On Travels Tips for Iceland

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Since about 2012, vacation travellers to Iceland has drastically increased – and the trend seems to be continuing. Because one’s travel will probably involve Reykjavik, here are some tips that are worth knowing before arriving.

Consider flying KEF-based Icelandair or WOW airlines (discounter) as they may provide considerable savings. We used Icelandair for our entire trip to the UK, and we would fly them again.

The international airport for Reykjavik is not in Reykjavik, but actually in Keflavik (KEF) – which is about 45 minutes from Reykjavik.

Given the airport location, Flybus and Grayline provide bus transportation to Reykjavik. Visitors can purchase tickets in the baggage area at the airport.

The buses will not take passengers to their hotel – but will stop at designated bus stops within the city, so select a hotel close to one of the bus stops. We got lucky with our hotel as it was very close to two stops. Thumbs up to the Skuggi Hotel.

 

Reykjavik is a very walkable city – so select a hotel in the city center or in the old city/harbor area.

Tour companies are abundant, and also use the same bus stops are airport transportation.

We found hotels and food to be expensive. Before booking we expected $300+ per night for a hotel. Once we were there, you learn to accept the $30 for pizza or spaghetti.

We mistakenly thought restaurants would be mainly fish – Not true as there are a wide variety of culinary offering.

Previous posts about Iceland

Enjoy any or all of the videos about intriguing Iceland.

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On Iceland: Reykjavik

We spent bits of four different days in Reykjavik. It is an easy city to walk, and there is enough to keep us busy. Interestingly, about a third of Iceland’s population is in Reykjavik.

Admiring the architectural pattern of basalt rocks of the Lutheran Cathedral

 

Smiling at the Sun Voyager metal sculpture saluting the Viking heritage

 

Engaging in the quaint building architecture

 

Strolling the main shopping street.

 

Loving the modern feel of the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center

 

Marveling at the view across the water

 

Knowing how much Resa would enjoy the many murals (more in a future dedicated post).

 

Standing in amazement at the 10:45 pm sky

 

Enjoying the fireworks thanking us for visiting before leaving the next day

 

Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland, but not expect the grandness of New York, Chicago, London, or Paris. It’s not even close to Cincinnati. However, at 110,000 people, it’s large enough to offer a wide variety of activities, yet quaint enough to be manageable and make one feel comfortable. Bottom line: we enjoyed it – Thumbs up!

On Iceland – Day 2: The South Coast Tour

We continued with Extreme Iceland for Day 2, but this time for a trip along the south coast. It was simply another day of the beauty providing sensory overloaded.

Wondering about the numerous lava field I expected, but observing ecological succession with lava field covered with moss was a surprise

 

Seeing wonderful scenery

 

Walking behind the waterfall (Seljalandsfoss)

 

Strolling black beach (Reynisfjara)

 

Marveling at rock formations

 

Enjoying the view from Dyrholaey of the black beach we just visited

 

Reflecting about the setting of a farm with its fertile land and the glacier above

 

Hearing the roar of Skogafoss in its gorge

 

Standing on the glacier (Solheimajokull)

 

Never tiring of the landscape and the views

 

Continually admiring the landscape

 

…. after all, how could anyone get bored with seeing places like this.

 

Hope you enjoyed the brief highlights of Iceland’s south coast. Here’s a 2+-minute video showing the sights in motion.

On Iceland – Day 1: Golden Circle

On our first full day in Iceland, we chose to tour the Golden Circle, which is one of the most popular tours. Icelandic landscape is fascinating, so the senses are constantly entertained. We used Extreme Iceland for two days.

Admiring the landscape.

 

Walking along the fault line where tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet in Thingvellir National Park.

 

Standing in awe of the view.

 

Witnessing the fury of Gullfoss, a spectacular and very large waterfall.

Notice the people on the left side

 

Patiently waiting for Strokkur Geysir to do its thing.

 

Relaxing to Faxi’s roar.

 

Enjoying a dip in a thermal pool known as Fludir: the Secret Lagoon.

Find the lifeguard

 

Hiking up to and around Kerid’s rim, an extinct volcano.

 

Seeing more wonderful landscape.

 

All in one day … so our first full day in Iceland was wonderful. Here’s a 2-minute video featuring some of the Golden Circle sights.

On a Return

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Greetings fellow bloggers. I’ve missed your presence both here and on your blogs. Isn’t my personal greeter adorable?

Some have noticed that me snooping around with some visits, and (of course) my posted dedicated to #9 honoring the 9th anniversary of my little corner of the world.

The family is making progress with helping an elderly aunt. The task at hand seems monumental, but that’s not unexpected. We know there are several months of work ahead, so we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel – but that will come. Hopefully the light won’t be another train.

There’s never a good time when it comes to dealing with elderly relatives. Good news is that we see progress on important milestones, plus our aunt is generally receptive to what we suggest. Unfortunately for us, our tasks were put on hold for a bit because of a long-planned vacation during August.

The Vacation

  1. A 5-hour drive to Chicago to eliminate a flight leg (each way) and for considerable financial savings
  2. Flew Chicago to Reykjavik to London Heathrow
  3. Spent 4 days in London (our first trip to the UK)
  4. Bused to Southampton to make the Caribbean Princess our home for 12 days cruising the British Isles (including a stop in France)
  5. Bused from Southampton to Heathrow for our flight to Reykjavik – instead of transferring to another flight, we stayed for 3 days
  6. Flew to Chicago, then made it to Cincinnati a few hours before the eclipse (about 90% coverage)

Our vacation was a good one, and I look forward to sharing various aspects about the trip with you. My apologies to my UK readers because I came to your wonderful region without stopping by to say hello. Our time in the ports are short, and we try to see as much as possible … and we stayed busy in London (which is easy to do).

Even though my plate remains full, I will return to posting on an irregular schedule. After all, I do have posts in the queue ready to go.

Hope all is well with everyone! … and here’s a fitting song for you.

On Exploring a Storm

Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm. (Marcus Garvey, publisher)

A good beginning makes a good ending. (Icelandic proverb)

Neither mine nor other people’s prospects seem particularly pleasing just at the moment, and I have fantasies of going to Iceland, never to return. As it is, I tell myself not to remember the past, not to hope or fear for the future, and not to think in the present, a comprehensive program that will undoubtedly have very little success. (Edward Gorey, author)

I’ve walked a lot in the mountains in Iceland. And as you come to a new valley, as you come to a new landscape, you have a certain view. If you stand still, the landscape doesn’t necessarily tell you how big it is. It doesn’t really tell you what you’re looking at. The moment you start to move the mountain starts to move. (Olafur Eliasson, artist)

In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And there’s this strange thing: you’re never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well. (Hannah Kent, writer)

Eye of the Storm (the video below) is a winter saga in Iceland. In Iceland there are many kinds of storms. Ice, snow, rain, sand, ash, solar, magnetic, and more. Storms are agents of change. While often destructive and unpredictable, they also demonstrate the unyielding power of nature. They reveal nature’s beauty and its hand in creating the landscapes we see today. (From the YouTube notes, Shaun Diaz, Evosia Studios)

On Exploring a Northern Island

Like many, I first learned about Iceland when studying the Vikings in elementary school. As an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, today I don’t think of the Vikings, but genetics is my prime thought. Although there is some disagreement on the matter, some consider Icelandic genes to be more homogeneous (less diverse) than other lands. Given the mobility of humans today and because isolation is one important aspect of evolution, the thought is intriguing.

Being that we enjoy cruising, cruise ships do go to Iceland … and my wife has mentioned an interest in visiting the mountainous place with hot springs.

Enjoy this National Geographic video about Iceland.