Most Inspirational Moment
Many. The views as we travelled around this snow-covered isle were magnificent. As the road wound its way along the south coast, mountains were on one side and the sea with its black sand beaches on the other. The lightening at the Valley of Thor was just on-cue. Next the road wound round the eastern fjords, with the sun-lit sky gleaming off the snow-white mountains and deep blue water. Then it was through our first tunnel to Egilsstadir and, that night, our first and best view of the Northern Lights. The next day we journeyed across the plateau to Lake Myvatn, with its complete range of geological wonders – mudpots, steaming vents, lava towers, volcanic craters, psedo-craters and a thermal swimming pool.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Jon was an excellent group leader, as well as being the driver of our minibus. He always had a story to tell and alternative sites to visit when necessary. His restaurant recommendations were always excellent (I was very impressed by the quality of food at all our stops). Jon regularly monitored the weather and Northern Lights conditions, so that we missed the worst weather and got to see the Lights. He kept us safe when we ventured out, ensuring we wore the chains provided on our boots. And being February, all vehicles had studded tyres, making driving safe on snow covered roads
Advice for Potential Travellers
Dress for the weather you may incur, with lots of layers in winter. Waterproof over trousers and jacket are essential in February, as are a sturdy pair of walking boots. The chains provided are excellent, they have a rubber surround that fits them to your boots. A couple of the people brough anti-slip grips which proved to be inadequate. The day length obviously varies depending on when you go. Sunrise was nearly 10am in early February. The weather and temperature is also very variable. Check these out before deciding when to go. You might also want to check out the midge situation, if you don’t want to be bitten. Going in February did provide the possibility to see the Northern Lights and we were lucky. The Northern Lights are dependent on the solar activity, a cloudless sky and little light pollution from local lighting or the moon. For photographs, you need long exposure (15 seconds on my camera), which needs a tripod or something similar. Check your requirements before you go. The best photos on our trip were taken by someone with an iPhone. Also get a water cover for your camera, others have reported their cameras being damaged by the rain or spray from the waterfalls. A Pro camera, as used by cyclist or cars, may be an alternative if fitted with a waterproof container.
None of the days was too onerous, so recent changes to the itinerary must have solved a criticism made by a previous traveller. Iceland is on UK time, although geographically it is one and a half hours west of London. However, as it is very much a European community, they are discussing moving Iceland onto the same time as much of the EU, adding a further hour to the difference.