Monday morning we got up at around four in the morning, really tired. The first thing we noticed that there were a lot of noise outside.
What the Icelanders do when they party is that they have warm-up parties at home before going out, meaning that the night life doesn’t start in Reykjavik until around midnight (or 02:00 Swedish time) and continues until late the morning after.
We noticed this very much, as our hotel was located at the main street of the city, our room faced that street an there were plenty of clubs and bars around. This meant a lot of thumping bass and shouting people every time you tried to get to sleep, and sometimes still there when you woke up. Good thing we brought earplugs.
We got to the airport allright and the security check was a breeze. Did some taxfree shopping and had some breakfast before boarding the plane. Flight was nothing special but we had to wait for 10 minutes or so before we could get off the plane due to missing ground crew.
When we finally got out in the open it was warm. 15C and no wind compared to 2C and lots of wind makes for a big diffence.
On sunday we went to the famous Blue Lagoon, a big spa resort with a great outdoor pool/constructed lake. The water was hot (almost too hot in some places) and milky. Under the water was black sand and all along the “shore” there was white mud that had a really strange consistency to it. There was also a waterfall with hot water and a couple of steam baths and saunas.
From being frozen a great deal of the time we’ve spent in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon was a great contrast. Even though it was a but crouded at the entrance, it was so big that you could simply swim out for a few minutes, and suddenly you were all alone. And due to the thick fog (hot water/cold air) there was not a human in sight for some moments.
Exiting the Blue Lagoon, we saw Dave Growl, singer in Foo Fighters. I didn’t talk to him or even take a photo, trying to respect his privacy. But a part of me regrets it today. 😉
After going back to Reykjavik, we spent some time in the hotel room and then went out to Balthazar Bar & Grill for dinner. Having to get up around 4:00 the next day, we made it a short evening and got back to the hotel fairly early.
Yesterday we spent the entire day in Reykjavik to do some shopping. It is a nice little town with interesting architecture, many restaurants and nice people – but it is not a town where you go shopping. During our stay here, all I have bought is two t-shirts and two comic books (Wolverine: Weapon X and Zombie Stories: Good Eatin’).
Anyway, yesterday we walked around for a few hours trying to find something interesting to buy. Failing that, we then took a bus out to Kringlan, the big shopping mall outside the city. A lot of stores but not much of interest to us. After that we met up with my brother and we had some dinner at the Mexican restaurant Santa Maria next to our hotel. A Mexican restaurant where you had to make a special request to get a Mojito, since the waiter didn’t even seemed to know what that was. Anyway, the food was quite good and the prices low (or odyr, as they say here in Iceland). We went on to Kaffi Zimsen, a pub that seemed to have a nice atmosphere, but turned out to have very expensive drinks and a busted-up bathroom. After a while four women that Fredde had been diving with turned up. After chatting with them for a while we went back to the hotel after a quick stop at our favorite pyslur (Icelandic hot dog) place.
Yesterday wee took the Golder Circle Tour, a guided bus tour to different parts of southern Iceland. First, we went to a geothermal plant to look at how the hot springs brings hot water and electricity to practically all of Iceland.
Next stop was the Gullfoss waterfall. Absolutely stunning! That was probably the most intense nature experience I’ve had, and is strongly recommended if you ever go here.
After that, we went to the geysir area, “where hot springs are in abundance, geysers explode and pools of mud bubble”. Cool experience – got some really nice photos as well.
Last stop was a visit to the Thingvellir National Park, the site of the oldest existing parliament in the world. It is located between two tactonic plates (North American and Eurasian), which has created a huge rift in the ground, still drifting apart with a few centimeters per year.
We got home to the hotel at about 17:00, where we met up with Fredde who had been diving in two degrees cold water (but with at least 60 meters of clear sight!) during the day. We went to a restaurant to have dinner, and did some barhopping after that.
Pictures and further updates will come when I have time, now we will do Reykjavik!
We are now in Iceland. The flight went wery well, comfortable seats with good in-flight entertainment (touch sceens in every seat). Hotel is absolutely faboulus with a really fresh room larger than my last apartment, located right in the very center of Reykjavik. We have had a great dinner, good beer, nice Icelandic company and the best hot dog (due to munchies) in ages.
Tomorrow we will go on a tour, seeing waterfalls, geysers and a national park.
As a group of us are getting together to go there this Easter, this is a nice place to quickly read up on Iceland if you are interested in joining us. Keep in mind that while the tickets and hotels are still very cheap, they tend to run out sooner or later, and you can already see the prices rise on a daily basis.
Gallery: Seven things to Do in Iceland
Worth adding is also Whale Safari, where a large number of different whales are often sighted all around the Icelandic coast.
I just found these fantastic HDR photographs of the Icelandic coast, and thought that I should share them with anyone who has not yet made up their mind as whether or not to join us to Iceland in April 2009 (so far I think 8 people are coming).
Unfortunately, I do not know who the original photographer is, but I found the pictures on this site.
Do you want to join us on a trip to Iceland this Easter?
Due to the economic crisis in Iceland right now the trips there are extremely cheap. You can fly there and back from Stockholm for about 2500SEK, and hotels are not very expensive. And since we will likely go around Easter, you will only need half a day off from work.
The preliminary plan is as follows:
9/4 The afternoon before Good Friday – Flight from Stockholm Arlanda to Reykjavik
10-12/4 Time for Icelandification
13/4 Easter Monday – Going home.
Preliminary budget (per person):
Flights (incl. VAT and fees): 2500SEK
Hotel: 520-1900SEK depending on standards and location. For 480SEK/night you get a four-star hotel with pool and spa. You can also live in a hostel for about 130SEK/night if you want to.
Food: 1500SEK if you eat out and have a few drinks every day.
Transports: 500SEK if you want to travel around Iceland a bit.
Total: around 4000-6000SEK per person. If we go on Good Friday instead, the price will drop about 1000SEK.
We were thinking that if we are a few people the trip will be even better! That doesn’t mean that we have to stick together all the time unless you want to, and everyone can go about to do what they please.
Does it sounds like fun? Let us know! If the trip happens, we will probably book it in December while the extremely low prices are in effect and the tickets remain. Does it sound interesting but you are uncertain if you want to go or can afford it in four months? Let us know anyway!