Spending a birthday in the Icelandic wilderness, nature brought me the best birthday gift I could ever wish for, an incredible display of the Northern Lights.
Adding to my eclectic selection of birthday gifts, being able to shower and shave my armpits was up there with being the most incredible. Next, a generous amount of beer was laid on, several people planting one into my hand as they saw the previous one empty. Sitting around the campfire after an amazing meal, I was chuffed my birthday landed on a Friday.
About midnight a beam of light was fading into view, almost looking like an illuminated cloud. With the group confirming our suspicions Johannes, Pip, Cal, Marianne and I went up onto the side of Valahnukur to lay on the earth and watch the dancing lights as more and more came into view.
The solar winds blew the whitish light around quicker than I would have imagined, and we had to carefully watch all sides as beams of candle like spikes came into view. Our happy state accelerated with ‘wows’ at every dancelike movement and we easily whiled away the three hours of darkness on the hillside, huddling for warmth.
The next night, despite dropping eyelids, no one was going to risk going to sleep. Post bonfire we huddled into the hut making hot drinks until it was dark enough to head outside and watch the night sky. Some stood with tripods set up, some brought out bedding to lie on the ground. Once again the dancing lights did not disappoint. In Norse mythology, the aurora was a fire bridge to the sky built by the gods. Running west to east, beams of light flitted and danced, illuminating the mountains from the darkness and allowing us to understand how this magical land is so steeped in myth and legend.