Alhamdulillah, in winter break 2016, I was blessed to see the magical beauty of this world. I went to Iceland. Many thanks to my travel mates who had braved the storm together, were willing to drive us despite the long hours and bad visibility, arranged the itinerary, vehicles and many more things that they have done. Thanks for letting me be part of your trip.
We also had the chance to visit one of the three Islamic Centers. The one we visited is in Reykjavik near The Pearl. We were heartily welcomed and served with tea and biscuit after Subh. The Muslim population in Iceland is about 2000 people, mostly are immigrants. However, only about 800 of them are registered because some may not be practising and some may be scared to do so.
Interestingly, this building was once a pub. If you step into it you can be a witness to this statement as you will see the spotlights and a bar. They say that this place is meant to be a mosque as they have not changed a single thing of the structure except just adding carpet.
Tips and reminders
- If you go in winter, make sure you are well prepared, bring proper attire.
- Heat pad might help supplying heat to your peripheries
- We stayed in campervan, the main problem is toilet. We were there during Christmas, so many stations and shops were closed.
- People in Iceland are nice. They offer help straightaway when needed. However, take care of your safety as well. We were harassed one night. Thank God, the van was locked and phone was working that we could call the police. Emergency number is 112. Make sure you have a way to connect with your mates.
- Hotels let you use their toilets for free. So does the gas station.
- Foods are really expensive. One bottle of 500ml of water can cost about GBP 2. Bring food and snacks from where you are if possible. We had one food luggage checked in.
- If you are flying with Wow Air, be sure to check the luggage size. They only take small cabin luggage. I had to upgrade and pay for larger cabin luggage.
- Cold water from the tap is clean and drinkable, anywhere in Iceland.
- Driving can be a pain in harsh weather - gales, snowstorms which render the stability of the vehicle at risk, not to mention the very poor visibility and the slippery road with almost no demarcations. The driving skills of those who have passed it certainly deserve some glorification. Make sure you check the weather forecast, road websites if you want to prove yourself a commendable navigator.
- Aurora doesn’t look green through naked eyes, unless it is really strong. I have seen green ones, fortunate. Check by snapping it using your camera. It usually looks like white lights in the sky. If you can see the stars (clear sky), most prob can see aurora too. Check aurora strength in the website.
- Make sure you bring a tripod for nice aurora photos.
- If you wanna go to the Blue Lagoon or Ice caving, book your place about 3 months beforehand.