Rabu, 28 Desember 2016


First Love
First time abroad
First job
Your first must be mean so much for you isnt it

I also treasure my first time too
And here is the land, where I got my first snow

Iceland is the first land I set foot besides UK since being in Europe

It is all started in November
Between dry wind and cold weather in Manchester
My friend told me about going to Iceland for winter break
At the time I didnt really interested because pile of assignments and home sick keep me away from thinking of holiday
Days later, I realize that I should go somewhere on winter, because all dorm and the city will be so quite due to the long christmast break.
Then, I think of where to go, it must be real fun and antimainstream
Offers come, to go together to South of Europe because of extreme weather in North.
People normally choose the warm italy over cold cold Germany or Scandinavia.
But, thought it will be antimainstream to go further North in winter.
So I choose scandinavian team offers.
To feel winter in the northest once in my life.

When I said I'll go to Iceland to my classmate
They say I'm crazy
Maybe because of the name
But, wait, google it
And you'll find any information that in the winter
Iceland is warmer than European Mainland and USA
Iceland is well known of the land of "Ice and fire"
It means, even if the location is nearby the north pole
It has active volcanos and geothermal sources
And thanks to strong ocean current surrounded its land

"The average January temperature in Reykjavík is zero degrees Centigrade. 
That is considerably warmer than Beijing and about the same as Vancouver. 
Not bad for somewhere at the same latitude as Alaska"-wowair

Departure: 20 December
Me and Indi unfortunately should departed separately to other four, because we were the late comer ,and they already bought all the tickets far before us
Their flight was far more expensive when we were about to book one
So we choose another flight instead
Iceland Air. Heathrow Airport.
We arrived two hour before flight.
Think it was too early to enter the gate after check in, we took our time to drink shoot of coffe
It turns out to be our biggest mistake
Heathrow is the busiest airport ever, and so the bagage scanning queue is severe.
We enter the gate 10 minutes before boarding
Moreover, I forgot to took out some liquid before the scanning process
Hence, my lugage didnt made it to the secure tray, and they should check it further.
Its almost boarding time!
And I still wait for my bag to be checked.
Once they finished with checking my bag, we sprint as fast as we could to the gate.
And it couldnt be worst that our gate is 15 minutes by walk according to the information board
I couldnt think, just ran as fast as I could
When I arived in front of the gate, the screen showed that..
The airplane is delayed for half hour.
Oh, Thanks Allah!

Day 1: 20 December
Arrived in the airport late night
Took the pre-ordered bus named 'Greyline' to reach our hostel
In Iceland there are no public transportation, so we should book the transportation previously

Outside the airport we wished to be welcomed by pile of snow
But there was no snow outside
A bit dissapointed
But along the way to hostel
We saw few snow outside the window
Not bad

We forgot to let the owner know that we gonna come after midnight
It is important to check whether the hostel has 24 hour reception or not
When we arrived in the hostel
We need to wait for half an hour in the cold weather
Feeling bad for ringing the bell continously
Before the host opened the door for us while asking, why we didnt let him know previously
Igdlo Hostel
Our hostel is quite nice and homey
We love it
Front view

Day 2:21 December
Short sleep but very comfy
We woke up at 5 am to be picked up by our pre-booked tour
There are only two option for visiting tourist attraction in Iceland
Either by book a tour or rent a car
Renting a car on winter should be considered carefully
The road is slippery due to snow
Unskilled driver will slipped easily on the snowy road

We went outside the hostel at 5 am
It still dark outside
The sun was rise around 11 am that time

We were surprised by the snow mound outside the fence
I didnt notice the snow when we arrived previously
First time touching snow

The travel picked us at he nearby hostel
First destination is the well known blue lagoon

Blue Lagoon
Its probably not a natural hot water
But the silica water is heated with the natural geothermal source
It was so serene and beautiful
Spring bath is a brilliant decision even on winter
It was 1 deg. C outside but so warm inside the water
There is free mud mask inside the lagoon
So much fun

We spent the whole first day for blue lagoon
The sun is only shining for four hours on winter in Iceland
Iceland is surely very expensive
Half of my scandinavian trip budget is spent in Iceland, while the rest is divided for other three countries
In blue lagoon, one sandwich like in picture cost 1500 Iceland kron (around 10 £) and sushi cost 20 £.

After bathing and ate a decent food (I bought the chepest one!)
We walked to the bus park area
And suddenly, heavy snow fell from sky
It was so beautiful
We were too excited 
I couldnt describe how I felt
My first snowfall

Outside the springwater pool
Back to Reyk
Jumped off the travel car in front of the alley to our hostel
So surprise of thick snow everywhere
We found a huge grass field covered in snow in front of the alley
Running crazily, laughing freely of seeing this
We spent hours playing there till sunset

Our first snow field

Night came
We rest a bit
And prepare for dinner
Outside was so cold
But we were too hungry to stay home 

Someone too hungry, ate pop mie 'instant noodle abroad is absolutely best feeling ever.
She could not ate that alone, off course we intervene!
We visited the city center
Walking by 15 minutes more or less
We passed by the well known church Hallgrímskirkja

That style tho ..kindergarten students

Tata has an appointment with his Iceland friend
He suggest a cafee at the downtown Reyk named Vegamot
Arrived at the bistro
They have icelandic signature dish!
Deer burger was the best for me
Lobster Pizza comes second
And the red chicken fillet (I forgot the name) was quite good too!
Icelandic Dinner
After dinner, we walked around
The city center is the most 'homey' city center for me ever
No building
Only one or two floor shop like house along the way
We look at some nice icelandic sweater shops
And I bought two, cheapest available, for souvenir
And as a promise that someday I'll go back with him

On the way back from dinner
We found this cute Gluhwein stall beside the road
The traditional stall and the kind owner gestures made us curious
'What is that' 'what they sell'

Gluhwein words is mainly used in european midland to refer the hot drink made from wine and spice
But in Nordic country, The Gluhwein is called Glogg
It made from fruit and nuts
They explain to us kindly, that it doesnt contains wine at all
It turns out to be Nordic special hot drink, and so popular on winter or holiday
Snowing heavily
Walking again
The snow falling heavily
My first snow falls
It is too precious

Day 2: 22 December

We took the tour of south coast and glacier walk for the whole day
Indina took another tour
She booked Ice caving package for two days
She'll join another people who reserved the same tour, and they'll caving together
What a brave woman ;)

First destination is the Skogafoss waterfall
There are a lot of godessly beautiful waterfall in Iceland

The closest to town is Gulfoss
At first we almost split the group into two because Me and Edo did not have the heart to spend lot of money on ice hiking package, so we prefer the cheaper one
But, Garya being so determine in persuade us to stay as one group
She shoot her number one provoking ability on me and Edo
Nice try
Cause we finally gave up
Thinking the same frame as Garya 'memmories is more precious than money'!
The package we choose is Skogafoss waterfall+southern coast+glacier hike
The sceneray along the way is magnificence
Snow, white land as wide as eyes can see
Never ever regret going to Iceland on winter
And when I have chance to go back to Iceland, I still choose winter

Snowy Picture Hunting

Skogafoss waterfall is half frozen that day
The small river besides the field is so beautiful
We played ice sliding on the thin ice layer
That was so fun
Playing ice sliding with shoes only

Thinking its too fun, Edo decided to slide down and landed on his butt
On the bus, we realized somethin weird
No..smell weird
It turns out that the ice layers He used to slide is where the horse took pee or else
We laugh so hard, and bear the smell along the way
That was unforgetable

Southern coast
Iceland is a volcano land
Hence it has black sand on many area
The beach, glacier soil beneath the ice layer

Black Sand Beach
Behind the shooted pic

Random pose, checked!
 After south coast
We head to the final destination which is also the peak of the trip
Glacier hike
We arrived there around 2 pm
So few time left, because the sun was set at 4 pm that day
Some guide welcomed us, and explained the hiking field
They gave us set of hiking equipment consist of Crampons (special shoes with spikes), and Ice axes
Each group has one guide
Ours is Marcus
An Icelander

Ice hiking

Eyjafjallajokull glacier
The hike was like.. very short for me
I wish it would be longer
But the sun is setted
Even the tour duration was shorter in Winter than Summer
The glacier is far beautiful in winter, the ice is greener and bluer than Summer hike (said Marcus)
North of the walls
After the tour finished, we dropped by the bus at the town centre
We walk a bit to visit the icelandic opera house
According to google, the opera house was designed like shimmering icebergs crashed into the land
The pool in front of it (behind us) was so pretty
The smell was everlasting, lol

DAY 3: 23 December

The next morning
Sadly its time to go home
We picked up by our pre-ordered travel agent in the nearby hostel
Heading to the airport to continue our journey to the next Nordic countries
I was so in love with Iceland
Willing 100% to go back someday
But next time visisting Iceland will be on road trip
Tottally worth to try
Snowy airport field
Finally, here are some tips from me that might be useful to consider;

1. If you seriously want to hunt the Norther light, I sugest you to download the app in google store. If its shows high possibility than you can rest assure, but if otherwise, its better to rent car and chasing the light far north or join the private 'Northern light tour'. Common Northern light tour, even if they give you 100% money back guarantee, will easily cancel the schedule if the possibility of aurora is small. But private tour, more expensive for sure, will chase one no matter what happened. Self0drive, car-rent is cheaper so will be a good option too.

2. Even if winter holiday, identical to Christmast, and all the prices (flight, food, tour, etc) will be expensive. I still choose winter over summer to visit Iceland. why? The glacier is more beautiful, the 'Northern light' is at its strongest possibility, and its less crowded than summer. Winter tickets is expensive beacause many local people going back home to visit their family to celebrate Christmast together, but not as many as summer tourist.

3. Never ever underestimate the time in airport. The layout of every airport and their respective terminal is different to one another. There are some airport that has far distant between the terminal
Its always better early than late

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