It was the first time I was going so close to the Arctic Circle. It was a cold January night and everything was dark outside. As the flight attendant announced that our flight is going to land shortly at Keflavik airport, I kept my eyes open and stared outside the window. I wanted to see how it feels like to land at the northern most capital in the world. Also I wanted to be sure that the plane is landing correctly on the ice. I was a bit sceptical about the landing on ice. Suddenly the whole black canvas changed into white and we landed perfectly on the runway. To my relief the runway was clear and only with little snow on it.
I managed to take the bus to my hostel in Reykjavik. The public transport is good in Iceland. It took around 1 hour to reach there and it was around 2 in the night or morning, whatever you like to call it. Every thing was black and white. I was the last person to get down from the bus. I walked to my hostel gate in knee deep snow and luckily a young lady came to the door. I was doubtful of seeing anyone at the door at 2'o clock in the morning. She did all the required formalities and I headed towards my dorm with a fresh set of bedding given to me.
I had not planned anything except the northern lights tour. But the Japanese girl in my dorm suggested me to go for the golden circle tour. And I could manage to get a seat in the last available tour. It was 10 in the morning and still it was dark outside. A mini bus came to pick me up from the hostel. And i joined the main bus at the Reykjavik city center. Slowly the darkness started fading and I could see what a snow desert looks like. Wind blowing snow just as you see in the sand desert. Everything white. All barren. No human settlement for miles and miles. In a way it was a bit scary even. The bus was outside the city and we were heading towards thingvellir national park. Where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. The view was something out of the world. Everything white. Just pure white. I had never seen something so pure in my life. I somehow managed to take few photos but it was spine chilling cold. Even my camera was not functioning properly. Then we headed to Gulfoss waterfall. Again a beauty to experience. A partially frozen waterfall. It was tough to take out my hands and operate the camera there.
The last major stop was the Strokkur, Geyser. I came to know that the word "GEYSER" originated from here. It was a fascinating view. In a cold desert, a natural phenomenon, water bursting upwards from ground to about 50 ft in the air.
The bus now headed towards Reykjavik via a geo thermal power plant. I came to know that 99% of energy generated in Iceland is from geo thermal heat. On the way I came to know several interesting facts about Iceland. Like what is the role of women in the society, and how people came to Iceland in the starting, or for e.g. average count of cars per person in 1.7 in Iceland, etc etc. The bus reached the city centre and I got into another bus for the tour that I had come for. The northern lights tour. And did I mention, I survived the whole day on coke and chips. yes, because you just cannot get anything vegetarian over there, specially when outside Reykjavik.
The Japanese girl from my dorm had tried for northern lights 2 times consecutively and was not lucky to see it. She wished me good luck in the morning for my attempt at northern lights. I met few more people in my bus who were coming for the 2nd or 3rd time because they were not lucky enough to see it. But I knew I was going to see the lights tonight. I had done all the possible research from following the cloud coverage, moon calendar to auroras intensity prediction. Everything seemed to be lying in the perfect quadrant.
I was ready with my camera on the tripod at the sea shore in the dark waiting for the lights to show up. Nothing showed up. I still waited. It was a chilling 15 deg below zero with a wind speed of 15 mph. I was determined to not miss any part of the light show. I was alone there but nothing could deter me from waiting for the lights. And then finally I surrendered and headed back to the bus. Came to know that everyone was waiting for me and decided to head towards some other location. As the guide was preparing us for disappointment, I saw a white streak in the sky. The guide also noticed it and asked the driver to stop somewhere safe.
And there it was. "aurora borealis". The best light show on earth. The most magnificent phenomenon I could have ever imagined. It was something out of the world for me. Out of my imaginations. The green light moving like a wave in water. I was awestruck. I just cannot describe the feeling I had at that time. I felt like crying. I felt like screaming with joy and excitement. My trip was successful.
I will say one thing. Do not stop right here at this blog or my story. Go!!! See that beautiful thing. Experience it!! Feel the magic of NATURE!!