Tag Archives: Northern Lights

Iceland Thanksgiving Day 2: Harpa and Northern Lights


We had never spent a full day in Reykjavik before on our short visits, so that was the focus today. We headed out in the dark, with sunrise at 10:30am today. We first hit Reykjavik Roasters for coffee for Ellen and Robyn and tea for me. I’m told the coffee was very good.

You can’t spend a moment in Reykjavik without noticing Hallgrímskirkja Church. Set high on a hill, it soars over the city. Distinctive on the outside, plain on the inside, we wanted to make sure Robyn saw it.

Heading to our next stop, we passed by Braud & Co. The smell outside DEMANDED that we go in. There were cinnamon buns coming out of the oven that had to be eaten. The bread looked amazing too. dsc_0217

For reasons we are not sure of, our next stop was The Icelandic Phallological Museum.

We now have finally done a museum in Iceland, and we really enjoyed the National Museum of Iceland. It did an excellent job of telling the story of Iceland, from settlement to the present time.

We then walked into the center of town. We needed lunch and just happened to stumble upon one of our mandatory stops every visit, Icelandic Fish & Chips. How can you not enjoy organic, fresh fish?img_1746

Our next sightseeing destination was Harpa, the concert hall on the water. img_1789

We took a tour of the facility, which took us into several halls and other interesting spaces.

Robyn and I made a quick walk in the wind before the tour to the Sun Voyager sculpture by the water. img_1749

We walked through town to pick up a few things for dinner. The city is so pretty right now, with Christmas approaching. dsc_0251

We received an email during the day that our Northern Lights tour was on. We got picked up around 8:30pm in a van and headed north of town. We stopped below a mountain and were told to watch. We saw occasional pillars of light but they didn’t turn into anything. Then, after about 20 minutes, the pillars grew larger and lights appeared that shined above the mountains and continued all the way to the middle of the sky. I did not bring a tripod and was unable to get a picture. After about 15 minutes, the lights faded, clouds came up and we had to move.

We then moved to another spot, where the lights were already clearly visible. There was a tourist sign there that I could rest the camera on, and got a few 20 second exposure shots that showed light. So I’m declaring victory there!dsc_0252

We didn’t do everything we wanted to, but the National Museum, Harpa tour and northern lights were all wonderful experiences. We’ll squeeze more in in the next day and a half!


Iceland Thanksgiving: Day 1


When visiting a country you have been to 3 times previously, it’s pretty easy to hit the ground running. We got on the plane and slept. We landed and knew just where to get our SIM cards (Arrivals Duty Free store, ask the cashier, Nova cards). We knew where to catch the FlyBus to the Blue Lagoon.

What was different this time was it was dark. We landed at 6:30am, were on a 7:30 bus to the lagoon, arrived there at 8, and got out of the water just around 10:30am…when it was just starting to get light. It was cold and windy and rainy, but with 100ºF water, it was still really comfortable and relaxing. But you miss seeing the moonscape-like lava fields on the way in from the airport.


We then bussed into the city, found our AirBnB (our first time using it), met up with our friend Robyn who had arrived one day early, and headed into town. It’s never a mystery what my first desired stop is. img_1737

Got to visit the new flagship store. But since I own 3 jackets, a shell, a hat and a t-shirt, there really wasn’t anything compelling to buy. So I bought a pair of socks.

We walked more through town, which just feels like home at this point. Like seeing City Hall. img_1733

The Christmas decorations are up, and since there are only 5.5 hours of light now, they get to be lit up a great deal. img_1738

Ellen had picked a tapas place that Ben had recommended to us, Tapas Barinn. Fairly traditional tapas, a good amount of fish offered.

We were supposed to do a Northern lights tour tonight, but it was canceled due to the weather. Although the lights were a big part of coming in November instead of our traditional summer visits, we had read that the weather can be uncooperative, so you shouldn’t have your heart set on seeing them. So we don’t. We have two more shots the next two nights, but we’ll see what happens.

We have museums scheduled for tomorrow and the Golden Circle tour for Saturday. On the way home from dinner, we had to walk by the hot dog stand made famous by Bill Clinton. img_1739

Hope everyone back home is having a happy Thanksgiving!