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Not A Ballerina

Cruising past glaciers in Iceland

Eye-opening and jaw-dropping

Iceland is the land of wide eyes and dropped jaws, because there’s something amazing around every corner. And while beautiful landscapes might not usually capture every kid’s imagination, the scenes in Iceland are so iconic that my five-year-old was totally converted.

One of the most fascinating displays from nature was at the Glacier Lagoon at Jökulsárlón, about two thirds of the way along Iceland’s south coast from Reykjavík. It’s the kind of place where you see photos online before you go and are quite sure that the photographer is cheating you, but then you arrive and it’s even more amazing than you ever imagined.

We got there early - thanks to the midnight sun, my son both went to bed late and got up very early in Iceland - and were able to walk around on the beach in front of the lagoon before the cruises began. This “beach” is unlike anything we know: it’s covered in a coarse black sand and, on top of that, broken off pieces of glacier, some as big as cars and others small enough to pick up for a while (until your hands freeze). My son lasted about fifteen minutes before declaring it all too cold (and this in mid-summer!), so we needed a stint back in the warmth of the car before heading to the lagoon proper.

Here we joined an amphibious boat tour. You can imagine that there’s not much that would tickle the fancy of a five-year-old boy more than seeing your “boat” drive up on four big tyres. Lifejackets on and we drove down to the water and then cruised around the lagoon, next to enormous chunks of the glacier which are headed for the sea.

Our Icelandic guide was tough - he could pick up a chunk of ice and hold it in his bare hands for five minutes while he explained just how it had formed and what had happened to it since. He then pulled out a small chisel to break off bite-size pieces of glacial ice for us each to taste, and then got my son to throw the rest of the ice back in the water.

Not A Ballerina

After the cruise (and taking a million photos), my son and I warmed up with a hot chocolate in the small cafe, while my husband took a Zodiac boat tour. These are a little more dangerous so they only take kids over the age of ten - but my husband said he highly recommends it. I’ll have to go on my next visit to Iceland - because it’s so amazing that all of us want to go back.

Not A Ballerina

Amanda Kendle is a born and bred Perth girl who loves to hang around with her rubbish-truck-loving five-year-old son. Amanda has lived and worked abroad in Asia and Europe and has been blogging about her travels at home and abroad for almost a decade at Not A Ballerina

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