Iceland is a place that I had always wanted to visit and luckily for me this was the destination of our family holidays this summer. And I wasn’t disappointed…
Holidays started with a great family reunion in Hamburg, Germany to go on-board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth cruise ship. This is the second time we take a Cunard cruise, being last time on-board Queen Mary 2 which is actually cataloged as an ocean liner instead of a cruise ship – this means QM2 is a bigger ship and can sail faster… however Queen Elizabeth didn’t fail to deliver!
After a warm farewell from the people of Hamburg, we started on a journey across the North Sea that would take us through three countries: Scotland, Iceland and Norway.
The first stop was Edinburgh, Scotland, which for a change was very sunny and warm. Although I had already been there before, it was a great day out enjoying the city, walking the royal mile, remembering my previous visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and even having an amazing lunch at The Dome. After Edinburgh, we spent two days at sea while we travelled to our next destination: Iceland.
Our first Icelandic stop was Reykjavik, the capital city. It was misty and cold in the early morning, but not as cold as I expected. Here we took a typical tour called The Golden Circle which took us to a few interesting spots including a geothermal power plant, the famous Geysir, the union of the American and European tectonic plates, etc. It was definitely an amazing experience, and once you see it you understand why they say Iceland was created by fire, shaped by ice.
The next stops were Ísafjörður and Akureyri which, although they are quite different one from the other, were also quite impressive. Ísafjörður is a very small place with not much to do, but the scenery is impressive and we enjoyed walking around and eating local food. Akureyri on the other hand is slightly the opposite… the city is not the most impressive but there are lots of things to do in the surrounding areas… therefore we hired a car and drove to amazing places including a volcanic crater, the impressive lake Mývatn, the waterfall Goðafoss and others… In the morning it was extremely foggy, making driving a bit tiring, but as the sun rose the day got warmer and clearer and we enjoyed amazing weather.
After leaving Iceland and another two days at sea we reached our last port of call: Bergen. Famous for being the wettest port in Europe, it is also a very nice place to visit with amazing views of the old harbour, the fish market and the old houses. Being my second visit to this city we definitely took a more relaxed approach and we enjoyed it a lot.
And so our holidays came to an end after another day at sea on our route back to Hamburg. It was a great and relaxing experience… not only were the ports of call great, but also the experience on-board QE with its great service, enjoying some champagne in the balcony, black tie dinners and simple treats like the afternoon tea have truly made these holidays an unforgettable experience.
Below are some pictures from the trip… and further below a video compilation prepared by Mary.
And the video…