Sunday, March 4, 2012

Iceland- Day 1

Okay- here's the long awaited trip recap.  I know you've all been waiting anxiously for this :)  I need to get it all written down before I forget too!

So, we left on Tuesday the 21st from Seattle. Had the easiest check-in ever, as only one other person was at the IcelandAir check in desk. There was also almost no one at our gate. Apparently Iceland in February does not appeal to everyone.  The flight was basic, but comfortable. Our flight was slightly under 7 hours, and I played on my Nintendo and watched on-demand movies and enjoyed not having to entertain little people, and then we were in Iceland! And it was morning! (Eight hour time difference!)

After getting through the shortest passport line ever, thanks to the fact that we were at the front of the plane and that most people on our flight were connecting to elsewhere in Europe and hitting up duty-free for the recommended alcohol purchase (alcohol is very expensive in Iceland, and most people suggest picking up a small supply at duty free for your stay), we made it to our coach for the trip to the city.  Even though it was morning, it was dark, so hard to know what to think about Iceland yet.

As we made our way into the city (about a 40 minute bus trip), we drove through the city to drop people off at the various hotels. I was really surprised at how crowded Reykjavik was- and by the appearance of a Taco Bell and KFC on the side of the road. Most of the residents of Iceland live in Reykjavik, so it makes sense that it's busy there. No really tall buildings in the city and no industry other than aluminium processing.  We finally ended up at our hotel, dropped our bags and ate our complimentary buffet breakfast. Since my stomach thought it was 1 AM at this point, it was a bit confusing, but yummy.  Then back to our room for a nap- and to enjoy this view!
Then it was up again to head into the old part of the city- no time for sleeping!

Daniel and I do well together traveling, except for one slight problem. We both utterly and completely lack any sense of direction. And for some reason, we decided to just wing it on our walk into the city. We could see the large church that we were headed to, and that seemed like enough.

Our 20 minute walk turned into more like an hour walk. And it was POURING down rain and windy. Not particularly cold (it was around 40 most of the time we were there), but very wet. Eventually we defeated the church's attempts to hide from us and made it there.

We even got to hear the organist playing the big pipe organ while we were in the church, which was pretty cool for us, since organs aren't a big thing at the types of church we usually attend.

Then it was off for more wandering around the city and a trip to the excellent National Museum. During our wanderings around Reykjavik, we were entertained by all the crowds of kids and pre-teens who were going in and out of shops and cafes, singing a song and collecting candy. Apparently we arrived on the day that is the Icelandic equivalent of Halloween!
National costumes- the embroidery was gorgeous!

At the pond in the center of town. Reminded me of our Green Lake in Seattle

Cool building

After that we headed back to the hotel, since I was wearing unsensible shoes and my feet were freezing and we were tired.  We stopped to pick up sandwiches at a shop- I still have no idea what I ate, but it was good. Oh, and we saw these, which made me smile. 

We capped off the evening by watching TV from England, France, China, and Germany.  I think there may have been an Icelandic station in there too.  Oh, and I think I opened the Icelandic Schnapps that I bought at the airport. That, plus the almost no sleep for two days pretty much finished me off for Wednesday :)

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