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### Embracing Solitude: Concluding Autumn Semester with an Icelandic Getaway

As a self-proclaimed planning enthusiast, I surprised myself with a spontaneous journey to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, in December last year. The decision for a solo escape from London stemmed from the need to unwind after the hustle and bustle of the Autumn Term, prompting me to seek affordable flight options out of the UK. The discovery of Reykjavik led me to ponder, “Why not embark on this adventure?”

Despite my lack of prior knowledge about the city, the trip turned out to be a rewarding experience, allowing me to unwind and immerse myself in the breathtaking landscapes and attractions despite the chilly weather. Here’s a brief recount of my brief solo expedition in Reykjavik, which also served as a therapeutic retreat for my mental well-being.

Following a peaceful first night at the hostel, I opted to embark on an early morning stroll through the city at 8 am. Despite the darkness engulfing the city due to the winter season, I seized the opportunity to witness the sunrise while meandering along the serene streets of Reykjavik. My journey led me to the National Museum of Iceland, which housed a captivating collection of artifacts spanning from the Viking era to contemporary Iceland. The museum provided a comprehensive insight into Iceland’s rich history and culture, appealing to any history enthusiast.

During the afternoon, I explored the city to visit some of its renowned landmarks. I ventured towards the waterfront to admire the Harpa Concert Hall before discovering the charming Rainbow Street. Within the city center, I stumbled upon a quaint Christmas Market offering delightful festive treats, including the popular mulled wine. Serendipitously, I came across Tjornin lake, which was frozen, offering me a unique opportunity to walk on its icy surface—an experience I had never encountered growing up in a tropical climate. Adjacent to my accommodation stood the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church, which illuminated beautifully as the sun set during my return journey. While the church’s distinctive architecture and the panoramic city view from its tower were best appreciated during the day, its allure persisted even at night.

The following day, I rose at 7 am, navigating the familiar darkness to catch a public bus to Sky Lagoon—an establishment offering a one-of-a-kind geothermal bathing experience. Initially considering a visit to the renowned Blue Lagoon based on glowing recommendations from friends, I opted for the lesser-known Sky Lagoon, a decision that proved fortuitous as the Blue Lagoon was closed due to seismic concerns. Nestled amidst volcanic surroundings, the Sky Lagoon provided a phenomenal experience, with its warm waters offering respite from a demanding semester. The mesmerizing sunrise and the panoramic view of the Icelandic coastline remain etched in my memory, highlighting the tranquility and beauty of the location. The visit was truly a rejuvenating escape, allowing me to unwind and detach from the academic pressures while relishing the serenity of the lagoon.

Overall, this expedition left me with a sense of gratitude for the peaceful retreat in Iceland, enabling me to recharge after a hectic semester. Traveling solo facilitated the opportunity to forge connections with fellow travelers at the hostel and the lagoon, adding a meaningful dimension to my journey. If you seek a destination to unwind, consider exploring Iceland—it’s conveniently accessible from London, and the untamed beauty of the country is sure to offer an unforgettable experience.