A quiet weekend in Reykjavik…

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

My weekend really got started on Thursday evening at the opening of the European Film Festival in Reykjavik’s Bio Paradis. This oh-so-cultured affair for artsy young hipsters and an older generation of wannabe film critics was somewhat gatecrashed by a large party of Erasmus students, arriving to take advantage of the perhaps slightly too well advertised free drinks, not to mention free entertainment. The majority of us went to see the highly acclaimed Belgian film, ‘Broken Circle Breakdown’, which turned out to be not quite the pre-party we had in mind, despite the large quantities of wine and beer available before and after. It was beautifully filmed, with some amazing acting and an incredible soundtrack of Bluegrass music to accompany it, but oh my god, it was SO depressing. I haven’t cried as much since ‘The Notebook’. It truly was catharsis at its most extreme (Aristotle would have been proud)…

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Girls on Tour (Part II)

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

My third weekend in Iceland was spent mostly in a luckily fairly spacious Ford Galaxy, with six other girls and a lot of luggage. We decided to do another road trip, this time across the South of Iceland, to visit Jökulsárlón (a spectacular glacial lagoon in the South East).

We were picked up bright and early on Saturday morning by the car rental company, and bundled into a large minibus, which we had at first assumed was actually the car we had ordered. To the relief of our two drivers we were then driven to our slightly more road friendly Ford, where after some initial fun working out exactly how to use an automatic, and then a few accidental laps of the industrial estate we had been driven to, we were finally on our way.

We lasted about half an hour before our first coffee break, and then began our…

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Girls on Tour (Part 1)

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

Last weekend, myself and seven other girls hired two cars to do our own tour of the famed ‘Golden Circle’.  All cars in Iceland seem to be either white or grey, so obviously we were given two bright red cars. Unfortunately being the youngest by at least a year and being from England where we drive on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car, I was everyone’s last choice to drive. I took this in good grace, insisting on shotgun all the way. IMG_0227IMG_0229

After several coffee stops to break up the journey, we started the Golden Circle tour at the furthest point away, a huge waterfall called Gullfoss. This was certainly very impressive, but with so many tourists that it was hard to appreciate it fully (having been here for three weeks now obviously I can now class myself as a local). Nevertheless we…

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Tourists in Reykjavik!

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

Bright and early on Thursday morning my first visitor (Meg) from England arrived, bringing the good weather with her, which resulted in my sunniest and warmest day in Iceland so far! Obviously we took advantage of this to be as touristy as possible, taking photos all around Reykjavik. Image

We trialled the local cuisine, ranging from Bæjarins Beztu: Image (supposedly the best hot dog stand in the world as claimed by The Guardian, and endorsed by Bill Clinton), to a slightly classier fare of Icelandic Tapas at Tapas Barinn, where we tried puffin and whale.

Eventually we inevitably ended up making our way to what can only be described as a unique attraction: the infamous Icelandic Phallological Museum. What an experience! I’m not entirely sure what we were expecting, but I think it’s safe to say that by the end of one circuit of the relatively small museum, we had both seen…

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Moving day tomorrow!

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

This past week has been a whirlwind of Icelandic beer and new experiences!

On Wednesday we had our orientation meeting, where we found out useful things like the fact that 2 out of my 4 lectures a week clash, and that all of the university buildings are ridiculously hard to pronounce, but are connected by underground passages so we should be able to avoid the bad weather as much as possible. We also met with our ‘mentors’, and mine is actually a girl who studied at Durham last year, so she knows exactly how I feel! She gave us a tour and some important information we might not have known otherwise; it is considered very rude to blow your nose in public in Iceland, and far more polite to sniff continuously.

I went swimming with a group of girls – also a bizarre experience, for a Brit anyway! Firstly, swimming…

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Officially arrived!

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

Flight to icelandYesterday was definitely the start of an adventure. Trying to get my suitcases under the weight limit was a bit of a struggle, but otherwise the journey to Iceland was fairly smooth. It marked the start of what has become a bit of a theme, with the airhostesses speaking to me in rapid Icelandic while I just nod and smile, hoping they’ll pause at some point for me to be able to mumble something about being English.

Once I’d landed and negotiated baggage claim and customs, (made more tricky by the fact I obviously look a bit dodgy so I was taken aside to have all of my possessions scanned!), the journey from Keflavik to Reykjavik was actually surprisingly easy, as the bus took me straight to the door of my hostel. I guess you get what you pay for, but at £55 a night the hostel I’m staying in…

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Less than four weeks to go!

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Adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice

With just under four weeks to go until I fly out to Iceland, the whole experience is still feeling very surreal! I’ve been taking eBay by storm these past few weeks, selling everything from clothes and jewellery to a 12-man tent. My aim was to save money to spend on the incredible sights that Iceland has to offer, and to allow for the extra cost of alcohol (no Quaddies for four months!). Unfortunately I then made the mistake of heading to Cheshire Oaks outlet village on my most recent day off. As a result I am once again financially constrained, but on the bright side I feel far more prepared for Iceland, having invested in a coat, some jumpers, thermals, boots, and a suitcase to take as cabin baggage to maximise my packing space. How I am going to fit my entire life into a mere 33kg I have NO idea…

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