Saturday, January 13, 2018

Exploring the South of Iceland

The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Iceland Hotel Range Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga ReviewWhy hello there, and welcome to Iceland post numero dos. If you missed the first post and would like to have a wee read then you can find it here! So, you know what we got up to on the first half of our trip... but what about the second? Well, after I left you in the last post, we made our way down South to Hotel Ranga (in fact we had a very interesting stop along the way at a centre where you can step inside a box and experience what a real life earthquake would feel like. But the less said about that the better because I almost pood myself). As we pulled up to Hotel Ranga I knew instantly I was going to like it there; it's completely isolated and has a real air of adventure to it. 

We checked in and met lovely Frederic, the manager, who instantly made us feel at home. In all honestly I'd go back to Ranga just for him, he makes the time for every single guest at the hotel and is just a truly lovely, interesting man. He did, however, make us taste fermented shark which is something I will forever hold against him. I thought, 'sure, this'll be a fun bucketlist type thing' before the smell hit me and I almost passed out. Still, if you get the chance to do it then do it, life is short and you might as well try as many, um, interesting foods as you can while you're here. He also made us do a shot of Black Death (Iceland's signature spirit) which is not quite as awful as it sounds, in fact it was almost welcome after the shark. Anyway, I digress, back to the hotel. The rooms range from small, quite basic ones that feel much like your own little log cabin and range to large suites that are designed to look like each of the seven continents; so you could go from Antarctica to the African plains in just a few steps. However, I imagine you'll spend the majority of the time in the rest of the hotel as there's just so much to do. There's a couple of large hot tubs outside where you can sit and watch the stars or, all going well, the Northern Lights (pretty magical, huh?), there's an astronomy room with nightly stargazing, there's a games room, there's a bar and there's the big dining room serving up lots of delicious food. Now, if you go you NEED to try the mushroom soup. You might be sitting thinking, 'it's mushroom soup, how good can it be?' or, 'no, Amy, I don't like mushroom soup' but, trust me, you have to try it. 

However, possibly the most important feature of the hotel is this: because it's down south and so isolated you're in with a very, very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. When I went to Iceland a couple of years ago I tried every night and the most I saw was a few wee white squiggles in the sky so I was skeptical. However, on our very first night there the northern light alarm was called during dinner and the entire dining hall stopped, mid fork-to-mouth, and ran outside. Low and behold, there they were. It's such an incredible experience seeing them in real life, it's one of those moments that makes you realise we are but tiny little beings in a huge bug universe. Just beautiful. I tried to get a good photo but a) wanted to experience as much as I could with my peepers and b) am not that technologically gifted and was also caught off guard without my tripod, but I did get one photo of the lights and one of the stars which you can see SO clearly there, they're just as beautiful as the lights themselves. The hotel is very well equipped for the Northern Lights and has a drill in place where they'll come and tell you when they're out if you're in the communal areas - as well as this you can also have an alert set for your room if you'd like to be woken up if any appear during the night. And don't you worry about the cold because they have huge big snowsuits by the door that you can slip into! Just... make sure you have that tripod at the ready at all times if you want to get a good snap, ok? Tuck it in your pyjama bottoms when you sleep if you must.

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On our first full day we decided to set out and explore the South with two activities that I was absolutely terrified about... glacier hiking and snowmobiling. I'm a very accident prone person and could practically see headlines as we were on the drive over, but I am very glad to report that all went well and that I couldn't recommend both more. Glacier hiking was amazing and I really wish we'd had longer to do it and get stuck right into it! There I am above looking exactly like the opposite of someone you'd trust to hold an ice pick. Also, the photo of me with a helmet on looking up? That's me standing inside a real life glacier! I've taken to using it as my opening line at parties (I'm one step away from printing the photo off and carrying it in my wallet should the topic come up). And snowmobiling was... wow. So many emotions. I was terrified, exhilarated and hysterical all one in and I can say hands down it's one of the best things I've ever done. I let Abi drive to start because I was absolutely terrified I was going to crash and kill us and then halfway through I had a wee go and did what? Oh only almost crashed and killed us. No I'm kidding, it wasn't quite as dramatic as that but good lord as those things hard to control. However once you get into it it's the best feeling in the world... until you get up to the top of the glacier and see the views and are like, 'oh so THIS is the best feeling in the world'. It's breathtaking up there, especially when the sun is shining and it's as clear as it was that day. It's a similar feeling to the Northern Lights when you just have to stop for a wee moment to take it all in. So, absolutely another thing to add to your list if you go to Iceland! On our drive back we stopped in at Hagafloss waterfall, visited a black sand beach and met some Icelandic ponies which was amazing. Less so when they tried to bite my nipple but we've decided to put that incident behind us. And all of that is just on Hotel Ranga's back doorstep! You see what I mean about the promise of adventure? It was a totally different experience to the first half of the trip but I couldn't pick a favourite. If you get the chance to go to Iceland, do it all!

The next morning we stopped in via the Blue Lagoon, which was just as incredible as the first time I visited. After floundering about in the lovely warm water for a couple of hours - top tip, whatever you do, don't let your hair get in the water - we had some lunch at the Lava restaurant before heading on our not-so-merry way to the airport, tears streaming silently down our faces (I might have exaggerated slightly there). We flew direct with Norwegian which was great, they do direct flights three times a week in Winter for as little as £29.99 from London and the flight is a very sweet, short three hour number. They also have Wifi on board which blew my little mind. I'd also like to say the biggest thank you to Small Luxury Hotels of the World for such a wonderful trip! They've collected over 500 hotels in 80 different countries on the website and you can guarantee you'll find somewhere unique, a little special and with excellent service. I know I've spoken a bit about them before but I browse them before every trip and have never been disappointed. I honestly couldn't recommend them more!

Amy

10 comments:

The Gold Lipstick said...

Absolutely love it!

Mireia from TGL
https://thegoldlipstick.com/

Laura said...

Oh these photos are absolutely stunning! Your photos always are, but this set is just something else. I've especially fallen for that one with the little pond, the mist and the sunrise - just gorgeous! They are really, really, making me want to hop on the next plane and go to Iceland :) x

Laura // Middle of Adventure

Mariya Zafirova said...

So magical! I see a lot of bloggers going to Iceland nowadays. Hopefully, I'll go there too.

x Mariya
www.brunetteondemand.com

7SEVENDAYS said...

winter feeling, wooow

http://7-sevendays.blogspot.gr/

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

Wowwww beautiful pictures! The ponies <3 <3 <3 so cute. I'd really like to visit Iceland, mainly for the whole Blue Lagoon experience and a chance of seeing the Northern Lights!
Nicole | Nicole Laura xo

Alice said...

Your photos look so beautiful! I cannot wait to go back to Iceland again and explore more! Looks like you had a fab time x
Alice

YZ Chan said...

Gorgeous photos! Looks like you had a great time.

www.yzwears.com

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David Kalen said...

I love your publications. They are always at the highest level. Gillian