How to get the most out of your Iceland itinerary: part one

Getting elvish in Iceland. 

Did you know that 26% of Icelandic people believe in elves or 'hidden people' such as trolls, gnomes and fairies? This is because it is a fascinating country rooted deeply in folklore and nature and really appeals to my sense of whimsy. This might just make it the very best place to spend some time at Christmas.

Reykjavik has also just been named THE number one place to visit in the world by Rough Guides 2016 (and my home town Hull, UK made it to number 8!), making it even more alluring. I was lucky to visit back at Christmas 2012 and it truly is a magical, unique place to spend some time.

We arrived Friday afternoon and settled into HOTEL Kettur which was a modern and trendy hotel about 10 minutes walk to the centre. It had some original funky stone work which connected it to the land around it. 

Luckily we arrived just in time to take part in 'RUNTUR' a rather rowdy Icelandic pub crawl. What a good laugh! With it being at Christmas time (which by the way starts in about October over there - no joke!) everyone was in great spirits but it is expensive to drink so take plenty of cash.
The decorations were up, the Christmas beer was in full flow (yes they have their own Christmas beer) and everyone spilled out onto the streets, despite it being below 0 degrees.
The next day we bundled up in several warm layers and headed out onto the streets to explore. Reykjavik is a fairly compact downtown so is easy to explore on foot and this is always my preferred mode if possible because you get to see so much more.

The buildings are colourful and typical of a town beside the sea and really helped to brighten things up considering it didn't get light until around 10am and got dark again about 5 or 6 hours later!
There's interesting street art and monuments all over the city which makes for a nice amble around the city.
Then we stumbled upon actual Christmas personified (yippee) and found a wonderland of decorations, trinkets, woolen blankets and fur lined Christmas stockings, one of which I brought back to adorn my fireplace.

That night we had a quick dinner (restaurant options are getting better  all the time but we found to be a little limited) and headed to bed for an hours rest before we were picked up for a very exciting Northern Lights trip. Now this is the single most thing I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember, so to say I was giddy is an understatement! It cost around 6000ISK, or about £31 GBP per person and was arranged through the hotel. The bus picks you up around midnight, as the best time to see the lights is the early hours of the morning .

After a long cold wait, the Aurora Borealis didn't make an appearance, despite a few false alarms and we headed back to the hotel. We were promised a free go the next night with hopefully better chance of seeing the lights.

Have you seen the Northern Lights? Is Iceland on your bucket list of places to visit?

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