Iceland – The Beginning (Part One)

 

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” Hans Christian Anderson

Iceland is one of those places that called to me. After watching movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,  hearing about it from friends and looking at pictures on many travel instagrammers accounts I just could not get enough. I knew I had to go.

 After much research we finally made the jump and decided to book the Intrepid 8 day Northern Lights Tour. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life and hopefully the beginning of many more adventures.

We booked the trip nearly a year in advance, which gave us plenty of time to organise what we would take and stock up on warm weather gear! When February finally came you can imagine how excited I was!

We both finished work a day before our flight so we packed all our gear together, dropped the puppy off at her holiday home for the week and headed to the hotel we booked in Heathrow for that evening just so we could relax before flying out the next day. I was so glad we chose to do this as it made the trip so much more relaxing and less stressful!

It only takes 3 hours to get to Iceland from the UK and the time zone is the same (flying anything over an hour makes me feel like I should change time) so we arrived by late afternoon. In the airport we met our coach driver and some of our group. From here he took us from Keflavik to Reykjavik. I could not believe (and still can’t) how beautiful this country was. Snow covered mountains in the distance called to me and I just could not get enough of looking at them. It was really happening, I was really there!

We were staying the first two nights of our trip in Hotel Fron right in the middle of the main centre of the city. The hotel rooms were lovely and we were more than comfortable. I would definitely go here again if I went back. After checking in, dropping everything off and getting changed we were to meet our group for dinner at 7. At the recommendation of our guide we grabbed our swimsuits in haste (along with 2 other women in our group) as the local baths were open till midnight for that evening only for the Icelandic Winter Lights Festival.

Our first meal in this wonderful country was at Geyser Bistro and was a great way to start. We met some more of our lovely group and ate some wonderful fish (when in iceland).

{Salted Cod and Local Fresh Caught Ling}

After the meal we took a snowy, fresh walk to the local baths to enjoy a relaxing evening in   hot geothermal water with two of our new travel companions. The baths were amazing and even though you have to follow some local customs (no shoes, naked showering and ensuring you are dry before re-entering the changing rooms) it was actually really liberating to just not care (don’t get me wrong it took a lot to build up to it). Plus the baths and changing rooms were spotless, which compared to many of the swimming places in Britain this was amazing.

After some relaxing we ambled slowly back to the hotel with some night views on the way.

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The next day we got up early for breakfast, a nice continental, and met the group ready for a city tour.

We learnt about the cities history, passed sites such as the Harpa Concert Hall, the frozen lake and the harbour.

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Our first proper stop on the tour was at the Perlan, which had a 360 view of the area. Truly beautiful. Also if you go up there in winter time make sure to be careful of the ice, I can attest that it truly hurts if you misjudge it (I had the bruise to prove it).

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Our next stop was to view a snowy village outside of the city.

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We stopped by the national museum but only for a brief time as we wanted to reach the final stop of Hallgrímskirkja. This well photographed and popular church was still amazing to see in real life.

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A group of us broke off from some of the others to head down the harbour and scout out lunch. We were in the mood for some lobster and the restaurant we choose provided exactly this (If you can’t tell from the title).

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We ate good food, chatted, drank cider and just enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere of being in this fantastic place.

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Once our stomachs were satisfied we made our way round the city by foot.After some souvenir shopping the boy and I broke off from the group to take a wander along the seafront.

We walked up to the sun voyager , a sculpture of a dream boat (often mistaken as a viking boat) in ode to the sun. It inspires thoughts of travel, hope, progress and freedom. All ideals that perfectly encompass the adventure we were on.

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After taking in this wonderful view we took a slow walk down to the Harpa Concert Hall where we watched the sun set over Reykjavik.

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It was a truly wonderful day and only the beginning of what would prove to be an awe inspiring trip. Already I was in love with Iceland.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

{Photo Credit}

I wanted to do a brief review on this film because it is one of my all time favourite movies. Even though it has been around for a while now I still recommend it to anyone who has not yet seen it.

It is heart warming, adventurous and cinematically beautiful. It teaches a lesson about living life and just taking the jump. It tells you not to live life dreaming but to go for those dreams. It shows you how beautiful the world can be and it inspires in many different ways.

It is the story of Walter, a constant daydreamer of amazing adventures so unlike his day to day life. As a long time employee of Life magazine, redundancy threatens due to modernisation of the magazine. Without spoiling too much lets just say that his daydreams become a reality he did not expect and lead you on a incredible journey.

Not only are the landscapes beautiful but the soundtrack is a perfect fit. I often listen to it on repeat because the choice of music is simply beautiful and I love the reminder it gives me when I do listen to it.

As with everything not everyone will love this story as much as I do but then if we all liked the same things the world would not be the amazing and unique place that it is.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of Life”

Road Trip Travels: Newquay (A very delayed post)

Hi all! It has been five months since I updated and that is in part to do with a busy life but also I needed a break from the computer so I apologise. I found this post in my drafts and realised I never finished the amazing trip we had. So here it is!

One of the main parts we had planned for our time away In Cornwall was to tick an item off our bucket list. This item was surfing! I have always wanted to go surfing since I was very small and was so happy to finally be able to try the water sport out!

Our first day arriving in Newquay would be the first day learning to surf. We booked with Bluewings Surf School with a 3 day package including accommodation. As soon as we were there we got suited up in our wetsuits and given a board each. You had to carry the boards as a pair to make the long walk down to Fistral beach a lot easier. it really helped to build muscle up in your arms over the 3 days and by the last day it actually felt easier. Once we traversed the long road down some stairs and over the rocks we set up for a quick intro on the beach. We were taught how to jump on the board, catch a wave and stand up. this, however, was only the practice. After around 10 minutes of on land training we got to jump straight in!

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{Me and the boy with our surfboards}

It was soooo much fun! I loved every minute of it and managed to stand up several times on my first ever tries. The only part I found difficult was being able to catch a wave but by day three I was really getting the hang of it and was even able to manoeuvre the board round some waves! The instructors were fantastic and every day they would advance you a little more if you had been before. Brilliant instructors and would highly recommend them as a surfing school.

The accommodation was also fantastic. It was quite small but I loved this as it felt cosy and everything was spotless and very well thought out. The room had a TV, kettle, lots of tea and coffee as well as washing and eating implements provided and use of a fridge.

Three days of surfing definitely tired us out but before we had some early nights we went out for lots of yummy food in Newquay and a trip round the town as well as an afternoon trip to St Ives for some Fish and Chips! Perfect.

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{From the top: Amazing burger at Belushi Newquay, Fish and chips in St Ives, Lovely fruit and vegetable shop, Some cute boxes in St Ives and the church}

Whilst I was there I really wanted to do some Yoga and managed to find a class on the beach!! I was so excited to try it early one morning before surfing later on. It ended up being one of my most favourite things of the trip. Not only was the instructor Jen from Shine Yoga friendly she was a fantastic teacher. The morning was perfect with a view of the waves, the sand under our toes and the sun shining down. It was the best yoga class I have ever had. I really felt like I was able to challenge myself and was a perfect start to the day.

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{An amazing yoga class on the beach. The first picture taken from Shine Yogas Instagram/facebook}

On the final day Ali and I spent the evening on the rocks watching the surfers and the sunset. It was perfection!

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{Watching the sun set and having fun on the rocks}

Newquay was everything I hoped and I wish I could spend my weekends surfing and doing yoga all the time. Cornwall you have my heart! Overall the whole holiday was one of the best I have had in a long time. From countryside, to beach side, Surfing and Yoga, great food and scones as well as plenty of relaxing and exercise all combined. Take me back? xoxo

Road Trip Travels: Cornwall- Acorn Camping and Glamping

Hi lovely readers!! I have finally gotten around to writing up another post on our holiday!

We left Devon fairly early on the next day to head to the campsite we were staying at for one evening before our trip to Newquay. We also stayed at this campsite for two more nights after our time in Newquay so I thought I would combine the 3 days into one post. The site was called Acorn Camping and Glamping located next to St Austell and the Luxulyan Valley as well as being a short walk away from The Eden Project.

I was thoroughly impressed with the campsite (especially considering the previous one the two nights before). It was out in the countryside next to a forest (exactly what I wanted) and was run by a lovely family!

The toilets, showers and wash areas were extremely clean and very quaint as they were hand made huts with wooden signs saying “busy” or “free”. Although I had to be very brave and get over my fear of spiders. So proud of myself!

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There was a firepit where the owners often hosted storytelling, circus performances and hunts for children and adults. This often included trips into the forest where there were flags, trees decorated in fun items and seating for aerial gymnastics in the trees!

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As well as camping there was the opportunity to do some glamping in hobbit huts and bell tents. Absolutely recommend staying here! I will definitely be going back to stay in the Hobbit hide away sometime in the future!

We began our first stay here by making some lunch and relaxing. This gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading. It was great having some fresh air and relaxing time! Sometimes you just need to get away from the city!

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We also checked out the forest where we saw all the fun trails and all the hidden away huts.

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When we came back the Monday we carried on using the time to relax, eat good food and enjoy the countryside. Of course we also took the time to toast marshmallows and make smores!! Yummy!

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P1050946We made sure to check out the Luxuluyan Valley which was amazing. We did not manage see all the sites on the trail but we did see the Aquaduct and an old water mill for the mining trains.

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We had some fun wandering around the woods as well as seeing some amazing views from atop the Aquaduct. It was fascinating seeing some old history from the Aquaduct, the water mill and there were loads of ruins around. Amazing place!

We also had the opportunity to go for a cornish cream tea with some old friends who happened to be in the area! Amazing being able to catch up!

I have so many more photos from our time in the valley and campsite that I may do a photo diary at one point but for now here is a snippet of photos! I hope you enjoyed reading about this part of our trip! I will hopefully be able to post our trip to Newquay soon to complete the trilogy of posts!!

xoxo