The astonishing beauty of Iceland
Ok, we admit it, Iceland is high on our Bucketlist right now! So when we came across a fellow wanderluster who had actually been, we just had to get him to write our next You’ve Been Where post. Thomas Pamon is a seasoned traveller, but Iceland stands out as a favourite – and it’s not hard to see why. We challenge you not to want to go after reading this post!
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Hi, I am Tom and I am currently studying for my master’s degree reading Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. Alongside my degree, I am a part-time waiter (to pay for my travels).
Where is home?
I am currently living in Exeter, Devon, however I grew up in Derby, which is in the middle of England.
Where have you been? When did you go?
During exam season, at the beginning of January 17, I visited Iceland for five days to get away from the stress.
Who did you travel with?
On this particular trip, I travelled by myself.
What were the highlights?
For me the highlights of this trip was exploring the south coast especially around Vik and Reynisfjara Beach. The natural formation of this island is astonishing and I highly recommended exploring this area.
What did you least like about your trip?
For me (as a backpacker) unfortunately the rumours are true, this place is very expensive! Be aware Iceland is not known for its food and you can pay a pretty price for mediocre food and service. This applies for shopping in the supermarkets as well. But this was not enough to put me off wanting to go back.
Do you have any funny stories from your travels?
I have from other travels, but from this particular trip I would have to recommend the Game of Thrones tour run by ‘GrayLine’ our tour guide was an extra from the HBO TV series and made the day most memorable and humorous. This trip is a must-do if you enjoy the series and I hope he gets recognition for his efforts in providing an amazing experience to all his guests. (p.s. he runs the tour as if he is still on set, so if you don’t like “banterous” swearing and anger, this may not be for you)
What were the locals like?
The locals were very friendly, something Iceland is known for. Interestingly, the number of tourists exceeds the number of Icelandic folk at any given point. To put this in perspective there are not many Icelandic people around.
What was the food like?
Food comes at a price and is not my greatest memory of Iceland. I took snacks over knowing the prices of food and also budgeted by using the supermarket and preparing my food in the hostel. I did eat out one night and for one person with a drink and a burger (if I remember correctly) the price was around £28.
Did you learn anything about yourself or the world on this trip.
I have travelled to a fair number of places in the world and Iceland truly is one of the most unique and accessible places by far. They now operate a budget airline WOWair along with Icelandic Air who have frequent flights from England and good connections to America. The scenery here is breathtaking (so wrap up warm to get out and see it!).
Would you recommend others travel here?
I would highly recommend visiting Iceland! Five days was not long enough to explore all the places I wanted to. I feel this is a trip for families with older children who would appreciate the views and also for couples and solo travellers. There’s not really much to do with younger kids and remember (in January) they only have four to five hours of sunlight which can get confusing so use your time wisely.
Do you have any tips for people thinking of travelling here?
It can be done on a budget if you are a super-saver, if not save a fair amount of money and then some more. When you arrive, you realise there is so much more to do and see and that it is completely different from the landscape most tourists visit. Get off the beaten tracks (but stay on the roads in the car as it’s illegal to go off-roading) the natural beauty of this place is all around, although I went on my tours using travel companies, the roads were quiet and well sign-posted and if you are comfortable driving in snow I would recommend hiring a car so you can stop on the side of the road to take in the amazing views.
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