October 9th, 2014


:: Northern Lights Bucket Trip - Preparation Part One ::

:: Northern Lights Bucket Trip - Preparation Part One ::

With one week more to go before my “trip of a lifetime”, I am definitely looking forward to see the Northern Lights, and then, more.  A three-week trip to multiple cold destinations usually require some travel preparations, hence I thought it would be a good idea to at least jot down the essential details as well as the itinerary onto my LiveJournal. At the back of my mind, I felt that I have not contributed enough of my experiences onto LJ, hence this could be a good overview for what is about to happen.
Hence my itinerary follows:

17 Oct – Depart Singapore to Copenhagen, then Transit from Copenhagen to Reyjkavik, Iceland. It will be a long journey.

18 Oct –  Arrive at Reyjkavik. We will have a half a day in this Icelandic capital and then spend the night at Hotel Hilda. I think I will have difficulty pronouncing all the Icelandic location and food names haha!

19 Oct – With the rental car (automatic fortunately!) we will drive from Reyjkavik to Hvolsvollur. This will be accompanied by the diving tour in Silfra River or Lake. This is going to be an exciting leg. In fact, the reason why I took up the Basic and Advance PADI diving certification was because of this leg of the trip.  Silfra is a rift that is part of the divergent tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates. The melting ice from the Langjokull glacier will run through a river directly into the Pingvallavatn Lake. Silfra contains clear, cold water with high visibility – divers are literally swimming between continents, which makes it a very interesting diving attration. The most wondrous sight would be the Silfra Catherdral which is a 100 metre long fissure which allows visibility from end to end. This will also be the first time that I am donning a dry suit and be doing a dry suit diving, so I am looking forward to it.

After diving in Silfar, we will be enjoying the unsurpassed beauty of Pingvellur – a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will continue to Gullfoss water and Geysir geothermal area, where we will hope to catch the eruptions of the Strokkur geyser. Then it is a drive towards the south coast, where we will spend the night at Guesthouse Vatnsholt.

20 Oct – It will be a 155km drive along the south coast of Iceland, heading eastwards. The first stop would be the amazing Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Apparently we should be able to walk behind it! This will then be followed by the Skogafoss waterfall, located at the foot of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

We are then booked for a one-hour snowmobile ride at 1230pm on the Myrlasjokull glacier. After the ride, we will continue to the village of Vik, which we will visit the black volcanic beach. There is also the Fjaorargljufur canyon, a hidden gem of Icelandic nature that is often overlooked by tourists. There is an additional evening option of going to the Meoallandssandur black volcanic beach – let’s see if this is necessary.

21 Oct – We will leave Kirkjubaejarklaustur behind and then drive across Skeioarasandur, to Skaftafell in Vatanjokull National Park, where we will meet with professional glacier guides at 1400hrs. It will be a three-hour glacier hiking tour. Hopefully it is not too tiring or slippery! I am looking forward to hiking into the winter ice caves and certainly hope that we will be able to put this into the itinerary. Skaftafell has a landscape very similar to the Alps, but it has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire and water, and the rivers. After the hike, we can also try to hike over to Svartifoss waterfall, which will take about an hour to complete. Also known as the Black Fall, it is surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name. We will then process eastwards to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, before settling down at Hotel Smyrlabjorg.

22 Oct  - The scenery changes we are travel through the rugged and beautiful East Fjords of Iceland. Driving past Hofn in HornaFjordur and continuing towards Djupivogur, we will reach the tranquil coast village for a tea break, before continuing our drive towards Stoovarfjorour fjord. Here, we will look at Ms Petra’s collection of rare Icelandic stones before going into the road tunnel to Reyoarfjorour. It’s a total of a 290km drive through Fagrigalur valley towards Egilsstaoir, the largest town in Iceland. We will then spend the night at Guesthouse Egilsstaoir. And that will take up the first phase of the Iceland trip.

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