Wild Winter Iceland Retreat

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We landed in Iceland with Wow Air on Tuesday and picked up a hire car without any issues. We hired through Avis who were a little more expensive but we have used them before and we had heard horror stories about using lesser known hire car companies in Iceland. It was a good decision as the process was seamless, stress free and the car was waiting for us right outside of arrivals. After a little bit of apprehension driving on the wrong side of the car + the wrong side of the road (mind = blown!) and some issues with fitting a new sim (top tip - unlock your phone before you travel!) we made our way to Reykjavík with our fingers crossed, following a half downloaded google maps route. That night we met up with a few of the Retreaters for happy hour (duh!) and dinner before tucking up for a good night sleep, knowing that the coming days were going to be jam packed! 

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In the morning a few more of the girls arrived and we explored some of the sites in Reykjavik before hitting up Bonus supermarket to buy food for ten people for five days. I’m so grateful that Ali is such an efficient planner! We had such little food wastage and near on perfect size meals throughout our trip. He really knocked it out the park!

The Sun Voyager in Reykjavik

The Sun Voyager in Reykjavik

The drive to our farmhouse just South of Fludir was around 2hrs across snowy lava fields and epic coastlines; I was quite excitable (understatement of the century!) and when everyone had arrived and checked in we did a gentle yoga class to stretch out after the long days of travel and a mindfulness meditation to set the tone for the days that lay ahead.

The views on the drive in!

The views on the drive in!

Our home away from home on a quiet farm in Southern Iceland

Our home away from home on a quiet farm in Southern Iceland

That night some of the crew were dealing with heavy jet lag and went to bed early whilst others stayed up to see if they could spot the elusive Northern lights. At around 11pm all the Aurora alerts pinged, the sky lit up with dancing lights and the house erupted into excitement. Seeing the Northern lights has been a dream that I never actually thought would come true! I screamed. A lot. (If you want to see the light then make sure you download the Aurora App and allow notifications).

The Northern Lights from our balcony. Photo credit to retreater Joanna Rigby-Jones

The Northern Lights from our balcony. Photo credit to retreater Joanna Rigby-Jones

The next day, after a strong power yoga session we hit up the golden circle. Our first stop was Geysir. We walked across the bubbling volcanic ground and watched the famous giant Geysir explode into the air - there’s a side to be on btw so that you don’t get totally drenched. I was on the wrong side. I screamed. A lot. The weather turned today and the driving was a little hairy, but we were determined not to miss a thing and just drove really slowly and carefully. Despite the heavy snow and increasing wind we were lucky to still have amazing views of Gullfoss - a giant waterfall that was partly frozen, thundering and epic. That evening everyone was a tad tense from a day of driving largely through snow storms, and screaming. A lot. So we chilled out with Yin Yoga and a sweet extended savanasa.

Wild retreaters exploring Geysir

Wild retreaters exploring Geysir

Meeting some of the very friendly locals. I’m not sure their intentions were pure but I’ll take any cuddle time I can get :D

Meeting some of the very friendly locals. I’m not sure their intentions were pure but I’ll take any cuddle time I can get :D

On our third day we focused on building upper body and core strength, and played around with some fun arm balances and inversions. Then after a hearty breakfast of French toast and fruit salad we set off to the Blue Lagoon. I was worried that I might be disappointed by the Blue Lagoon, considering how very allergic to tourists and crowds I am, but even though it was busy it was still incredible. Easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We lathered ourselves in mud masks and drank prosecco in the milky water for a good two hours before heading back to the house, having tea and biscuits and a sweet Yoga Nidra class. That night we popped open the hot tub and watched the moon lite up the snowy landscape, feeling full and so very grateful! 

The crew kicking back at The Blue Lagoon

The crew kicking back at The Blue Lagoon

Views on the drive home

Views on the drive home

Our last day was our coldest day; the temperature was -7 without wind chill, and the wind was howling! I’ve never been so cold before! So some people stayed and relax at the house, some explored further North along the golden circle and after realising it was way too damn cold for a coastal walk, a few of us decided to crank up the heating in the car, take a scenic drive South and into the interior and spend some time with the seriously friendly and seriously fluffy Icelandic horses. That night we had such a blast doing partner yoga, and Ali served up a killer lamb tagine!

Scenes from a VERY chilly drive around the Southern region

Scenes from a VERY chilly drive around the Southern region

By the last day I was totally spent and even had an afternoon nap, which is pretty unheard of for me. But I had walked through the week on an unsustainable emotional high; totally overwhelmed by how beautiful Southern Iceland was, and when it was all coming to an end I crashed in a very big way. We both flew home on Sunday exhausted but unbelievably happy and one hundred percent in love with Iceland’s epic wilderness. It is raw, virtually untouched, deeply cared for and seemingly never ending. We learned a lot but decided in the end that our first Wild Retreat was a Wild Success, and that it won’t be long before we are back for Wild Winter 2.0! 

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Disclaimer: this was the hardest and most uncomfortable I have ever been whilst doing Natarajasana!!

Disclaimer: this was the hardest and most uncomfortable I have ever been whilst doing Natarajasana!!

Don’t fancy the cold? I gotchu! Our next retreat is on the sunny, remote island of Lefkada in Greece; a stunning villa at the end of a dirt road, overlooking the ocean. Learn more here.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for their contributions to our Wild Winter Retreat gift bags! I was so pleased to be able to support companies that I knew and trusted already on this retreat so I feel very comfortable promoting them!

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Green People - who make the only cosmetics I will fully stand behind. Their damask rose face oil I truly believe was created by the gods themselves! 

Ombar - these guys make vegan chocolate that tastes better than the real thing! Our Retreaters LOVED their chocolate.

Mabboo - Bristol native Ed makes sustainable bamboo products that are top quality and super trendy. Ali has masses of Ed’s socks in his cupboard and these make great gifts for the fella in your life. 

Teapigs - their epic range of teas have superior branding and biodegradable tea bags. Ahem, I mean tea temples! 

If you are a UK business owner and would like to be featured in our next retreat gift bag then get in touch.

Kathrine MacLeod