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Counting down the hours to the next trip

The Land of Ice and Fire

After the disastrous holiday to Kyrgyzstan in 2010 (long story, but in a nutshell the group dynamics were completely shot to pieces, mainly because of one woman) we vowed never to travel in a group again, but in planning this trip we have reluctantly booked another group tour.

The trip came about after seeing an advert on London Underground for a weekend to Iceland to see the Northern Lights for £399, but the more we looked into it, the more we realised we wanted to go for longer than that. Not only is there so much to see in Iceland (of course, we will only be able to 'see' some of sites we visit because the short daylight hours means it will be light late and dark early – sunrise is at 11:30 and it sets at 15:30), but we also wanted the maximum chance of seeing the Northern Lights, especially as this winter is said to be the best in 50 years to view this great natural show! Hence we settled on a one week trip. Aurora borealis occurs mainly on the magnetic pole, so the further north you go the greater your chances are of witnessing the show. As the most sparsely populated country in Europe, with almost negligible levels of light pollution and positioned on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is said to be the ideal place to view the Aurora Borealis.

Next was planning how to do the trip – the initial idea was to rent a self-catering apartment and a car, but when we looked into it, the group tour actually cost less than the price of just the apartment and car hire, without any of the entrance fees, petrol, meals or guiding. Plus, as the website points out: “the program includes a special six night Northern Lights Academy – with 6 evenings of presentations, lectures and guided tours at spots likely to offer a glimpse of the Northern Lights”. That clinched it for me, and should hopefully increase our chances of seeing the lights.

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Some amazing photos of Northern Lights in Iceland here

Let's just hope the weather cooperates – the forecast isn't looking too great at the moment. I am sure many of you can remember our ill-fated trip to Greenland to see the northern lights three years ago: we planned to travel there during December for the best chance of seeing the aurora – the week before we were there it was -35 °C, the week after we returned to the UK it was -35 °C; the week we were there, it was +5 °C! Not only was it the hottest New Year on record, it was warmer than the UK, all the snow melted so we were unable to go dog sledding and skiddoing as planned, and the warmer weather meant more cloud cover, so the Northern Lights never made a single appearance all week.

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So, there it is – we are off to West and South East Iceland for a week on a coach tour with 38 other people. With such a full program (day and night), I am not sure when I shall have time to write my blog, although with the Icelandic prices, we won't be spending much time in the bar...

Posted by Grete Howard 11:00 Archived in United Kingdom

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Comments

Good Luck. I'll keep checking in to see if you have indeed managed to do updates.
I hope you get to see the lights!!!

by Homer Gardin

Thanks Homer, I am getting pretty excited now!

by Grete Howard

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