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Iceland for my 50th Birthday

Sunday, 13th July 2014

iceland northern lights over hotel ranga

Phil entered our travel writing competition, “Clash of the Protons” as featured in the 2012 edition of our Cloud 9 magazine. He went on holiday to Iceland with his wife in February 2012.

You want to go where? Iceland? In the middle of winter?

I could tell that my wife wasn’t convinced about my choice of destination for the long weekend break she said she’d treat me to for my 50th birthday. I’d have to start with a bit of logic and hope that I didn’t have to resort to the old quivering-bottom-lip-with-disappointment ploy. Which in fact had long been proved to be useless, a bit pathetic and irritating to my wife, but somehow I kept finding myself doing it.

With a smile and twinkle in my eye I said, “Yes darling, I know, but it’s a great place to see the Northern Lights – remember how great they were when Joanna Lumley saw them on TV?” I like Joanna Lumley.

“I know,” she said, “but it’s called ‘Iceland’ for a reason you know – it’ll be freezing and there’ll only be about 3 hours daylight a day!”

My wife just doesn’t do cold holidays. I explained that in fact there were around ten hours daylight at the end of February and due to the Gulf Stream, like Cornwall, it doesn’t actually get that cold – and of course we’d have to go to stay in the middle of nowhere in a four star hotel.

She tipped her head forward to one side and looked up at me suspiciously – “a four star hotel?”

“Yes, it’s called Hotel Ranga in the middle of nowhere in south Iceland, we can go there at the time of a new moon to minimise light pollution. And if we don’t happen to see the lights, there are lots of other things to do such as see some geysers, waterfalls, volcanoes… you can’t do all of that in north Norway”

“There’s really a four star hotel in the middle of nowhere in Iceland?”

I showed her the Discover the World brochure. She started to show some interest, but after a moment, said “this looks great, but you’ll no doubt be sitting out all night waiting for the sky to light up with your flask of coffee.” I explained that the hotel staff will wake you up if the lights appeared, so you don’t have to wait up.

Time for the pièce de résistance – “there’s also a place called the Blue Lagoon, which is an outdoor hot spa with massages, treatments, saunas, steam rooms, all heated by natural geothermal energy”.

“A spa? With treatments?” Now she was interested.

“Yes, and we can also spend a night in Reykjavik. It’s supposed to be a cool city, with that big church, that John Lennon peace tower thing, with lots of cafes, bars, designer shops and that big water tower complex”. (Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned the ‘water tower complex’ – doesn’t quite convey a luxury holiday).

But, I could tell I was winning her round. Iceland suddenly did not now seem to be so much of the frozen wasteland with lots of fish and bankrupt banks of folklore, but more of a chance for a bit of pampering and relaxation.

“OK, let’s book it” she said.

Job done – no need to bring the bottom lip out. I think in fact she was a bit relieved, as given that I spent my 40th birthday walking up to Everest Base Camp, I think she feared that my 50th goal would be to trek to the south pole or something. Hmmm, now there’s an idea – there’s always my 60th trip I suppose. Where’s that brochure?


Check out Hotel Ranga, and everywhere else you can stay in Iceland – and start planning your own Iceland holiday. (And if it’s a special occasion, like Phil’s, our Travel Specialists can help you really make the most of your celebrations, so do get in touch!)