Travel Adventures • All of the Lights

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that last week I took a trip to Iceland, if you don’t follow me on Instagram you might still know this because I’ve probably mentioned it in previous posts, however what you won’t know is that I’ve already had THREE Christmas Dinners this week but let’s not talk about that!

When Donna and I first discussed our trip to Iceland we debated for a while whether to visit in Summer or Winter. Eventually a winter trip won purely because seeing the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis was something we both had on our ‘bucket lists’ Although we were fully aware it was still just a matter of luck, especially in our short 5 day trip.. sometimes you’ve just got to take a gamble guys.

A couple of weeks before our trip there had been sightings of the Aurora Borealis in Scotland but much further North from where we stay, so we hoped this would continue until we ventured North ourselves.

We flew to Iceland on Thursday 23rd November and according to Icelandic Aurora Forecasts that night was looking like our best chance of a sighting for the duration of our trip.

We arrived in Keflavik at around 8pm and although the dark skies were clear, we didn’t see any Aurora activity during our bus journey from the airport to Reykjavik.

After dumping our bags in our hotel room we headed to the roof to have another look. There was a guy on the roof who pointed out some very faint lines in the sky and said he thought that could be it. An American girl who stood behind us said she had been on a Northern Lights bus tour the night before and unfortunately they had seen nothing but the guide had told her, ‘if you think you can see them in Reykjavik, the best thing to do is jump in a taxi and get away from the light pollution in the city.’ Donna and I were pretty tired from travelling… I know what you are thinking, it’s only a two hour flight, but we are not the best fliers so it takes it out of us… we decided instead we’d just head for bed.

On the way to our hotel room the guy that had pointed out the faint lines in the sky stopped us and said he had a car he would take us out of the city. HOLD UP. It’s much too early on in the trip to be murdered and left in the freezing countryside. We politely declined his offer using our tiredness as an excuse, I felt bad as he was probably being genuinely nice (trust issues)… ok it’s not always wise to gamble guys.

With snow forecast for the next day we gave up on our hunt for the lights. Or so we thought.

The snow didn’t come the next day, although we had news it had snowed at home, I missed the first snow!!!

We explored the city through the day then as the sky was still clear, debated whether or not we should book a Northern Lights tour. Before we knew it we found ourselves at Reykjavik Old Harbour picking up tickets to board a boat called Andrea.

I haven’t been on a boat at sea for a very long time but, to be on the safe side, I accepted one of Special Tours complimentary motion sickness pills.

After boarding we put on warm overalls for extra layering and I looked a little something like this.

I then followed Donna to find a ‘good’ seat, which she decided was on the top deck and the very back of the boat.

We sat gazing at the sky pointing out the North Star and with it The Plough/Big Dipper then realised we don’t actually know any other asterisms or constellations. I might need to learn some, I love looking at the sky, I find it quite fascinating.

As we headed out of the harbour some very faint, grey streaking was visible and our guide advised us this was definitely Aurora Borealis and that it should, fingers crossed become more visible as we leave the city lights and our eyes adjust to darkness.

We had seen the exact same thing from our hotel roof the night before.

The sea was pretty rough but the pill seemed to be working a treat. The further we headed out to sea the brighter and larger the lights became but still not that vibrant green you see in photos more of a grey, maybe a very faint green at most.

Our guide Tina explained what the Aurora is, if you don’t know google it but in short terms, it happens when the earths magnetosphere is disturbed by solar winds and whether the particles hit Oxygen or Nitrogen determines the colour they show.

Tina explained the best camera settings to use to capture them, but warned strictly no flashes, as our eyes can take 20 minutes to re-adjust to darkness after a flash has gone off (who knew?) by the time she was explaining shutter speeds my hands were freezing so I gave up on photographic evidence and put my gloves back on and my camera back in my pocket ( I’m such a quitter). The crew were taking photos and said they could email them to us, that sounded much better than frostbite.

Now the lights were showing green although still paler than I imagined but the spectacle came when they started to ‘dance’ around practically lighting up the dark sky. I managed to take one photo but I’m not sure my camera settings were correct so it’s not the best.

It was incredible to see. I strangely felt honoured that they made an appearance it felt almost like they aren’t just a scientific incident but something greater, a person, a higher power, an extra terrestrial, something that had chosen us as spectators for the show.

The top deck was now becoming rather crowded as fellow passengers ventured out of the warmth of the cabin to view the show, even with mammoth layers we were feeling pretty cold now, so we decided we would head down the next deck, grab a drink from the bar and warm up.

As soon as I put my feet on the lower deck the motion sickness hit me. Any notion I had for a glass of wine was gone in an instant and I had to get back to the top deck as soon as possible.

When we got back to top the Aurora was actually much brighter and more vibrant so we stayed on the top deck enjoying the show fighting the freeze and the urge to vomit for me.

Some will say it was all about luck and others will consider the £160, near freezing to death and seasickness all about the hustle.

I think we were very fortunate to cross something so rare off our bucket lists… well I did, until I found out the Northern Lights were visible back home in Stirling on the same night, haha! Just our luck!

Have you seen the Aurora? What’s your favourite thing you’ve crossed off your bucket list?


Thanks for reading😊

Have a great day❤️

Angela xo

51 thoughts on “Travel Adventures • All of the Lights”

  1. GAH! This is incredible! I don’t think I would have been able to board the boat – motion sickness is hard for me, too (and so is flying – so I get the 2-hour “long day” flight. I actually flew an hour and a half today for work & I was a trembling mess. Post to come). Anyway – I am SO glad you were able to see them! They are on my bucket list, too. The best thing I’ve done on my bucket list might have been seeing Washington, DC. I don’t know if it was on my list, but it was something I added after I’d done it because it was amazing! OR, seeing a concert from the front row.
    Hope you’re warmer now, and home safe! .xo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Home safe and very much warmer now thanks!
      Oh I know, I’ve avoided boats for years because of it so I guess I forgot how awful it is, I still felt ill for days after if I moved my head to much! I guess it was worth it!
      Oh no I hope you are ok? That sounds awful.
      DC is definitely on my list, I’d love to visit!!! Xo


  2. This is so great girl. Hubs and I are planning a trip for next year and the plan was to include Iceland, (along with Ireland, Scotland <3, and somewhere new in England). We want to fly Delta though because we've got vouchers and miles with them so not sure we are going to be able to keep Iceland in there. I hope we do–I know we will miss the lights but I've heard there are lots of amazing things to see. Glad you had fun! x

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Definitely!!! Although the Lights were a big thing for us we definitely missed out on SO much with the short daylight hours and everywhere being covered with snow. I’d love to go back in the summer now and explore the countryside more!


  3. I barely remember clicking to follow you but I’m glad I did. Great post, what a site that would be to check off my list. I don’t even know that I have a bucket list. Good for you glad you got to see it

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Now I remember following you. Your about me section was funny and interesting. I just turned 37 and I am pretty large as clueless as you are about my life. I’m not good at plans or goals. Big goals (not bagels) at least. They frighten me. Your blog looks fun, glad I joined in

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What a wonderful sight to see. Is it odd that you are the second blogger I follow who has posted of her adventure to see the Aurora? And these aren’t travel blogs, just regular people seeing remarkable sights. I guess that makes you remarkable in your own right.
    I can’t say I have a Bucket List. Maybe a Teacup Note of a couple things I’d go out of my way for if circumstances got me at least part of the way there. But even though I didn’t go looking for them I got to see some remarkable things over the years, overshadowed only by the remarkable people I’ve gotten to meet.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my God I almost teared up looking at your photos! I’ve wanted to see the Aurora Borealis since I fell in love with Northern Lights (the book) as a child! It’s on the bucket list and I’m hoping I get to cross it off soon. It just seems so ethereal and otherworldly….

    By the way, love the onesie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Strange that you mention that book, we were emptying my Grandmothers house last week (she sadly passed last month) before our trip and we found that very book. I’m sure it was a sign!
      I really hope you get to cross it off, it was magical. I’ve become obsessed with looking at photos of it and really want to see it again.
      Ha, I could be doing with that onesie today snowstorm on route!


  7. I was lucky enough to see the northern lights many times in Iceland! It is mesmerizing. I remember one particular night we were out skating on the make-shift ice rink (they would cover the basketball court next to the high school with several inches of water every winter). I will never forget that night… watching the light dance and change colors as it snaked across the cool, clear, star-studded night sky. Some day, I hope to return as an adult.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Travel Inspire Connect and commented:
    I was fortunate enough to see the northern lights many times in Iceland! It is mesmerizing. I remember one particular night we were out skating on the make-shift ice rink (they would cover the basketball court next to the high school with several inches of water every winter). I will never forget that night… watching the light dance and change colors as it snaked across the cool, clear, star-studded night sky. Some day, I hope to return as an adult.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is such a dream trip for me! One day! I want to go in the dead of winter though for the most optimal time. Yeah, accepting a car ride from a stranger in a foreign land isn’t a good idea. My uncle’s wife went up to Canada chasing the northern lights and got some gorgeous pictures after days of them. She’s a wonderful photographer, National Geographic wanted to hire her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really that’s amazing! Yeah my photos are really poor when you see some of the National Geographical ones, I saw one the other day from Finland and it was insane, I’d love to catch the lights looking that powerful.
      Yeah I’m glad we didn’t take a ride although I do think he was being genuine, you just never know!
      I hope you get the chance to see them it was a dream!


  10. Iceland is indeed beautiful and shows us how two extremely contrasting things can co-exist together ( fire and ice). Its a place where can can hike up to places and just be you and by you.

    A fun fact is that Iceland is bit costly except for cold water, hot water and electricity. Another fun fact is more sheep than the no of people.

    Iceland is a place, you wanna visit again and again and again… as almost all the imaginable things in nature, you find at one place and this includes the special one, The Northern Lights, when nature plays disco lights for us. Seeing the Northern lights dance over your head is like the best of the best, a transcendental feeling.

    And keep on sharing as in the words of Christopher MCandless, “Happiness can only be felt when shared”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is and incredible place. Our tour guide on one of trips joked about the fact that hot water is the only thing that is inexpensive in Iceland!
      There are more sheep that people here in Scotland too!

      I definitely would go back to Iceland over and over again, so much to see!

      That quote is a new one to me but I love it!


  11. I am dying to see this! I actually want to to Norway and see it but I also REALLY want to see Norway in summer sooooo… who knows when it’ll happen (also, baby one and the next baby two really impede my travel plans). I can’t wait to read more about Iceland!!!! I like how I went in May and just did my first real trip recap and you want LAST WEEK and have yours up! I’m a slacker.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha to be fair, you explored the WHOLE of Iceland and we honestly didn’t see all that much, I feel like we missed out on so much going in winter but Seeing the lights was worth it…. I’ll just have to go back in summer some time!!
      Haha I’ve been ill and have cabin fever that’s why I’ve been blogging .. you have a baby, a job and school!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Nice text, Iceland is my dream place to visit someday. We see northern lights every year here in southern Finland but they arent as colourfull and vibrant as in Lapland. I have seen them many many times but still I could watch them over and over again. In the winter if the sky is clear I go check every night if the lights are there. Its easy because I live in a place without any citylights.

    Liked by 2 people

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