At 3.30 the alarm went off, signalling that it was time to finally make our way to the airport to start our next adventure. As we are usually fairly organised (less of me and more of my girlfriend) the bags were packed and waiting for us by the door ready to go straight in the car. A very quiet and uneventful drive later we made our way into the meet and greet car park at the airport. Easiest parking experience I have had. Simply drive into a lane, hand over your keys and you are done. In the terminal it was just as seamless. Check in the hold luggage and then through speedy boarding with minimal effort (except a certain fool not taking his liquids out of the bag… oops) and into the departure lounge. I can easily say that having speedy boarding and meet and greet made this flight the most enjoyable, if you can use that word, airport experience I have ever had.
When we were all through security my mind moves to the most important thing at this time of day… breakfast! If I am going to be awake at this sort of time in the morning I made sure I had time for a proper breakfast and Giraffe hit the spot. Then a hop, skip and jump on to the plane for 2 and a half hours and we were finally there.
My first thought of Iceland can be summed up in one word; eggy. I was well aware of the high sulphur content in the area that causes it but my nose was still not prepared for the smell.
Once we had got our keys from the helpful woman at the Budget desk it was a quick check of the maps and we were off. It took my brain (and body) a while to reprogram to the new car. Mainly as I was sitting on the wrong side and kept grabbing the car door to change gear out of habit. Anyone who has been to a foreign land where they drive on the opposite side will understand this. Within half an hour though, we were getting on well.
Pro Tip – Google Maps on iPhone displays the map and location without the need for data. We didn’t use it as a satnav but more as a general point of reference when exploring.
We had decided on the plane that we would do a little drive around the coast to get used to the car and explore a little of the country before we got to the hotel. Doing this we just happened to find the bridge between continents which was great. All the points of interest and landmarks are really well sign posted so as long as you go in the general direction you can find anything easily.
I can’t say the bridge itself was terribly impressive but it was interesting to see the border to two tectonic plates. The most impressive part was when we walked around the ridge past to bridge and could really take in the view. A very unusual landscape with black rock and sand extending in every direction as far as you could see. We also got our first experience of the stacked stones which I find fascinating. I vaguely recall this being something that the locals believe is the work of trolls but can’t remember where I read this.
After taking a lot of pictures, and soaking up the Icelandic air, it was time to jump back in the car and eat the double decker we had bought at the airport to keep the blood sugar up. It is never good going exploring with a grumbling stomach. With it being just after lunchtime we decided it was finally time to make our way to the hotel in Reykjavik. On the way there we got our first taste of how changeable the Icelandic weather can be. We experienced strong winds, rain, sleet, cloud, blue skies and sunshine. Signs of things to come!
That is the first installment of the holiday diary. I have decided not to do a full daily run down as we did so much each day it would be an essay each time. Want it to be in manageable chunks for my sake as much as yours.
Ciao for now!