Lena’s New Year Celebration in Iceland « Baltic Travel Company
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Baltic Travel Blog

Lena’s New Year Celebration in Iceland

Posted on December 7th, 2013.

New Year’s Eve in Iceland

Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice and isolated in the North Atlantic, is a real-life fairy-tale setting with Geysir, ice glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, lave fields and Moon-like landscapes. This island, though cold and dark in winter, has some of the friendliest locals who more than gladly will help you find your way around the island and assist you if you need help deciding on what to order for lunch.

Our travel started out from Billund, Copenhagen and Nuuk in Greenland, as Linette at this time was living in Qaqortoq, South Greenland. A major snow storm in the North Atlantic had delayed all flights in Greenland, but finally a green light was given, and Linette could board the flight to Reykjavik. Lone flew in from Copenhagen and I, with the help of friendly co-travellers managed to drag my luggage with me, as I broke my hand 2 days before Christmas.

Vikingeskibet

Our hotel, located in the outskirts of central Reykjavik was our base for the following week’s explorations of snowy Iceland and all it had to offer. Lone has spent a lot of time in Iceland and knows all the good local places, so we started off by going to a small bar called Kaffibarinn, to get acquainted with the locals. Kaffibarinn is known for its authenticity and laid back atmosphere and also starred in the cult movie “101 Reykjavik” (2000).

Tingvellir

We spent the following days wandering the streets of Reykjavik, as the whale watching and other tours were suspended due to the snow storm. We had time to go see one of the most impressive buildings in Reykjavik, Harpa the Opera House, situated by the ocean front. It is a modern building designed by Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson. The geometric design of the opera house is especially enhanced by the lights dancing across the glass frame of the building in night-time.

Tapas, a meal associated with the Southern skies and warm weather of Spain, was the most memorable dinner in all of Reykjavik. Located at the Old Harbour, this red and white wooden house started its life by supplying Spain with salted cod, but now, the Icelandic people and its visitors enjoy the Spanish meal Tapas fusion with the Icelandic traditions in Tapashusid. Tapashusid was well worth the visit, enjoying splendid wine, luscious tapas plates and a soothing view of the harbour overlooking the seaside with our Icelandic friend Sigríður and her sister Jensina.

Of course we had to visit the Blue Lagoon to treat ourselves to a day of relaxation. Enjoying the warm water in the -5 degrees cold winter weather, we had lunch and champagne in the Lagoon which we ordered from the cosy restaurant. After our hour-long afternoon in the Blue Lagoon, we went for a stroll around the area, which, covered in snow as far as the eye could see, looked like a beautiful frosty moon landscape.

Blue_lagoon_lena

The following day we went on a trip to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park with Sigríður and her father, who kindly drove us around the island in his 4×4 wheeler. Thingvellir was a breath taking tranquil contrast to bustling Reykjavik and we spent several hours hiking in the area. After Thingvellir National Park, we went on to see Gullfoss Waterfall which was frozen solid in huge parts of the waterfall and following that, the Geysir. In the afternoon we went further south to spend the rest of the day in the family summerhouse, with a beautiful view of mountains and a volcano. In Iceland you get to see first-hand, how powerful Mother Nature is and why this island is named the Island of Fire & Ice.

Gullfoss

New Year’s Eve we were invited to celebrate with Jensina and her lovely family in their house in Reykjavik. The whole family was there, Grandparents, children and grandchildren. In a modern house located outside the centre of Reykjavik, we had a marvellous view over the city and the fireworks. The New Year dinner started off with cocktails and small talk to get acquainted with the family and afterwards we sat down to a delicious buffet of fish, turkey, vegetables and finally dessert before we crapped ourselves up in our warm clothes and went outside to welcome the new year with fireworks and champagne. After the fireworks, we went down to the local common area to watch the bonfire and say our greeting to neighbours and friends, who came back to Jensina’s house afterwards to celebrate the rest of the night.

Geysir_1

 If I was to sum up my NYE travel to Iceland, I would describe it as the perfect combination of a very welcoming community and a fairy-tale-like scenery in the countryside. Iceland is well worth a visit, if you, as I, enjoy a laid-back atmosphere in the city with many galleries, restaurants and sceneries to explore. The ability of being active in nature as well adds to the adventure and Iceland will offer all of this, to any extent you wish. I am sure I will visit this land of Fire and Ice more than once again in my lifetime.

Author: Lena Nielsen. All images copyright of Lena Nielsen.

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