Iceland had 1,289,140 visitors into the country in 2015, greatly outnumbering their population of 333,670 (at the time of posting anyway!) As an easily accessible 4 hour flight, from all across the UK, landing in a place with the most amazing views – the youngest country in the world is the perfect getaway, if you can afford it! But why do travellers always head back here when it costs SO much?
I first ventured to Iceland on a school trip in October 2013 and, although it put me out a whopping £850, I have never been more in love with a country and everything it offers. So naturally when I was given the opportunity to return with Rangers in March 2016 to celebrate the Girl Guiding Senior Section Centenary, I leapt at the chance and gladly handed over £1,300 of my savings!
In the two and a half years between my trips my favourite country changed so vastly – meaning my experience each time was completely different. Both times I visited the Sólheimajökull glacier and I am fascinated to see the changes. The glacier melts at an average of one Olympic-sized swimming pool every year, meaning that my memory of it was completely different to the view I saw before me. The landscape had moved because of the melting and, given the differences in the time of year, there were completely different colours in the skyline, on the mountains and even in the ice itself.
The nature of the trips was different also, with school we were learning whereas with Rangers we were adventuring. That meant we were doing different things, the Golden Circle Tour was explored not investigated, the Blue Lagoon was relaxing not a science lesson – yet the Northern Lights remained fascinating and captivating each time.
I was lucky enough to see them twice, at the beginning and end of their season. Its true that you can never really explain them, they are just there in front of you, taking your breath away. They dance through the sky, changing colours as the particles, atoms and molecules all collide to form one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World. I have genuinely never experienced something which can silence me in such a way, as well as silencing every single other person in my presence.