Last week, my “Other Half”, referred to lovingly here as OH or O.H. lost a letter.
No, I didn’t cut him in half. Instead, we tied the knot after nine years together; earning him the title of “Husband” (H) instead.
For those who noticed on twitter that I was in Iceland; we were on honeymoon – exploring the wonders of a freezing cold country, hoping to viewing beautiful skies, wonderful marine wildlife, horses dressed up and different foods.
In reality, the Horse Theatre was cancelled, as were three Northern Lights hunts, and two Whale Watching excursions.
So we snorkelled in the Silfra Fissure, tried a variety of beers at a brewery, swam in the Blue Lagoon, and finally on the last night, made it out to a National Park to see the Northern Lights.
We also met a cat, walked around a church, tried Minke Whale for dinner, ate soup from a bowl made of bread, investigated the architecture of the Harpa concert hall, discovered a historic remain at Laugarnes, watched The Fault In Our Stars and Paddington, and I learned to write Reykjavik without needing to double check the spelling. We also had breakfast with a Scottish couple, where H introduced me as “his wife” for the first time to someone.
Key Lessons About Iceland:
- The water is all technically drinkable, as it’s pumped almost directly from geothermal springs, only losing one degree of heat in the insulated pipes.
- However, it is not something I’d ever choose to drink again. Due to the sulphur, it smells and tastes like rotten eggs. Not great for teeth brushing or cleaning, let alone drinking. Camomile tea was the only drink not altered drastically by it. Your mileage may vary.
- It’s cold in Iceland. No seriously. The main lesson is not to over-pack. I wore the same long-sleeved tops 2-3 times in our 5 days, because you usually had 2-3 tops under them and don’t sweat even after long walks.
- Buttermilk is not like milk. Do not put it on your cornflakes without trying some first.
- Even though some bars start happy hour at 2pm, it’s still pretty expensive. As is everything in Iceland.
- The Viking Challenge is fun.
- The storms can be a little strong. The internet claimed the winds were 55km/h at one point.
- Most people speak English, and they all seem happy when you try to speak Icelandic. They all seemed happy, full stop, to be fair.
- Knowing the Futhark runes is helpful when trying to read some of the Icelandic letters.
- A pair of fingerless gloves under inexpensive thermal ski gloves works well for cold nights. Especially if you want to use your camera/phone.
- Nothing beats a good scarf to save your face from wind-burn.
- Moisturising products. I wish I’d taken some cream and lip balms to combat my dry, windswept face.
- Boots > Trainers. Waterproof shoes are a must. I wouldn’t even bother taking two pairs of boots next time.
- The Northern Lights may only be visible as grey clouds to the naked eye. We were lucky, as if you stick around long enough, they’ll often dance, warming in colour as they gain confidence in their steps. On the better cameras, you could see the rarer red shades of nitrogen. But even on a £100 bridge camera, we got the green shades we could see with the naked eye.
And now we’re back. H is on night shifts and I’m back to work. The real world is rushing to meet us and mostly we’re looking around, bewildered at the trees, lack of snow and seeing every cloud as a green smudge.