A new year, newlywed and the Northern Lights. Explore PR Manager Stella Blackwell started off the year in style:
The winters of 2012 and 2013 are billed as offering the best opportunities in 50 years to view the Northern Lights. Despite this exciting statistic, this was not actually the driving force behind my husband and me booking the Icelandic Adventure Holiday trip. As somewhere that both of us have been keen to visit, a four-day trip to this stunning country seemed the perfect way to celebrate our first New Year together as a married couple. Any viewing of the Aurora Borealis would be a very special bonus.
We were excited about how much we would pack into our four day trip and certainly weren’t disappointed. Stepping off the plane, it was straight to the Blue Lagoon for a rather bracing swim in the thermal waters. The water was warm but the air temperature above certainly wasn't! The rest of the weekend took us on a spectacular journey around the Golden Circle and, on the last day, we enjoyed the optional excursion in a gigantic Super Jeep.
Celebrating New Year in Iceland was incredible. Some may be surprised to learn that celebrations in this highly organised country can be chaotic; verging on anarchic and certainly in breach of the health and safety legislation of many countries. In the hours proceeding and following midnight, the people of Reykjavik flock to the square surrounding the famous Church of Hallgrímur, where they are free to set off their own fireworks as they wish. This culminated in a cacophony of noise and light in the five minutes before and after the strike of twelve. The scene resembled a war zone but the street-party atmosphere was electric with excitement. I will never forget how one group of lads, dressed in matching white suits, left a box of lit fireworks on the Prime Minister’s doorstep – what other society is relaxed enough to let this happen?
The other major highlight of this trip will come as no surprise…we were welcomed to Reykjavik by howling winds and driving sleet – the chance of seeing the Northern Lights that evening was slim. Although it wasn’t the be-all and end-all of our trip, my husband and I took a chance on an excursion in the hope of seeing them all the same.
Standing on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the freezing rain and wind at midnight, we did begin to wonder what we were doing - our cosy bed seemed awfully appealing and the cloudy conditions made any chance of a sighting seem non-existent. However, before long, what seemed like wispy cloud started to form in the sky. Our guide rushed over to us; “this is it” he explained. I will admit to being slightly underwhelmed to start with, but the wispy cloud soon began to build into a ribbon, stretching across the whole sky. Before long it was dancing and then, what can only be described as ‘chiming’. Everyone reacted in different ways, some whooping and cheering, others snapping away with their cameras. But we preferred to just quietly take it in, utterly spellbound. We felt so privileged to witness such a rare natural phenomenon and this was definitely one for the memory book.
Book up on our Icelandic Adventure Holiday and see if you can see the Northern Lights for yourself.