I have nine days off from work now with my usual three day long weekend followed by a week's annual leave. I will have a lot to think about during this time and plenty of time in which to do it. for on Monday, I am off to Iceland for five whole days. It will be the first time I have visited outside the summer season, after six previous visits, so this be a little different for me. I normally visit the West Country at this time of year, but felt like a drastic change instead, so knowing that this is the peak time for the Northern Lights and that there were at the moment some very good deals, decided to go here instead.
With a little help from my friends at Trivago, I have managed to find a very cheap room for £8 a night, which can't be bad. It is only a sleeping bag place, but this will do me just fine. I will have to take checked baggage anyway as you are no longer allowed to carry a tripod on board a plane - something about them deemed an offensive weapon - ridiculous I know. A tripod will however be a necessity for photographing those lights.
The Lights are the main reason for this visit, but by happy coincidence, the Imagine Peace Tower is also being activated during my trip. This is a marble monument located on Videy Island out in Reykjavik Bay which serves as a beacon of light and testament to John Lennon, inaugurated by his widow Yoko Ono some years previously. The words "Imagine Peace" are inscribed around the base of the monument in many different languages, and beneath it, hidden within are prisms of light which when activated light up the Reykjavik skyline for many miles around. The tower is activated each year on John's birthday of October 9th where it remains lighting up the sky until his death date two months later. Yoko Ono normally travels to Iceland for the ceremony which is a highlight of the Reykjavik calendar at this time of year - free buses and ferries are laid on for this very special event.
My trip then is perfectly timed to coincide with both this and the New Moon - generally considered to be the best time for Northern Lights, since this is when the sky is darkest. A lot of course depends on the weather and the amount of cloud cover, but the forecast is good for most of the week, so I am hopeful that I will be able to see something.
No trip to Iceland would be complete with a visit to the Blue Lagoon, and of course the Golden Circle - Thingvellir is beautiful at this time of year with the autumn colours, and so both of these have also been booked. All in all then it should be a good week.