As well as enjoying some of Iceland’s best attractions – Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon – on our December trip, we found some time to discover less-famed sights. The first, a brief stop on the way to the Blue Lagoon, was the Arbaer Open Air Museum. The second was the sleepy coastal town of Keflavik, which we’d never have seen had our flight not been delayed!
Officially, from September to May you can only visit Arbaer Open Air Museum by guided tour at 1pm each day – but we didn’t have sufficient time for that before our timed entrance to the Blue Lagoon at 2pm. Fortunately, we were still able to walk around the museum and see the traditional turf-roofed houses for free. I was disappointed that we couldn’t do the tour (and that the farm animals weren’t out!), but felt that it was worth the stop just to see the traditional buildings.
As you can imagine, we weren’t best pleased when we learnt – while waiting in Keflavik Airport – that our flight home had been delayed overnight. But Easyjet’s move to put us up at a hotel in Keflavik turned the setback into an unexpected opportunity to see somewhere new. By the time we’d checked into our complimentary room it was dark and too late to do anything but sleep, but the next morning I was up at the crack of dawn (about 10am) to get out and explore.
Discovering that our hotel backed onto the sea, we decided to walk along the coast and see what we found. The path passed a couple of large volcanic rocks cleverly sculpted to look like a man and a woman, and eventually reached a magnificent rusting ship that it was possible to climb aboard. This alone was worth the walk!
All too soon we had to head back to the hotel for a complimentary buffet lunch at the neighbouring Thai restaurant, before a bus would arrive to return us to the airport. On our return we were rewarded by a glorious sunrise, setting the sky aflame in a way I’ve never seen at a lower latitude. It was an unexpected but fitting end to our first trip to Iceland – a country that never ceases to surprise.
All text and photos (c) Juliet Langton, December 2016. All rights reserved.