I really love the idea of going to a cold climate for a honeymoon! Maybe it’s because of my Russian roots, or because an Icelandic honeymoon seems less conventional than one spent in a beach paradise – and I love doing as much as possible differently from convention these days ;).
As long as you invest in proper clothing and shoes, it can be fantastic – just you and ‘the elements’ (and the person you married)! Icelanders have an awesome saying in relation to this – there is no such thing as ‘bad weather’, only inadequate clothing and a bad attitude. Our tour guide, Sarah, from Free Walking Tour Reykjavik, taught us this, and we adopted this philosophy for the entirety of our trip. IT RAINED THE ENTIRE TIME, so we had to!
I started shopping around for warm boots, a coat, and some fleece-lined leggings shortly after our Copenhagen trip, because I realised just how inadequate my existing every-day winter gear was. I didn’t want to spend too much money on something I wasn’t sure I’d need again for a while, though, so I got these boots from Amazon (it was a total gamble), and they turned out to be absolutely warm and comfortable. They made my feet feel happy the entire week! I was even able to wear my wimpy, thin every-day socks with them and was still perfectly warm.
As for a coat – get something waterproof, and a hood helps, too. You can make up for any lacking insulation with layers (I wore a chunky thick sweater almost every day over a thermal layer), but if you get soaked immediately, things will not be very fun for you.
We settled into a really cozy Airbnb house near Selfoss on a Thursday night after flying in from London. The house came with 2 cats, to our delight, so we had built in local friends.
In the morning we discovered that we had more local friends (Icelandic ponies!).
During our 8-day stay we were pretty typical first-time visitors and decided to first cover the Golden Triangle, and then fit in any extras if we were left with more time. We weren’t as productive as originally planned because 1)
we are lazy it was our honeymoon so we felt entitled to sleep in, and 2) J got the flu and was out cold for 2 days (it’s ok, see point #1 – we don’t mind lounging around!).
The sun only came up around 10:30 AM and set by 5PM-ish, giving us about a 6-hour window each day. Actually it was really trippy to wake up to complete darkness the first morning and to see that it’s already 8AM!
Most days we’d mobilise by about 11AM, spend some time in the car on our way to the destination – go out, see the ‘item of interest’, hop back in the car, go see the next one. So we were in and out of the car quite a bit, and definitely did much less physically strenuous activity than I imagined.
Driving was a treat in itself though – the landscape can be very different, depending on the weather and where exactly you’re driving. The sky can get some very beautiful colors to it, as well as ominous cloudiness. It was never boring just looking out the window!
We noticed that in the dark there is an orange glow to some parts of the sky, making it look super mystical (or like there’s a war going on). It seems to be because of greenhouses scattered throughout the country that are lit with orange lighting.
In general, driving in the countryside after the sun had set was a bit nerve wracking. Visibility can be really low because of no lighting and curvy roads, and thick fog can set in very suddenly (or it can start pouring rain, or hailing, you name it!). But the general lack of traffic did help, and we managed to get our car back to the car rental company unharmed.
After several days of sightseeing by day, hot tubbing by night, and blissfully sleeping by morning, we broke all honeymoon rules and joined our trip with two of our friends who flew over from the US, and relocated to a bigger cabin on the other side of Selfoss.
One memorable day worth mentioning is our visit to the Thingvellir National Park. We spent a good number of hours hiking around the park. It was absolutely beautiful (even with bouts of rain), and finally fulfilled my need for some outdoorsy physical activity!
We were cold and tired afterwards, so our visit to the Secret Lagoon was perfectly timed. It’s awesome how relaxing hot spring water is, especially after many hours of tensing due to the cold and wind. The Secret Lagoon is not a hugely posh place, to be honest. It was my first time to such an establishment, and I had slightly higher expectations (probably because the Blue Lagoon seems so nice!). But still, it was very worthwhile and we felt great afterwards.
Another highlight was the Kerid Crater! I’ve never gotten to see a volcanic crater up-close like this, and it was a memorable view, especially with the sun setting as we approached it.
We also managed to go on a few exploratory walks (mostly under the rain), and I even got away on a solitary one while J was
dying sick in bed, and got to capture some pretty cool shots.
Of course we also spent some time in Reykjavik! We did a walking tour with Free Walking Tour Reykjavik, where we learned a good deal about Iceland’s history and culture (and how amazing their geothermal energy is). We had some famous hot dogs, walked around the harbour, and generally took in the beautiful sights and friendly atmosphere!
I could post a million more photos, but I will cut myself off here and direct you to my Instagram feed, instead! Also, if you’re interested in budgeting for an Iceland trip, check out my super detailed post on what we spent.
BUT WAIT! DID YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS? – you might ask.
Uh. No. We didn’t. It was too cloudy (thanks rain!). We made peace with it. Ironically, though, to stir the pot a bit, on our flight home the left side of the plane could see the lights! We, you guessed it, were on the right-hand side. Saw nothing.
So Norway planning will be in the works soon, and I guess this is good news for my new boots’ employment status.