Iceland 2016 – Day 2 – Top Tips For First-Time Visitors

Feb 05, 2016


Lucy’s trip to the Land of Fire and Ice continues, and let’s just say she’s been feeling more ice than fire! Keeping us updated on her fun-filled adventure, Lucy’s also been sharing her tips for any first-timers to this unique country.

Day two sees a trip to the ‘shake shack’, hardy Icelandic horses and a dip in the Secret Lagoon… shhh!

The morning begins with a trip over to the tourist information office in Hveragerdi where Cath informs us that we’re going for a ‘shake’. Fantastic! I haven’t had a milkshake in years. Turns out it wasn’t the sort of shake I was thinking of…

Instead we venture into the ‘shake shack’, a pitch black room which simulates the 6.3 magnitude earthquake similar to the one Iceland suffered in 2008. So pretty much the same thing?

As Sasha and I enter, we aren’t sure what to expect. But what follows is 20 seconds of screaming (from us) as we’re shaken and jolted in the dark, later emerging slightly worse for wear.

The small exhibition next to the shake shack also shows CCTV footage of local shops as the earthquake hit, which after having experienced the ‘shack’, makes us appreciate the footage on a whole other level.

Once we’ve recovered, we begin our journey to Laugarvatn – this is where we start to see the real Iceland. The road winds through snow-covered, volcanic landscape and we pass Icelandic horses – proper hardy creatures – pure breeds who seem perfectly at home standing amongst the snow and rugged terrain.

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Cath fills me in on top tip number two:

“If you ever need to know which way the wind is blowing, look at the horses, they always stand with their bottoms to the wind”.

For the rest of the day I am obsessed with every pack of horses we pass, looking to see if they are indeed standing with their bottoms to the wind. I have to say so far Cath seems to be right!

As the snow starts to close in, it feels like we’re in a dream world. The wind blows the swirling flakes of snow around the car and everything is white for as far as you can see. We stop at Efstidalur II, a family-run farm which makes fabulous homemade ice cream.

Walking in, we’re surprised to see the huge windows through to the barns where the very cows that produced the milk to make the ice cream are happily grazing away, coupled with a small group of calves snuggled up together, keeping each other warm.

We sit sipping our hot drinks, enjoying the cows’ company in what is simply the most wonderfully bizarre setting. Only in Iceland!

Before it gets too dark and the snow gets too heavy, we take a trip to the Secret Lagoon which is a large thermal pool set amongst volcanic rocks. The temperature is a chilly minus 3 degrees, but we brave it and make a dash from the changing rooms to the lagoon in record time.

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The icy wind hits us instantly and takes my breath away – suddenly the five-second dash seems to last forever and the warm waters seem too far away. Finally we make it, and plunging in I can start to feel my fingers and toes again as the warm geothermal waters work their magic.

It’s so quiet and peaceful that an hour passes by in a blur and, before we know it, it’s time to do the minus three weather dash again. Top tip number three, this time from Sasha and myself:

Don’t bring your towel out with you as it will inevitably freeze and become very hard to use!

Our second day in Iceland draws to a close when we arrive at the Husid Guesthouse for the evening, where it’s time to get a good night’s sleep as tomorrow we’re meeting the students from Beverley High School for a jam-packed trip.

No Northern Lights tonight, but instead vivid dreams of snow, horses and secret lagoons. Goodnight Iceland, until tomorrow.

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Missed Lucy’s first instalment? Catch up here!