An Icelandic Vacation

By Scot Noel

 

Our Trip Begins

It’s mid-September, 2017, and we are on our way to vacation in Reykjavik, Iceland. WOW Airlines, which operates direct flights from Pittsburgh to Reykjavik, has some really good prices.

My wife Jane and I heard about tours to Iceland becoming very popular, and when we mentioned it to friends and relatives, we quickly ended up with a little traveling group of 4 to share the adventure.

Our flight is an evening flight, which left Pittsburgh at 6:45 pm, so there was no dealing with rush hour traffic early in the AM, and we got to spend a bit of time at work before heading out in the afternoon.

It’s a four-and-a-half-hour flight and we arrive at Keflavik International airport sometime around 4:30 am, Icelandic time. We have a bed and breakfast scheduled with one room rented a day ahead so that we have a place to go early in the morning. Another room becomes available later in the afternoon, and then we are set.

Our first day is for recovering from travel and getting our bearings. Though Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, we hear it is a small city, much smaller than Pittsburgh, so that doesn’t sound scary.  What may be of some concern is that two of the three most likely volcanoes to erupt this year are in Iceland, and one of our tours gets us close to one of these, Katla near the small town of Vik.

Starting out, we know two things, that Iceland has great hot dogs and that we don’t have to worry about speaking Icelandic (everyone speaks varying degrees of English). Apparently that there is one main road that circles the country like a racetrack, and we expect heaping servings of natural beauty for us to photograph.

Friday, September 15th – Our Body Clocks Catch Up

The time here in Iceland is 4 hours different.  With the flight ending our day on Thursday, until we got to our apartment we had been up until 3am (our time).  So, we all crashed as soon as we made it to our apartment.

By 1pm, we were awake enough to go exploring.

While not a big city of skyscrapers, Reykjavik is quite welcoming with many colorful buildings, street art, quirky shops, friendly natives, and a stunning concert hall that lights up the shorefront at night.

We got lost at first, but pleasantly so. Our first goal was finding a grocery store, as one other thing to know about Iceland is that eating out is incredibly expensive. However, if you shop where the residents shop, at Bonus, you’ll be fine. We purchased about $170 of food that would tide us over for most of the week.

Located right downtown, our apartments are small, but clean and charming. They both have kitchens which will allow us to eat most of our meals in.

For lunch, we had delicious ham and chicken sandwiches.  The bread was especially good, though it was just sliced grocery bread, it had a freshness, texture, and flavor a step above what we are used to back home. We even had Hellmans mayo for our sandwiches, but this was made with local, free range eggs!

After lunch, we walked around town for 3 hours, continuing to get our bearings, exploring shops and gift stores, and buying a couple gifts here and there.

One striking feature is that there is no sense of wheel-chair accessibility here. Probably because of occasional flooding, every store is multiple steps up off the street, often with a step over some rise at the threshold.  Floors in general have steps up or down at unusual places with no visual cue, so we’ve had to accommodate to that to avoid trips. We started echoing a chorus of warnings as we walked around, entering or exiting a place you would hear one of us announcing “step, step, oh another step.”

One unforgettable shop was a book store, but a bookstore out of the 19th century perhaps, with narrow, crazy winding little corridors packed to the ceiling with disorganized books, some very old and some very new. Books piled on the floor, lanes blocked with books, a small table near a window to sit and play chess, etc. Unfortunately, most of the books were in Icelandic, but I loved the place.

We passed many restaurants, a number of which we would never be able to afford, some much more hospitable and friendly looking, and one local Chips spot where you can get fries, toppings, and a coke for just 999 ISK, or about $10.

Jane bought a few amazing chocolate truffles at a candy store.

You can’t walk anywhere without noticing there are construction cranes everywhere around Reykjavik. To say there is a building boom is an understatement. It is no more than a matter of stopping at a street corner to look around and count 9 to 16 massive cranes dominating the skyline, lifting loads of wet concrete or steel beams into place.

No doubt in just a year or so, the city will be much bigger and more modern than it is today.

We came back to our apartments tired after hours of walking and scouting out our bus stops for the upcoming tours. We made shrimp and pasta for dinner, calling on both tiny kitchens to get the job done. After we ate, everyone was tired.  We checked our notes for tomorrow’s trip, and went to our beds.

The sound of night life outside our window keeps us up late, but it is a relatively congenial sound; traffic, laughter, young voices. A look out the window shows couples walking and bicycling by. It is raucous, but expectable, I guess, in a capital city on a Friday night.

Saturday, September 16th

We’re up early, between 6 and 7 am, and out the door by 8 am. It’s a few minutes’ walk took us to Bus Stop 7 near the Traoakot parking garage, where small crowds were waiting for their tour buses. We await the South Coast Tour from Gateway to Iceland. Drivers are shouting names into the crowd to catching the attention of their groups.

“Stanley!”  “Elizabeth?” “No? Would anyone like to be Elizabeth?”

By 8:30 am, our driver pulls in.  He is Andres A (because his company has an Andres B).

To get to the South Coast, we need to drive over a small range of hills, past moss colored landscapes, sheep, horses, and two spectacular waterfalls which we would soon learn would be stops for us on the trip back.

Andres tell us about Ingólfr Arnarson and how he was a chief who came to Iceland as an escape from a dispute back in Norway. He threw pieces of his throne overboard and promised his gods that, wherever these came ashore, he would build his settlement. It took years before his men found them, and when they did, the spot was where Reykjavik stands today.

Out first real stop of the day is a glacier, Sulhermajokull. We walk over black sand and stones for about 10 minutes to reach the terminus of the glacier. We see “extreme tourists” carrying climbing gear and heading in teams to the glacier. High above us we see small figures walking on the ice.

Next, we head off to the small town of Vik, population of about 500 or so.  That makes this town about the size of our hometown, Grapeville, PA.

Vik is currently threatened by the possible eruption of the volcano Katla. If the volcano erupts as threatened, a glacial flood from the melting icecap may devastate the town. There is a small church at the top of the hill where people will go when the alarm sounds.

After lunch in Vik (we brought our own sandwiches), the tour heads out to Reynisfjara, a black sand beach.  There we find octagonal columns of rock framing big hollows in the cliffside, giving the impression of a natural cathedral. There are spires in the sea which were once basalt lava, the core of volcanic craters where, over tens of thousands of years, the sea has eaten away at the softer lava and rock, leaving only the hardest stone exposed.

In general, Iceland is a very young country geologically, only 15 to 18 million years at its oldest points, yet ranging to a few hundred thousand years at places, and finally to kilometers of land and beaches that are so new people alive today remember when they were formed.

We drive along, seeing sheep grazing in ones and twos high into moss covered cliffsides. All the sheep belong to someone, and soon the herders will be calling them in for the winter.

On the way back to Reykjavik, we stop at Skojafoss waterfall, a tall crashing falls that feeds a stream at which sheep go to drink. We got close enough to taste the water as it formed on our lips from the mist.

At another fall, also on the way back, we were able to walk behind the falls.  This one was Seljalandsfoss.  While our companions waited, my wife Jane and I ventured completely behind the falls, which was an adventure. It echoed like thunder behind, and there was a lot of mud and slippery rock.

We held hands as we climbed out the other side, getting heaping gobs of mud on our shoes and paying careful attention to our footing. There was a wooden platform and stairs leading back to the parking lot, but getting there was the challenge. Of course, there were other tourists with us, and everyone was helping someone and watching out. The platform and stairs were water soaked and slippery too.

The heavy mist and pounding water had us a bit soaked, so we were glad the bus driver made this the last stop. Well, almost. We were running a bit early at the end, so he took us all to a bonus waterfall, Urridafoss falls. Rather than a crashing sheet of water over a cliffside, this was more like whitewater rapids back home. Andres explained that we were seeing a fall that soon would be history, as a new hydroelectric dam is being built up stream.

We came home, changed out of wet clothes, and made a quick meal of hamburgers and hash browns, filling the apartments and hallways with smoke.  I’m surprised that smoke detectors did not go off. Then we went for a walk, this time more confident in our surroundings and directions of travel.

The downtown area along the main street is quite lively at night, with more foot traffic, crowds, and conversations that we would see at home, even in downtown Pittsburgh. It’s a younger set too, mostly 20s and 30s.

Even so, many stores closed early. It was the bars and restaurants that were doing a thriving business. (Though we were uncertain why there is a “Chuck Norris” restaurant in Iceland; I didn’t know there was such a thing anywhere.)

We did browse through a few shops that hadn’t closed their doors yet, got a couple presents for the people back home, and picked up a “hop-on hop off” bus map for our planned Monday excursion.

We stopped at a local convenience store, the 10-11, to get some fruit drinks and Skyr, a kind of yogurt that is not quite yogurt and not quite ice cream.

On the way home after dark, there was a delicious smell of fresh popcorn coming from the cinema immediately beside our apartment, so Jane walked right in to see if she could get some. We waited a few minutes and she came out with a big bag to share.

Sunday, September 17 – off to Snaefellsnes National Park

Of course, it’s early in the week, but this could nevertheless be the worst day of our vacation.

The weather is to blame. To start, it takes us about an hour to get out of town as our tour bus circles through a number of stops for passengers. Today with have a driver (Mikel) and a tour guide (Annar). The park we are heading toward is a two-hour drive away.

We start by traveling several kilometers under the sea in the longest tunnel I’ve ever been in.

An hour later, we make a rest stop, then on again.  The land along the way to the National Park is flat and grassy, with some streams and ponds here and there.  Browns and greens predominate, as well as long fence lines with only a few sheep behind them now.

My notes say it starts out as a clear day with a bit of sun, but soon we will be experiencing much different weather.

Our first official destination is Ytri Tunga, where we get out to look for harbor seals and gray seals.  There are a few seals, but they are too far away for pictures. The shore is comprised of lava boulders and large, black volcanic rock formations. There is some golden sand, and a lot of kelp washed up from the sea.

The waves beyond the rocky shore look quite rough.

It is colder and windier than we’ve had so far, cold enough to make my ears hurt and prompting me to put on my earmuffs. We don’t stay as long as planned, but get back on the bus and head out for “the main attraction” and some lunch.

The day turns rainy and colder. We stop for lunch earlier than planned. At Arnarstapi Center we have 4 Icelandic Meat soups and a couple slices of bread for about $92 (well, 9,200 ISK anyway.) Even when we were expecting it, the price for prepared food was shocking. Of course, you don’t have to tip!

It is wet and windy, and though we thought we were dressed for weather, it turns out we are ill prepared. As we walk along the cliffs, we get soaked completely through. Our umbrellas are no match for the wind. The view of waves crashing into volcanic cliff faces is amazing, but by the time I get back to the van, I am soaked to the skin and have to take off my rain resistant jacket, which is now no more than a sopping wet sponge.

At least my hiking shoes are warm and my feet dry. Jane does not have that luck, and her feet are wet and cold. We have about 6 hours left ahead of us.

When we arrive at a spot for a 40-minute walk across a lava field, it is raining so hard that only a handful of brave souls with better rain gear attempt the adventure. They make it for about half the planned time.

Next up, a beautiful double water fall, not too high, but very picturesque. By the time we get there, all the previous weather we have endured looks like a fair day in comparison.

The wind alone is whipping waves across the walkway leading to the waterfalls, and the temperature has dropped to a few degrees above freezing. Even fewer adventurers dare the weather beyond the bus, and when they return the water is cascading from them.  I see one person pull off their gloves to upend them and drain them of water. (And remember, we are totally wet and waiting inside the bus. I do not even have a jacket now to keep me warm; it is soaking and stuffed into the overhead.)

We stopped one more time at a little convenience store to go to the bathroom and then we head back for Reykjavik, 2 and a half hours away.

Getting back to the apartment and getting into dry clothes never felt so good. We don’t have a dryer, so we hang clothes across room heaters and hope for the best. After making another dinner, we plan our hop-on and hop-off tour strategy for tomorrow. There’s a lot of indoor stuff to do if it rains, which it probably will.

What we have seen so far is that predicting weather in Iceland is as good as a guess.

Monday, September 18th – Hop-on, Hop-off

We start our day by walking to Hallgrinskirkja, the largest church in Iceland, a magnificent structure and one of the tallest buildings in Reykjavik at the top of the tallest hill. That makes it a great place for viewing the surrounding area.

For about $10 each, we ride an elevator to the top of the tower. At the elevator, we meet an Indian couple who are from New Jersey and have a son in Penn State. They came over on the same WOW flight we did. The wife explains that her husband had read it was 50 degrees or so in Iceland, so he decided he didn’t even need to bring a jacket. I hope they have no outdoor tours planned of the type we did yesterday!

Our next stop on the bus route is the Perlan museum, which has apparently been built into the structure of some old water towers, after which they put a rotating glass dome with a restaurant on top. Inside the museum they have recreated an ice cave, and for only 2900 ISK, we can go inside. We take a few pictures in the freezing tunnels and then explore the glacier museum, learning about the dynamics of glacial activity, life in the glacier, and the effects of global warming.

Now it’s lunch time and we stop at Reykjavik’s famous hot dog stand, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur.

They say there is always a line, and today was no different. We order 4 hot dogs with everything and an orange Fanta to share among the four of us. The hot dog is a natural casing topped with a sauce and a type of mustard with which we are not familiar. Beneath the hot dog are crunchy onions which really make the experience. Not the best hot dogs we’ve ever had, but certainly worth the time if you are already in Reykjavik. And reasonably priced at the equivalent of about $4.50, easily the most economical meal in the city. (President Clinton stopped here on a state visit once and you can order a “Clinton” if you want a dog prepared the way the president ordered it.)

Back on the bus, we head over to the Maritime Museum, where we learn about Iceland’s struggle in the Cod Wars, a series of 3 conflicts with the UK over fishing rights. Though Iceland won its independence in 1944, fishing rights up to within 4 miles of shore were still held by the UK. All the way into the mid-1970s, Iceland exerted its territorial rights in 3 separate expansions, pushing the boundaries of its territorial waters out to 200 miles. The British resisted, and although there was no actual fighting, a number of ship rammings occurred and there was one fatality.

Eventually, Iceland won, a fact of which they are quite proud. It’s as close as they have ever been to a real war, and their Coast Guard is their only military.

To learn more about that, we toured the coast guard cutter Odinn, which served in the Cod Wars and survived one ramming. It was fascinating inside, where almost every crewman had his own cabin, and the captain’s cabin and stateroom was quite spacious for such a ship. The Odinn was decommissioned in 2006, but as late as 2017, the last crew of the Odinn and a crew from a British ship involved in the Cod wars, the Arctic Corsair, exchanged bells in a gesture of international cooperation.

In the museum, we also learned about the hard lives of ordinary fishermen in the 19th century, when 4 or 5 men would go out in a row boat into cold, dangerous seas to bring back a few fish for their living.

Tuesday, September 19th – Game of Thrones Tours

We got to sleep in on Tuesday, eating some toast and jam for breakfast around 8:30 am and getting down to our bus stop by a 9:30 am.

Our Graylines bus arrived and we were shuttled over to the main Graylines terminal to transfer to a bigger bus. For the Game of Thrones tour, we will be off the main tourist paths, and a special (though quite large) 4-wheel drive bus is needed.

We meet Theo (Theo Swordbiter on Facebook), our tour guide, dressed in full Black Watch regalia and looking all the part of the Game of Thrones extra, which, in fact he was.  He’s done a lot of work as extra and stunt man in GOT and other movies, even playing a zombie, a Nazi, and a Nazi zombie.

Theo turns out to be quite charming and engaging. His first warning is “The golden rule of tour guides is to talk a little and then be quiet for a while, because people like to sleep between stops. I do not follow that rule. I will be telling stories all day long.” and “We’re going to make a special stop. We don’t have time for it. I asked my boss, he said no. I asked his boss, and he also said no. So, we will stop anyway. I figure, what my bosses don’t know can’t hurt me.”

Our first stop is to a horse farm where many of the horses used during Icelandic filming of GOT are from. Our entire tour group is invited into the corral, where the horses come over to greet us. There are dozens of friendly, inquisitive equines boldly trying to get some attention from the visitors. They love being petted and scratched. It is an amazing experience.

It is obvious these horses are almost as small as ponies, and Theo explains that when big people in the TV series like the Hound are shown riding, they used all sorts of camera angles to disguise the fact that his feet were just short of touching the ground while mounted.

(The film crew could not bring in their own horses, as no foreign horses are allowed in Iceland, and when Icelandic horses leave they are never permitted back. It has to do with risk of contagion, as Icelandic horses have been separated from contact with outside equine diseases and viruses for over 1,000 years.)

We meet the white horse that Arya Stark rode. (If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you just thought that was cool.)

After saying goodbye to our new horse friends, we move on to a waterfall feeding a river. In Game of Thrones, this is a scene where a dragon flies up out of a canyon and attacks a herd of goats. One thing Theo does that is quite helpful is to show us blow up pictures of the scenes in the show so that we can compare them to the landscape about us.

We learn that getting goats for the scene was a challenge. There are only 800 Icelandic goats, which makes them an endangered species. There is little economic use for the goats, and apparently one lady watches out for about half of them. Publicity from the GOT shoot got her enough donations to continue her work for about 10 years.

Next, we stop in the mountains and go to the spot where Brianne and the Hound had their battle. It’s a rocky and barren spot with beautiful vistas all around.

Our final stop is at a recreated  Viking village.

This is where a Wildling attack was filmed, and Theo spends a fair amount of time talking about how fight scenes are filmed, and with the help of a young neuroscientist from the tour group, demonstrates punches, stabbings, and throat cutting and how they can look convincing to a camera which, with its single lens, has no depth perception.

Theo has a goal of picking interesting people on the tour to stab in his demonstrations, like nuns, grandmothers, and frightened young children. Today, the young scientist will have to do.

The Viking dwellings are well suited to their surroundings, made of stone, a little wood, and covered with sod and live grasses. In the middle ages, entire villages would have lived together inside these long houses, and they would have brought in some of the animals too, for warmth.

Evening Northern Lights Tour

Today is our busiest day. When we get back from the Game of Thrones tour, we have about an hour to eat left-overs before we are back down at the bus stop by 8:30 pm. We have a chance at seeing the northern lights.

This is a big bus and every seat is filled. They take us about half an hour out of town to a small church on a hill, where we are convinced there is still too much light pollution to see anything. A number of buses are here and more come until there are a few hundred of us standing around.

There are street lights around the church, and the pinnacle of the church is all lit up. Still, as our eyes adjust we see stars and a bit of the milky way.  We identify the big dipper. And when we notice a large portion of the group has gone to one side around the church, we follow.

We see what appear to be faint lights above the horizon, but these give more the impression of wispy clouds lit from below by city lights. Over time they grow and brighten, taking on a soft green tinge and spreading from horizon to horizon. We go back to the bus to get warm for a few minutes, and when Jane and I go back out, a much brighter show has begun overhead. The crowd gasps. I manage to see a wall of shimmering light appear in one of the arms of the aurora and dance down toward its end.

Tonight, these are not the spectacular Northern lights of blues, greens, and reds with sharp definition that you see in the magazines, but still, we are in Iceland and we are seeing the Northern Lights. It is amazing.

Wednesday, September 20th – the Golden Circle Tour

In the morning, we go to stand on a rainy street corner and wait for our Golden Circle Tour from Back to Iceland. Our driver parks across the street, blocking traffic on a small road, and comes over to get us.  His name is Tomas. He turns out to be genuine and talkative and shares his love of and concerns for his native Iceland.

It is raining and will rain most of the day, so Tomas calls on his knowledge of stops and picks out a few unforgettable indoor places. We don’t know it yet, but this is going to be a great food tour.

Our first stop is a little earthquake museum/mall/bakery/bank/giftshop. The museum part is cool because when they were putting up the building, they found a split between walls of rock that represent the parting of the North American and European tectonic plates. They continued to build over the crack but made the floor over the crack out of glass, so you can look down and see the split in the rock beneath your feet.

The bakery was exceptional and may have been the finest bakery in Iceland. The goodies are dazzling to look at and unforgettable to taste. I have no idea what it was we bought, but they were nice enough to sell us small slices of several things that we could share. A heavenly, heavenly breakfast.

We move on to the Krima a volcanic crater with a lake in the bottom. It’s raining lightly, and today we are better prepared than we were the day of the cliffs and the driving wind and cold. We have purchased basic, single-use rain gear that we pull on over our coats and hoods.

The still, green water in the basin of the crater is striking to look at.

Around noon we pull into Friedheimer, a greenhouse, steam powered, glacially watered, organic tomato farm. We go inside and find that there is also a restaurant with seating built among the rows of growing plants. It’s a brilliant idea. Carafes of water, each containing a couple cherry tomatoes, were present, and every dish available is based on tomatoes, even the desserts.

The restaurant is quite busy when we arrive, and Tomas is bringing us to show off the farm, but it is lunch time and they do manage to seat the 9 of us from the bus, including Tomas. Everyone goes for the specialty, which is tomato soup and bread served buffet style. On the table is a pickled cucumber relish, sour cream, and fresh Icelandic butter for the bread.

If you’ve ever had tomato soup, you’ve never had tomato soup like this. It compares to tomato soup at home like fresh Icelandic water compares to drinking from a rusty fountain on a city street. It is lighter with an exquisitely fresh and slightly sweet taste. The bread was in half a dozen or more varieties, all freshly baked and delicious as a treat all by itself. Perhaps the best touch were huge basil plants as centerpieces on the table along with special scissors for cutting fresh basil into your soup. Amazing!

We were going to have dinner out tonight, but we decide to have this as our eating out treat, as it is an experience as well as a meal. We also get to talk to Tomas for 45 minutes or so, and he has lots of stories about Iceland since the economic collapse of 2008 and the challenges of the workingman’s life.  We learn Costco is coming to Iceland and showing promise of bringing prices down through competition.

Tomas has been to many places in the US, and even tells us it is cheaper to fly to the US and come back with Christmas presents than it is to buy the same goods in Iceland.

He teaches me “Takk Fyrir,” for Thank You in Icelandic.

We go back into the rainy wild, seeing a mighty waterfall with a double level to it.  These falls go down into a canyon we cannot see the bottom of. They also send up so much mist that any time the sun appears there would have to have to be a rainbow.

Then we move on to Geysir, a geyser that erupts every few minutes at irregular intervals and strengths, so it’s great to stand and watch for a while as you never know what you will see over a 20 minute period.  We saw three minor bursts spaced out by 3 to 5 minutes each, then two high eruptions to 50 of feet or so, one right after the next only seconds apart.

Tomas tells us stories of Icelandic elves and how they have even caused highways to be rerouted by breaking construction machinery. It seems something that at least some Icelanders do believe in.

We head for Efstidalur, a cow farm, restaurant, hotel, and ice cream parlor. Another unforgettable stop. They make the ice cream on premises using the milk of their own cows, cows which are so close, you could walk through a door to meet them.

So, you are sitting at these cozy, rustic tables in this very nice space (has the feel of cabin more than store) and big picture windows give you a view directly into the barn where cows are eating hay, socializing, and young calves are playing about a bit.

Like the tomato soup, the ice cream is impossibly good, rich, and creamy.  We get ours in waffle cones. They make whatever flavors they want to make that day. I get vanilla, of course, because it is my favorite. Where other people think vanilla means “plain ice cream,” to me it is pure delicious ice cream, and all the other flavors are fancy add-ons, which are OK, but can’t replace the good stuff – vanilla.

By now we’re ready to go home for a nap, but we head out to a spot beside a very large lake where water rushes up from an underground river to fill the lake. Tomas tells us that when he does Northern Lights tours, this is one of the spots to which he brings his people. We are in the middle of nowhere here, and we realize there would be no ambient light. It would be pitch black with only the stars and the aurora overhead. He also says he does not start early or go back early. His tours start after 10 pm and go to 1:30 am.

The water is crystal clear and the cleanest drinking water on earth. It is delicious and may count as another food stop. Nearby is Silfa, where divers explore underground caves in these same clear, cold waters.

Our last stop is at another waterfall, a close and spectacular experience, where the water over the falls has a very visible green streak down the center, like green glass. All around are sheer walls of volcanic rock.

Finally, exhausted and very happy, we head back to Reykjavik.

On the way back, Tomas tells us about Christmas in Iceland.  They have 13 Stanta trolls who live in the hills in a secret cave, raised by an evil mother named Gryla.  Gryla and her husband will come and take naughty children and make them into soup. The 13 Santa trolls are not all good either. Some steal and others play mischievous tricks. A couple Santas are agreeable, and children know them all as individual characters.  For each of the 13 days before Christmas, they put out their shoes in hopes of small treats, leading up to the big presents on Christmas.

Back at our apartments, we talk about our adventures and prepare for our trip to the airport in the morning.

Thursday, September 21st – the trip back

On the way back to the airport, we get to see some new sites, as it was pitch black when we came along this route a week ago, and we experience the brightest skies and sun of the entire trip; we even see a couple rainbows.

We arrive in plenty of time and learn how to use a self-service kiosk to check in our luggage and get our tickets. Security is about the same as in the US, with shoes off, laptops out for examination, etc. Then we are into the shopping area and Jane buys some bags of duty free candy for the troops back home, and we are on our way.

Though the weather in Iceland proved unpredictable, the hospitality, breathtaking sights, and unforgettable food made it the adventure of a lifetime. Well, that is, if we don’t go back next year!

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