Highlights from my 2018 Iceland Trip


Far view of the sunlight reflecting off the ice at Crystal Beach in Southeast Iceland; on October 27

Nora Voght, Reporter

On October 24 around 11:40 pm (Central Daylight Time), I left O’Hare International Airport for Reykjavik, Iceland, the Northmost Capital of the world. At 5:56 am (Central Daylight Time) the wheels touched down at Keflavik International Airport.

My mother, grandmother, and I wanted to go to Iceland solely for the experience. We have, for years, hoped to see the beauty of Iceland and finally got the chance to. We went on this trip because we found a good deal on a vacation listing site (which included tours, the flight, and the hotel).

My goal was to see everything I could. I hoped to see the beauties of Iceland, but most of all the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). I didn’t know how much Iceland had to offer.

Iceland was established in 874 and there settled Vikings, very quickly. Iceland is approximately 39,769 square miles large with a population of 338,349 people. In comparison Wisconsin is 65,489 square miles large with a population of 5.975 million people.

In Iceland their currency isn’t euros, but the Icelandic Krona. Their official language is Icelandic, however, you might be surprised at how many people you hear speaking English (even Native Icelandics).

My initial feelings were mixed; I was excited to be there but also nervous about the trip and the tours. The trip was different than anywhere I had ever been, but ironically the weather is very similar to Wisconsin’s.

On the first and second night, I saw the Northern Lights. On October 25 at 11:00 pm Greenwich Mean Time until 11:20 pm Greenwich Mean Time, the Northern lights lit up the sky in a dull green color.

On October 26 at 9:24 Greenwich Mean Time until 9:47 Greenwich Mean Time, the Northern Lights light up the sky in a bright green and blue color, with some dull orange.

The most common colors of the Northern Lights are green and blue and uncommon colors are red, orange, pink, and purple. The chances of seeing the Northern Lights depends on the sky.

If it is very cloudy, rainy, or snowy chances of seeing the Northern Lights is slim to none. However, if the sky is clear the chances are high.

On October 26, we toured the South Coast and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. We saw two waterfalls: the Glacier Lagoon, and Crystal Beach.

On October 27, we went on the Golden Circle tour. We saw three waterfalls, the Thingvellir National Park, the junction of two tectonic plates, the Geyser Hot Springs, and a historical church with an underground museum and underground tunnel.

At the Thingvellir National Park, we saw the Oxararfoss Waterfall. If you are familiar with the television show “Game of Thrones,” you may recognize this waterfall from some scenes.

Iceland is a popular place for movies and television shows to be filmed. The films “A View to Kill,” “Die Another Day,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” and “Batman Begins” were all filmed at the Glacier Lagoon.

On October 27, we saw the Geyser Hot Springs. This is a geothermal are that is covered by a lot of hot springs and geysers. One famous geyser is Geysir, the namesake of all geyers.  Another hot spring, Strokkur, very active with eruptions every few minutes.

“In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And theres this strange thing: you’re never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well,” Hannah Kent.