In early November, we went to Iceland for a little pre-trip break. I am usually the one who takes the lead in holiday planning, and actually enjoy doing all the research and looking at hotels etc, but this time Richard wanted organise everything so it was a nice change for me just to pack, pick up my passport and go.
We arrived on the Friday night to an incredibly windy and cold afternoon, picked up the hire car and stopped off at the supermarket for a few essentials before heading to our accommodation. We were staying in Glymer, around 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik in an amazing villa which even had its own outdoor hot tub! Dinner was an absolutely enormous steak, sweet potato fries and spinach. After popping open some Veuve and almost getting our heads blown off we headed to bed as we had a big day planned.
After a lovely breakfast at the main hotel, I finally got to see properly where we were staying – right by a lake surrounded by beautiful scenery. Definitely a ‘pinch yourself’ moment! We headed out in the car to Thingvellir National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site), where you can see the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates. I was wrapped up in all my layers and even being outside for a few minutes I could feel the tips of my fingers starting to pinch with the cold! We then headed over to Reykjavik for some lunch, and found a great place via Trip Advisor called Baejarins Beztu that apparently sold the best hot dog in Europe. Not sure about that but it was pretty tasty and warmed my hands for a few minutes!
After lunch we headed over the Blue Lagoon, which is perhaps the place I had been most looking forward to in Iceland! Driving up to it is a surreal experience itself, with a moonscape environment and nothing but a power plant surrounding it. We picked up our robes, and went to change into our swimwear. There is nothing like it when you head outside, steaming milky blue water, surrounded by rock with large plumes of sulphur heading into the air! We floated over to the bar and had a banana smoothie each, followed by a silica face pack which you take from large containers on each side of the lagoon. Another lovely surprise from Richard was a floating massage – which he had managed to book at sunset. Lying on a huge float with a man in basically a giant sodden dressing gown massaging my shoulders, looking up into the sky was quite the experience!
After drying off and conditioning my hair about 5 times (the blue lagoon turns your hair to straw!) we headed back to Reykjavik for dinner at a great place called Fisk, where we both had the Icelandic tasting menu. Really recommend this if you are ever in the area. We then started driving back to our villa, but there was a few more special moments to come that evening! After driving for about 20 – 30 minutes I started seeing hints of green light in the sky, and then after about 10 minutes of teasing we were lucky enough to see an amazing Northern Lights show in front of us. Truly an experience I’ll always remember. Richard was incredibly excited and even when we got back to the villa and they had died down, he kept asking me to come outside and look at them. As we’d been on the go all day and it was almost midnight, I started to take off my many layers and get ready for bed. What I didn’t know at this point was that Richard was trying to find the right moment to propose, and had his heart set on doing it on the Saturday. I was looking out to the lake through the french windows when I heard a very serious sounding Richard say ‘Fiona’. Anyone that knows me well knows that it’s quite unusual for anyone to call me Fiona so I had the feeling something was up! I started smiling and didn’t turn around, so he repeated ‘Fiona’. I turned around and there was Richard, on one knee, ring in hand! He asked me to marry him, and after a few stunned seconds where I just smiled and stared at him, I said ‘YES!’. It was such a lovely moment, and quite typical of us. it was lovely to spend the rest of the evening laughing about how stressed Richard had apparently been all day, and we waited until the next day to call our friends and family to share the good news. I am over the moon with the beautiful ring Richard chose to give me, it’s perfect!
So, what better way to spend your first day as an engaged couple than whale watching! After dressing up in 7 layers, I was given a big red suit by the boating company to wear – very chic. We headed out to sea and were lucky enough to see lots of dolphins (my favourites!). It was quite bumpy at times, and we were glad we had taken an anti-sea sickness table before we left! Always much better to be up on the deck in the fresh air rather than below deck,feeling queasy. After about 3.5 hours at sea, we headed back. By this point I was convinced I was getting frostbite in my toes and was the coldest I had ever been so this was quite a relief! On the way back, us and another couple thought we saw a huge splash and outline and raised the alarm but the guide said we didn’t have time to go any nearer and carried on. So perhaps an unofficial whale sighting, but still a whale sighting nonetheless! We spent the evening relaxing at the villa, and drinking in the hot tub which was so relaxing now the wind had died down.
On our final day, we drove around the Golden Circle to see Gullfoss – a huge, stunning waterfall, and the Geyser. Both were spectacular and Iceland is well worth visiting to see these amazing natural wonders. We headed to the airport, and I picked up a handmade Icelandic Christmas tree decoration to remember our special trip. On the way back, there was one more treat. We are both huge fans of a singer called Kwabs, and when he released tickets for Brighton a few months ago we both unknowingly bought tickets for each other at exactly the same time! Well, who was on our plane on the way home, but Kwabs! He had just played at the Airwaves music festival in Rekyyjavik. We said hello, and then laughed in our seats at the oddity of it all! Richard wrote to him on Instagram a few days later, and Kwabs reposted it to his Instagram and Twitter followers, thanks Kwabs. If you haven’t listened to him before, I strongly suggest you watch this video.
Iceland was such a fantastic experience, and I’m so grateful to Richard for organising such a well organised and enjoyable trip but for also choosing such a beautiful place to propose. Stay tuned for a 2017 wedding!