It was the very last treat of the year, one before he starts his new job, a treat without the children and one last chance of travel in my 40th birthday year. Lucky us, we went to Iceland. A last minute thought, a wonderfully weird country with stunning scenery which could not have been imagined.
A trip starts at the airport, excited glasses of wine watching the planes take off to distant lands. No children needing a poo, no one saying they didn't like their dinner or wanting to look in the toy shop. Instead a bar, full of adults, being civilised and thrilled at the same time. Sometimes the airport is the most exciting part - the anticipation, the thought of being somewhere completely different in a few hours, the no-mans land feeling, the people, the wondering and the watching.
Reykjavik is small. Perfectly formed, cold but really small. Incredible views from the harbour, where imagined whales are hauled ashore after their unfortunate harpooning, over to the mountainous parts of the craggy archipelago. Christmas-like houses dotted the city with their red walls and white corrugated roofs. The shops sold thick Icelandic wool jumpers, itchy and scratchy but warm and waterproof. We went around museums without anyone shouting "I'm BOOOOORED!" and learnt about the Vikings who settled on this strange but intriguing island. We had coffees which costed a small fortune, beers which broke the bank and he even tried smoked puffin. Sorry.
The scenery was wild and desolate, volcanic, grey and smoking with hot pools, fumeroles and geysirs which erupted to the delight of onlookers. Waterfalls cascaded dramatically, glaciers spotted in the distance and horses wandered about rugged and pure. The weather changed in minutes making us feel vulnerable and adventurous, the Northern Lights were pursued and not found and I felt I could live here, just for year - to see if I could do a winter.
But I really wanted to show the kids this land, we might have to go back so they can bob in the waters of the Blue Lagoon, so they can find the Northern Lights with us, so we can trek over a glacier together and ride a horse through the volcanic desert.
It was really fun by ourselves, but would be different and possibly better with the children.