The intention was to surprise my boyfriend at Heathrow airport with tickets to Iceland. After three months of planning and secrecy, I fell down at the last hurdle. Two days before we were due to fly out, I blurted out our destination, whilst moaning about my dreadful cold.
Damn you illness.
Iceland was desolate, cold and full of rocks. Staying at the family run Northern Light Inn, we were about a 15 min walk from the Blue Lagoon Spa. The hotel staff were very friendly, offering a free transfer to and from the airport and a free ride into Grindavik, the nearest town of 3, 000 people. The hotel itself was very clean, with a very comfy bed. Behind the hotel was a big geothermal power plant, which spewed out stream 24-hours a day. At night, the lights cast an eerie glow, which wouldn’t look out-of-place in a horror movie.
We were lucky enough to see the northern lights on the first night of our stay. It was around 10am, when I noticed a green patch in the sky. Not really knowing what to look out for, I thought it was my eyes going funny. The more I looked at it, the more it reminded of Slimer from Ghostbusters. Grabbing my boyfriend we stepped outside of our hotel and watched it dance across the sky. Now, I know I’ve just used an over used cliché to describe the lights. But, that’s what it looked like. It was amazing. My camera (for once) caught it better than our naked eye. It wasn’t until the next day that we were told it was better after midnight. By that point, we had gone to bed. Huge mistake as it was the only night we managed to catch it.
The lights are mythical beasts. You never know when they’re going to appear and for how long. Naturally, there are many folklore to describe the Aurora Borealis. For some that are an omen, for others it was a sign of doom. The Icelandic believed that if a pregnant woman gazed up at the lights, their child would be crossed-eyed! My favourite story is that souls having a party in the sky.
The scientific explanation is the lights are caused by solar winds from the sun interfering with the earth’s magnetic field. Personally I like hearing the myths. The science takes a bit of the magic away.
That’s the end of part I. Look out for part II sometime this week!