So last Sunday it was a 3am early start and a 4 night trip to Reykjavik in Iceland. I have always wanted to go to Iceland and nearly did for my 40th but it didn’t come off. The inner geography nerd in me would love it and if I had a bucket list then to see the Northern Lights would be on it and going to Iceland increases your chances. The excuse this time was the 18th birthday of my twin niece and nephew (Lily & James) and my older nephew’s 30th (Adam) Despite the 6am flight it was not going to put me off and I had a couple of Desperados in Manchester Airport. We had read into ale prices in Iceland so my sister purchased two large bottles of gin in case of emergency when we landed. The flight time was about 2 hours 20 and with our watches going back one hour we were in Reykjavik handy and the sun was shining and the strange feeling of instead of going on holiday and walking down the plane steps being hit by the heat it was a bitter northerly wind cutting through me. It was about a 45 min drive to our house in Iceland and we took in the bleak countryside which was just like when you drive over the moors on the M62. Building wise everything seemed square though this did change as we entered Reykjavik. Our house was a lovely town house with three floors and I avoided the basement bedroom as I knew my 6 foot 3 head would have had a fight with the roof at some point after a bevy. A quick visit to the local Neto to stock up on crisps and biscuits ! (The cheaper Bonus supermarket was closed) We then chilled out for a bit and then headed into Reykjavik city centre which was about a 10 min walk from our house. Reykjavik is the smallest and most northern capital on the planet and has a population of just 120,000 people. After a good walk around and finding the Hallgrímskirkja church which I would eventually go to the top of later on in the week. Enough of tourism it was time to venture into a bar. Beer was banned in Iceland until 1st March 1989. By the 1st of March 1989 I was already into Tennant’s Super and Thunderbirds (Not mixed !!) We had an app on our phone which pointed out the current pubs having happy hour as the prices where indeed not so happy outside these times. So we landed in the “Bravo Bar” where it was happy hour and it was about £5 for a large beer and we stayed for a few as it had a nice vibe about it. Lily & James where still 17 at this point but that was irrelevant as you had to be 20 to drink in Iceland but we had no problem. We took in some more bars at happy hour prices and even found a few Irish Pubs. We headed back home and after a 3am wake cup and an early afternoon start on the ale I hated to bed for 10am as it was up early for the twins birthday on the morning and then off on the first of our planned tours. There was crying cat outside the back door and we assumed it must be the owners cat so we give it something to eat. As if by magic we then had a nose in the back yard and up in the sky where the Northern Lights. Thank you very much cat. Some people never get to see the lights when visiting Iceland but we nailed it on night one.
7am and it was time to give Lily and James their presents before we headed off on out “Golden Circle” tour of Iceland. It was now time for peak geography nerd time. In the distance we could see a volcanic Island called Surtsey. Surtsey was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967. Today only a few scientists are permitted to land on Surtsey as it is studied to see how nature develops from nothing. This was the bit I was always fascinated by as a kid and now here it was in the distance. We then stopped of at a small earthquake museum and for around £2 I got to experience a 6.6 on the Richter Scale earthquake in the dark. Lets just say it was a lot more powerful than I expected and now know how Mrs Fay feels when I jump in bed pissed at 1am in the morning. There was a bonus supermarket here and I was ready to stock up on munchies but it didn’t open until 11am so I missed the Bonus for a second time.
Next up where some beautiful waterfalls and again some amazing Geography which I wont bore you with but the scenery was breathtaking. Twas time for lunch soon and we took time out at a small complex which was by a geyser. Luckily the geyser went off about every 10 mins so we got to see a few spurts and it was Icelandic chips for lunch. Rounding off the golden circle was a trip to a rift valley. Geography nerd alert warning. A rift valley is a linear-shaped lowland between several highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift or fault. Today I was seeing the North American plate moving away from the Eurasian plate. Well not moving but the effect of many many years of this was clearly visible. The tour was over and the mini bus was trying its best not to fall asleep after a hard day walking as the man was telling us that in Iceland hell was cold as seeing it as warm would be a treat for them ! All God bollocks whatever the local climatic readings of your made up hell. In true scouse style we got our bus driver to drop us off at the offy AKA The Vinbuo. Not a Bargain Booze but a state run monopoly and the only gaff you can buy ale over 2.5% With strict opening times and still on the pricey side it was much cheaper then the pubs and I grabbed a few Desperados at about £3.50 a bottle. We headed out for a meal and again as if by magic the Northern lights appeared. Two nights out of two. We had a few drinks with our meal and then finding a pub with a dart board in and much to my disgust my nephew Adam beat me and my brother in law Jimmy was crowned first Icelandic darts champion. We headed home to drink out state bought booze and have an 18th birthday party with the last fuzzy memory being David Bowie hour at 4am in the morning ! A day of health at The Blue Lagoon planned for tomorrow but you will have to wait for part 2 and how I nearly died !
Some pics below, click on for a larger version.
Happy 18th Lily & James lots of love Uncle Knobhead
Fay x x x x x x x x