Originally published 25 June 2013
We're in Keflavik!
We get up at zero too damn early this morning (actually, 4:30 a.m.). We were staying at an airport hotel, within walking distance to the terminal. We walked out the front door of the hotel and a cab was waiting. We asked if he had a fare and he didn't....so we paid probably more than we should for a short ride....but at 4:30......it looked like a pretty good deal.
Lunch in Iceland
We checked our bags and went through security. UK security is so much easier.....you go through, put your stuff in a bin, you don't take your shoes off unless they have really big heels (like platforms), and walk through a magnetometer. Then you're done. Their security personnel are MUCH nicer and considerably more pleasant to deal with. So we're through with that. We get some breakfast at "Pret a Manger".......a European chain. All their food is organic or free range, reasonably priced, and most of all, pretty good.
Icelandic hotdogs....they're different!
I'm not one to worry about the free range/organic thing...but the quality of the food is good. I had an egg salad sandwich with something called "rocket", which is apparently some type of greens, sort of like lettuce. I wanted a donut from Krispy Kreme...but they're proud of Krispy Kreme over here....at around $2.10 american for a donut. I have, however, eaten local donuts in europe. Sometimes you get what you pay for.....
The Keflavik harbor
You don't have a gate assignment in the UK. Everyone is out in a central area waiting, and about ten minutes before boarding begins, they post the gate. Everyone goes to the gate and gets in line. It's EasyJet again....an easy choice with tickets from Luton (London) to Iceland for around 100 bucks which includes a checked bag. Flying in Europe is not only more civilized....it's much cheaper. There are dozens of discount airlines....Ryan, EasyJet, Wizz, Berlin Wings, etc., and they're much cheaper than the trains for most of Europe.
We take our seats, take off, I put on my walkman...and it's lights out. 4:30 a.m. is just too damn early. I wake a few times during the 2.5 hour flight, but needed the sleep I got. Laurie is such a light sleeper she didn't sleep, thus an afternoon nap. I wake on descent into Iceland and look out the window....and it looks like the moon! It's flat and looks like what I would imagine tundra looks like. Landing is uneventful.....always a good thing.
Our little cabin!
Inside our little cabin
Customs and passport control in Iceland is.........very easy. We walked up to the booth, the flipped our passports open, and stamped them. No passport scans, no checking if we were wanted, I was a bit surprised. Then we went through customs, which consists of picking a "items to declare" or "no items to declare" lines. We were declaring nothing, so we wound up going through a set of automatic doors and out into the terminal. While easy, I'm not sure if this is good or not. Like I said to Laurie, I guess the Icelanders aren't worried about Al Queida blowing up their......rocks. We get money from bank machines and call our hotel, which sends a shuttle bus. We ride with a bunch of cyclist from the UK here for a two week charity ride. With the next few days holding nothing but rain, we hold no envy for them. We're unable to check in as it's so early....so we leave our bags and walk into the village.
Corrugated metal is the preferred building material here.
It's a gorgeous little village, right on the water. We go to the grocery first, wanting to see what prices were like. It's supposed to be more expensive here, which we expected. We just weren't sure how much more expensive. It seems that things are on par with what it costs in London. London isn't cheap, but it's not like Scandanavia, where a .2 liter beer costs 12 dollars. Meat is expensive, with a pound of ground beef being around 7 or 8 bucks....but other things are much more reasonable than expected. This will work....we'll do fine!
We wander a bit, and go to the "TI" ( tourist information). These are all over Europe and are manned with very knowledgeable people armed with all matters of brochures and maps to make planning your visit a LOT easier. They also book rooms as well. Even the smallest towns usually have a TI.......and they are a great asset to the traveler. After that, we're hungry!
I've never heard of Polar Beer!
We wind up having lunch in a fairly popular place...a diner like place called "Olsen Olsen". We expect Iceland food to be a bit different. The have things here like puffin, horse meat, and whale meat. I have a hotdog which is pretty good if not a bit odd. It has bacon, beans, and a hotdog on it. Laurie has some minced lamb sandwich which I thought was considerably better than my hot dog! No puffin, horse meat, or whale sandwiches though.
Cafe Duus, coffee and dessert
After lunch, we head down the waterfront to check out a place I had heard of, called Cafe Duus. It turns out it's fairly high end for here. We have lattes and a desert, enjoying the view out the windows to the bay. Across a boat basin at the breakwater is a rough looking "cabin", cut back in the cliff. It's windows are doors are huge........we realize that we are at the home of “Skessu”, the giant! Skessu is a character in children’s books here....kinda like the cat in the hat for Iceland kids.
The giant, Skessu!
Apparently she lives in a house cut into the cliffs of Keflavik watching over the harbor. (This house/cave was built a few years ago). When you go in, the giant groans and makes noise.....and you can look in. She sits in a rocking chair looking out on the water. She’s about 16 feet tall! It’s pretty cute, we have to admit. A few photos and we walk back to our hotel. We’re staying in a little cottage......we have a private bath, a little kitchen...we’re pretty good! Laurie’s nap is over....I think we’ll do some grocery shopping and check out more of the town!
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
Click below to go directly to a specific post. They are in chronological order