Symphony World Travel - Fetcham

29th October 2019

Iceland – Much more than a volcano!

I have just spent two nights with Regent Holidays in the most amazing place I have ever visited. Iceland has so much to offer. Of course if you want sunshine, beaches and exotic open air restaurants then I wouldn’t recommend it but if you want the thrill of off road jeep safaris, amazing waterfalls, geo-thermal springs and what I just can’t get over, the spectacular Northern Lights, then Iceland is the place for you. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are also great restaurants and plenty of nightlife in the way of bars and clubs (the Icelandic’s do know how to party) and I was surprised at how little everything costs. Drinks and meals are similar cost to that of bars and restaurants here in London. People ‘not in the know’ warned me that everything was so expensive so it came as a nice surprise that actually, I could afford to enjoy myself! 

During a meal out with our tour guide at a lovely Reykjavik restaurant, he was informed by his colleagues who had just returned from the glacier that the ‘lights’ were really shining and in full colour that night, so he decided to take us up to the glacier by jeep (just a 15 mile journey) to see them. 

With me still dressed in high heels, we all piled into the jeep and off we went. I must admit I was a little sceptical on the journey as I’ve heard all these stories of people hunting for days to see these famous lights and coming away disappointed. By now it was midnight. I’d been up since 5 a.m. to get the flight and I was thinking all I want to do is snuggle up in bed. 

The driver was so enthusiastic and certain that we were about to witness something amazing! The further we went the colder the temperature gauge got until minus 13c flashed up. “No way am I getting out of this jeep” I thought to myself.

We were all looking hopefully into the darkness out the little windows. Then the driver pointed excitedly into the sky and a faint sheen of green glow. “That’s pretty cool,” I thought. He kept driving. The green got brighter but because we were inside the jeep we couldn’t really see much. He stopped. “You must get out,” he shouted as he jumped out of the jeep. 

OK! We piled out. Complete silence, other than the whistle of the wind around our scantily dressed legs! I have never been so cold in all my life.

Suddenly, I forgot about the cold. Out of nowhere it looked like a curtain of red and green dust was falling out of the sky. In the complete silence I felt quite emotional!! 

Then white horizontal flashes around the colours, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s not all made up, it’s real and it’s the most spectacular, natural thing I’ve ever seen. It’s so much better than any firework display because it’s so quiet which makes it all the more wonderful. I didn’t think I would be ‘moved’ by this natural phenomenon but I was. The tall Icelandic driver wrapped a warm blanket around me and I could have stayed there forever! 

The silence continued for some time, just broken by gasps of delight from some of our group. We were, by the way, the only people up on the glacier. It’s not full of tourists all looking for these elusive lights, it was just us. 

The colours, after a while seemed to drift away, as if it had seen enough of us and wanted to delight someone else, maybe on the other side of the glacier, and went off in search of them. 

It was a truly amazing experience and one I will never forget. 

By Nicky Banin
29th October 2019