s manmade ice cave which takes you 30m under the ice of Langjökull.
As it’s not a natural ice cave, the thing I was most excited about was just going up onto an ice cap. It was exactly as I imagined it would be, nothing but sky and snow for miles and silence. To drive over the glacier we had to go in a huge truck which was once a missile carrier and deflate the tyres.
The ice caves themselves were pretty cool, there was a hole in the tunnel where a natural crevasse was found which was absolutely huge.
Icelandic horses are so beautiful. On our last night in Iceland we stopped to watch them for a while and take photos, they’re such a familiar sight as you drive around in all weather.
Whilst I was sad for our honeymoon to come to an end and for us to be leaving Iceland, I still felt shattered from the wedding and was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. 3 months on I’m still pinching myself that it all happened.