My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…..Well our bags are packed to the brim to cover every weather combination that might crop up during our Iceland trip. Can’t say I’m ready to go though as I’m still very apprehensive about such a change in holiday style. But the drive to Stansted gives me a chance to look through the brochure again from our tour operator “Discover the World”. If you want to follow our route have a look at their website www.arctic-experience.co.uk/Iceland and look at the self-drive Family Adventure tour. Sounds fab if you’re an 11 year old boy or, if you’re like my husband, a child at heart getting over-excited about trying out lots of activities. Not so hot for a wimp of a woman like me who would rather be doing nothing on holiday!
Our first argument comes at the security desk. We’ve been given a fast-track sticker at the check-in desk because it’s a new service Iceland Express is now offering. The shirty security woman indicates the sticker is only on one boarding pass so only one of us can be fast-tracked. This hits hubby’s “don’t try this jobsworth nonsense on me” button and for a few tense moments I can envisage us not being allowed on the plane. This could be the answer to my prayers but unfortunately the shirty woman backs down and we’re through! Do my usual scout around the departure lounge shops and grab a buy-one-get-one-free bargain at Boots…..suntan cream….to howls of derision from the boys I have to say.
On board the plane what immediately strikes me is the difference in the passengers on this flight. Normally if we’re travelling to Tenerife or Majorca there are lots of families with crying babies, spray-tanned girls in mini-skirts and Ugg boots and a motley selection of shaven-head tattooed blokes reading The Sun. Not so on a flight to Reykjavik. How civilised everybody is: a quiet bunch of travellers in their walking shoes and pastel sweaters, all reading high-brow novels and talking in a whisper to each other whilst sipping their coffee. The calmness continues at Keflavik airport which must be the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen. Spotlessly clean, wood and stone surrounds, adorned with unusual sculptures and modern stained-glass windows.
Efficiently processed, we eagerly take possession of our hire car for the fortnight, a white Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Hubby decides to drive and it takes some time to adjust to a manual car, having driven an automatic for the last few years, plus the left-hand drive awkwardness of the whole business. After a few bouts of swearing we’re on our way, thankfully for only half an hour to our first stop – The Blue Lagoon, fabulous outdoor hot springs in the middle of a windswept lava field. The pool is geothermally-heated seawater, rich in natural minerals and the temperature of a hot bath. Things are definitely looking up! Slighty nervous in the obigatory pre-bathe shower: lots of chattering naked women of all nationalities with a surprisingly large amount of body hair! I get my bikini on pretty quick and brave the elements before melting into the lovely water. Fascinating outside too; no-one actually swims, they just bob about with white gunge on their faces. The gunge is a mixture of silica and minerals, fantastic for your skin but murder for your hair which I only realise afterwards and explains the gentle bobbing of everyone else in the water!
Our first hotel is only next door to the lagoon, the Northern Light Inn. A quick scan of the room indicates a very simple scandinavian style, gorgeous white duvets but a distinct lack of any complimentary smellies in the bathroom which I find very odd as they could easily give you samples of all the Blue Lagoon products. Only one big squirty tub of soapstuff which I never know is shampoo or shower gel. Use it anyway and now I can’t do a thing with my straw hair. But go to dinner with beautifully exfoliated skin, eat a tasty meal and all three of us collapse under our squishy, duck down duvets. So far….so good……