This trip was bound to be charmed straight from the start. After a last minute switch changed our summer travel plans from the Himalayan Foothills of Northern India to the Volcanic wonderland of Iceland Julien and I have been ready to go where the wind (or lava) takes us and throw all plans out the window.
The last minute switch meant taking whatever flights were available and this turned what in some cases can be a direct 8-10hr flight from LAX to Reykjavik, Iceland into a 33hour50min journey with two layovers.
But the fun started even before we arrived in London for our first stop. En Route to London, somewhere over Northern Canada in the middle of the night, the effects of a sub-par in-flight movie had me looking out the window and into the great darkness….except it wasn’t dark! The stars! Oh the stars were incredible! Just like in the high mountains or the South Pacific, the lack of light pollution gave each and every star the chance to shine bright turning what might have been pale constellations into strings of Christmas lights in the sky. And yet this was not the only light-show out my window. All night our pilot had been flying over and around thunder storms, but as we passed high over a storm now we could see the flashes of lightning below. But why were the clouds glowing from above? We certainly couldnt be over a major city, and why would they glow green….and then I realized! We were looking straight out the window at the Northern Lights. Strands and streaks of electric green light danced delicately in the sky as lightning flashed below. What more natural wonders could one hope to view at this altitude. And yet there was more…as we pressed our foreheads to the cold airline window watching the Northern Lights I had always dreamed of seeing, something streaked across the sky. A shooting star? Could it be? Yes, tonight was also the first evening of the Perseid meteor shower. So as we gazed out the windows fogging up the plastic we saw lightning flashing below us, Northern Lights surrounding us at what appeared to be our same altitude and shooting stars left and right from the Perseid Meteor Shower.
While the whole plane was fast asleep and every window had been shut to keep out the morning sun, it took all of my strength not to wake up all 221 passengers and tell them to open their windows. I did not wake everyone however and as we continued on our flight path, the storm fell behind us and the sky cleared leaving the Northern Lights behind and as the sun rose early we fell back to sleep again ready to land in London for our first 7hr15mn layover.