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The GYPSIES that stole my heart (Iceland Part.2)

Let’s get this exciting journey started.

Iceland | Image by Chantelle Flores |

I arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland after a 30-hour flight from South Africa. You could get here in a little under 16 hours on direct flights, however, I opted for the cheaper latter. Long waits at airports meant extra time to meet new people from all corners of the world.

I arrived early evening at The Capital Inn on a night’s board of R280 in a 10-bed dorm. I was welcomed by 2 Moroccan ex-pats (Taha & Walid), One guy from Switzerland (Steven), A South Korean (Kate), A Slovenian girl (Sanja), a British guy (Ben), One American (Gia) & one French girl (Martine). 90 % of solo like-minded travelers looking for their own adventures who were destined to meet. Life-long friendships were forged as meaningful stories and experiences began to be shared.

As the days went on, we encountered a few other people that added to our story. Evenings were spent in the Capital Crowd basement where we cooked our communal dinners and took pleasure in sharing and dancing to our favorite songs from our hometowns. We created unique memories whilst we joined in the celebration and taught each other how to sing Happy Birthday in our home tongues, amongst other rare words we learned from these favorite gypsies. This is rather fun to do, and a first-time experience for all of us. The Happy Birthday song is a universal language we all speak, yet sounds so unique and different amongst all these cultures. I would like to challenge you to try this on your next trip and send me a video recording of all the people you meet on your journey singing this in their home tongue. Let’s start our own cappella group of Happy Birthday Songs.

We formed a diverse team with a pool of travel expertise that collectively made our experiences. We were so tight that Taha created a private Facebook group – Capital Crowd 1012, to post our unique and crazy pictures from our trip. It’s private because it got pretty crazy most nights while everyone expressed his or her individuality.

Drinking in Iceland is a no-go, and can be rarely afforded. Import prices and taxes make it one of the most expensive countries in the world to have a drink in. To put it into perspective, a bottle of Amarula in South Africa would cost around R89 a bottle, and in Iceland over R1200. An R50 bottle of wine from Stellenbosch would cost an average of R400. A pint of beer would cost you anything from R98.00. And that is their local beers – Viking & Polar Beer.

I would highly recommend buying as many drinks as you are allowed at their airports duty-free prior to flying into the country.

Drinks aside, the people you will meet in Iceland, will keep you entertained for hours.

Most nights, as 11 pm approached we suited and geared up for our evenings ahead in Iceland’s extreme weather conditions to chase the northern lights. 9 of us filled our 2 rented cars and headed to mountainous locations out of sight of city lights. Usually, our journeys out of Reykjavik lasted 45 min to an hour but offered the best-untouched views of the northern lights. We stayed out till 4 in the morning most nights.

Iceland | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Steven and Gia were the best coordinators in establishing visibility of the Aurora Borealis and had a good understanding of the factors involved in viewing these like hPa numbers and cloud cover types; lower, middle & high clouds. I took one look at Vendur – Iceland’s preferred website for measuring activity and my lack of a geological understanding and degree thereof was to my disadvantage. My knowledge extended thus far “Does 4 mean we can see the lights?”.

Have a look at this in your effort to understand me on this:

By night 3, we all became pros & tour operators by acquiring Gia & Stevens’s understanding of the Auroras – To the point that I ran my own Northern Lights tours in Northern Norway – a country I was yet to visit. Only on arriving, did I realize I had learned so much from these two incredible jet setters.

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