Iceland – Days 1 & 2 (Travel & Reykjavik)

Wednesday morning started on the early side (but not too early, and it was a pleasant start). Everything was packed, so all I needed in the morning was to shower, dress, and toss in my tooth brush.

Then, a quick stop for coffee and I was on my way to the airport.

I got me and my bag all checked in and was delighted to find that for the second time in one month, I’d been granted TSA pre-check status. Hooray!

Of course, that meant that my 2 hour early arrival at the airport for international travel had me at the gate approximately two hours early.

I had more coffee. Ate some breakfast. Read a little. Did some crosswords. Waited.

Finally it was time for flight the first! I think the flight time was only a bit shorter than the airport wait time. 🙂

My layover in Minneapolis was excruciatingly long. Five hours is a long time to hang out. I drank some Minnesota brews. Ate some incredibly disgusting pizza. Wrote a couple of blog posts. And agonized.

We boarded for a 10 pm central time flight. Some guy asked if I’d change seats with him so he could be closer to his friends. Even though I am not a nice person, I agreed. I need to be even more not nice. He ended up with a nice aisle seat and an empty behind him. I ended up next to a woman and her five year old. He talked incessantly and loudly for hours, and then when he did fall asleep, he woke up a lot. Screaming. Or kicking. Me usually. Or he’d have to pee. Or his mom will have to pee. He sneezed on me twice. I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep, but I did get to watch The Force Awakens again, so yay?

I landed at 9 am local time in Iceland after getting to watch the sun come up over Greenland.

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Customs in Keflavik airport was easy breezy. I stood in line for five minutes, confirmed I was planning on eventually leaving, and got my stamp.

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Getting my rental car, on the other hand, was not easy. I don’t know who wrote all the positive reviews of the car rental company I chose, but the fact that it was a few euros cheaper than other options in no way made up for the hassle in collecting my car and the fact that my car appears to be made out of papier-mâché and held together with chewing gum and old rubberbands.

After breezing through customs, I’d began to regret scheduling my Blue Lagoon stop for noon, positive that I could’ve made it by the only other available time that day: 10 am.

Turns out, it was good I was conservative. By the time I got out of the rental car place, it was well past 10 and my car was running on empty, so my first order of business was to locate a gas station and determine how it worked. Mission accomplished, I headed to the Blue Lagoon.

I headed in at the appointed time and got all checked in. I anticipated having to make myself stay for an hour. I couldn’t check into my hotel until 2, so I thought if I could just make myself soak for an hour, by the time I got out and showered and on the road, I wouldn’t be pushing the check in time.

I got my free drink – I went with bubbles – and then just kinda floated around. It was weird, because I think I was the only solo person there. It was also really interesting people watching. I played a fun game called “Is that man from the US?” based solely on swimsuit styles. It was not a difficult game.

After an hour, I wasn’t ready to leave. I decided to try my first Icelandic beer – Gull – and then floated around for another hour. I found a place to sit in the water and just watched. There was an American woman from the deep south who looked to be pushing seventy there with five men in their 30s and 40s who did everything she said at the snap of the fingers. There were a couple women of indeterminate nationality who slipped from English to Spanish to Swedish in their conversation. There were families from all over, lovers young and old, friends there for a girls’ trip or a guys’ trip.

I ended up staying for over two hours and accidentally on purpose soaking my hair in the springs…I spent a good deal of time in the shower, conditioning my hair, but to no avail. At this point, I think I might have to shave my head and start over. 🙂

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I headed into Reykjavik next, a little worried about navigation. No need to be, though. Between the fact that I am a damn good city driver when I allow myself to have the confidence (I am so used to pretending to be less confident than I am to boost the confidence of others that I forget from time to time that I am, in fact, a confident capable bitch and that anyone who has a problem with it isn’t someone I need to know) and the GPS, I found my hotel with no problem. I had to make one circle of the block to find parking, but I had arrived!

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I walked in, immediately caused a middle-aged british woman to spill espresso all over herself, and checked in. I had a great view of the Hallgrímskirkja if I leaned awkwardly out my window.

The awkward window view

The awkward window view

A much better photo with a 75% less likelihood of breaking my phone while leaning out a 2nd story window.

A much better photo with a 75% less likelihood of breaking my phone while leaning out a 2nd story window.

I got cleaned up, realized I’d forgotten my swim suit at the Blue Lagoon, and laid down for a nap.

An hour later, refreshed and starving, I headed out. I wandered for a bit, familiarizing myself with the streets and the neighborhood. I found the bar I’d wanted to try, but decided that food was a better first order of business.

 

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík is the oldest junior college in Reykjavík, Iceland. The school traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt, and it remains one of the oldest institutions in Iceland.

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík is the oldest junior college in Reykjavík, Iceland. The school traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt, and it remains one of the oldest institutions in Iceland.

Because I am weird, I will often not order something on a menu if I’m afraid I’ll mispronounce it, even if the description sounds amazing. But this is Iceland and I am obviously American – so I ordered some lava cooked chicken stuff because I can!

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And a beer. A Viking beer. I didn’t do a beer selfie, because that seemed crass, but I totally thought about it.

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After dinner, I headed to the pub, determined to try every single one of their Icelandic beers.

I ordered the sampler tray, which covered all six of the Icelandic beers they had on tap. The taproom only served Borg beers from Iceland (although it had a smattering of beers from around the world, most notably the US and Denmark). Once I’d finished the samples (well, finished all but one), I started chatting with the bartender. I did NOT take a picture, because it didn’t occur to me, but he was delightfully bearded, man-bunned Icelandic sex-on-a-stick.

Borg Brewing taster tray at Skúli Craft Bar

Borg Brewing taster tray at Skúli Craft Bar

He invited me behind the bar so I could look at his bottles. I chose a beer that he warned me was a big expensive. It was a festival beer, and it was the last bottle in his taproom, possibly the last in existence. It was a blueberry beer (the blueberries had been CRUSHED BY HAND) and was a joint project with (other brewery).

After a bit, I wandered into a another bar (Micro Bar) but didn’t stay long. I then began wending my way back to my room, stopping for a couple night time pics.

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I slept for about three hours before waking and being WIDE AWAKE. I eventually fell back asleep, only to be awakened a couple hours later when someone tried to get into my room. Pretty sure it was a lost drunk hotel stayer, as I heard him try to get into every room, but it sure does get your adrenaline up in the middle of the night.

I didn’t get as much done the first day as I’d hoped, but I had a wonderful time. One of the beautiful things about solo travel is the ability to change the agenda at any time and getting to hit the relaxation part of a vacation as hard as I want without feeling guilty.

End of Days 1-2….stay tuned tomorrow, for then there shall be SORCERY!

 

2 responses to “Iceland – Days 1 & 2 (Travel & Reykjavik)

  1. You got to have some serious balls to take a trip like this solo. I am seriously impressed. It seems like a ton of fun, but I’m still scared.