Iceland Day 6: Northern Lights Tour and departure

It’s been about 6 months since I ventured off to my dream home of Iceland.

After visiting, it’s been torturous deciding where to go next. Iceland is the one place I’ve always wanted to go, it was a no-brainer, so what’s next? How do I choose?

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I never did finish my post on our last day in Iceland, however. Heather and I had just come back from glacier climbing and shoving 2 hot dogs and a giant waffle down our throats, to find out that our Northern Lights Tour with Sterna Travel, after 3 consecutive nights of being cancelled, was still on! Pickup was at 8 p.m. in front of our hostel, where we waited with other hopefuls to be picked up by their various other travel companies who would be taking them on a similar tour. The night began to sink in across the water over Mount Esja, a pale blue and deep, romantic pink, as bus after bus came and picked up those waiting. Finally, our bus came, although it was difficult to tell if it was ours as it wasn’t clearly stated as a Sterna Travel company bus. But a man came out and read our names, and we hopped on with our backpacks and squeezed into two cozy seats in the middle.

I remember there were three middle-aged women in front of us who were speaking another language; laughing with each other in excitement and pure joy. My mind wandered to how they spent their lives, why they were here, how they became friends, and what their day-to-day jobs were. We rode deep into the dark hills, following the sky and out of polluted air.

Our tour guide told us ancient Icelandic folk tales, and answered questions about the way of life there. The bus rolled on and on until we parked alongside a wide open landscape and hustled out of the bus waiting for something magnificent to happen. It felt like hours in the cold; there were no lights anywhere. We gulped our Kleina down, drenched in hot chocolate, until a wave of faces turned south.

Under a thick blanket of stars, we watched a faint beam of the Aurora Borealis turn into a vibrant dance of waves across the sky. Heather and I squealed in excitement. I felt so close to the sky, as if we were one living creature, together. Our cameras were useless, unable to capture the beauty, as if it was ghost we saw that no one would believe. We watched the lights dance for a brief few moments, grateful that we were able to witness them so late in the season, the last week of March. The whole ride back, they followed us, teasing us, as the moon faded slowly behind in a lunar eclipse, a burning flame of orange. We got back around 1:30 a.m. and fell immediately to sleep.

The next morning was rough. I had a pit of sadness in my stomach as we stuffed our backpacks with everything we brought, lugged them downstairs to the kitchen and ate our last breakfast in Iceland: the ripest coffee, juicy apricots, hard-boiled egg, and crispy toast with blackberry jam. Did we see everything? What did we miss? I wanted to stay longer, take another picture, to make sure I would never forget what it all looked like and how it made me feel. Invincible.

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We had to leave soon to drop-off the car and hang out at the airport, but we saved some time to do last minute shopping on the main strip of the city. I bought a wool blanket,  a black lava pearl ring, chocolate covered licorice, and postcards galore.

I already want to go back. There is so much I still want to see and learn about: the Vikings museum, more secluded hot springs, the ice caves, hiking.

I don’t know how anything could ever compare to Iceland, but I can’t wait to seek it out.

Below are some of my favorite pictures! Don’t forget to check out my other posts on our trip:

  1. Days 1 & 2: arrival, Blue Lagoon, hostel check-in and the city; Southern Iceland, featuring Skogafoss, the black sand beach of Vik, Seljalandsfoss and dinner

  2. Day 3: Waffles, Bruarfoss, Strokkur, Gullfoss, cave exploring.

  3. Days 4 & 5: Hallgrímskirkja church, the Secret Lagoon, night out, glacier hiking

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