Thursday, March 26, 2009

Iceland - Day 1

So, getting to Iceland (on a five-hour overnight flight that got in to Reykjavik at 6:30AM and was full of screaming children and constant offers of drinks and snacks and they left the lights on FOR EVER) was not super fun, but since then things have been really lovely, although also really really cold.

We arrived right on time and caught our airport transfer bus with no difficulty, plus our hotel (Fosshotel Lind, booked through Icelandair as a package with the airfare) had a room available for us when we arrived before 9AM, which was great. Then we went out and did some sightseeing! We got a museum admission/discount card/bus pass, two days for something like $10-12 per person, and we have been using it all over town. So far today we've been to several museums (about which more later, maybe), and done some shopping (although not yet any buying).

Some of the highlights so far:

Going to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest point in Reykjavik. The tower is under repair, so we had to look out through scaffolding, but it was great anyhow. It was incredibly windy up there. Here's Kris trying to take a photo:

Kris attempts to take a photo at the top of the Hallgrimskirkja

Here is a guy working on the scaffolding:

Hallgrimskirkja view, with scaffolding and workman

I really hope there is some magical way that the guys up there manage to keep warm. They do get a lovely view, though:


Reykjavik is a very attractive city, small and easily walkable, and there are wonderful sea and mountain views everywhere:


A lot of the buildings have the kind of siding and metal roofs that I associate with Quebec - I guess they must be practical in cold weather for some reason?

Iceland street scene

So far we are finding costs very reasonable - we were really pleased at prices the yarn and knitwear products at the Handknitting Association of Iceland store, and there is some very nice lava-rock jewelry available in several stores. I'm still not quite sure what exchange rate we're going to receive, so we're just pretending that it's 100 Icelandic Kronur to $1 US, even though it will actually be better than that, possibly much better (some websites give the exchange rate as around 113 ISK/$1, others as more like 175 ISK/$1. Obviously I'm rooting for 175, no offense Icelanders).

OK, time for a much-needed shower before dinner!