velkomin á Íslandi: Welcome to Iceland

After a couple hour delay in Seattle into San Francisco (and learning to from here on out always book a direct) I was hurrying to the international gate for a 3:00 PM departure to Iceland.  Once on board I felt like I had been transported into a world of simplistic efficiency.   

Everything on Iceland Air was clean, orderly and thoughtful…this theme continued from when I landed in Iceland at 6:00 AM and was at baggage claim by 6:30 hugging Jess hello…who had arrived moments before.  Everything was simple, not stressful, relaxing…calm.  Jess noted that the airport was almost silent as there was no music playing, no loud talking and the missing hassle that is in almost every national airport. Jess and I gathered our bags, purchase a bottle of wine (told it was cheaper at the airport than in town) and moved our 8:45 AM shuttle to the Blue Lagoon to 7:15.  

We were at the Blue Lagoon by 8:00 without a hitch.  We stored our luggage in the luggage room, once again, very systematic and organized and tried to check in early for our appointment.  

Part of being organized and efficient is sticking to the rules and given our time of entry was from 11-12 Jess and I took a seat at the Café to relax for a couple while we awaited our time slot at the beautiful Blue Lagoon.

I took the time to brush my teeth, switch out my contacts and have a long awaited latte.  The time flew by and by no time we were walking into the steaming waters of the Blue Lagoon.  Once again having no detail spared we purchased drinks and a water proof Phone case and went on our way to discover the Blue Lagoon.  Much different than other hot springs I had been to in the past (MUCH larger than Chena Hot Springs) and much more commercial but yet more relaxing and simplistic.  

After almost two hours, 1 drink, Icelandic Pure Water, 1 mud mask, and many pictures, we were ready to move on to our adventure into town. We changed, picked up our luggage and walked onto our prepaid transfer to downtown Reykjavik. 

Everything on time, everything easy and everyone speaking English as if that was the language of the country. After a 45 minute nap…I mean bus ride … Jess and I were let out at stop 10 and enjoyed the most amazing burger I have ever had at Krost in Hlemmur Square.  It might have been the ravenous hunger but I thought the burger was out of this world….it might have been that it also was $25 so I expected the best.

To that point, we heard that Iceland was SO expensive but it was not that far off from Denver or Seattle.  Around $10 for a beer/drink and around $20-$25 for a meal.  After our burgers we were in desperate need of a nap and new clothes.  Kolbrun, our host for our AirBnB picked us up outside Krost at 15:00 and brought us to our home for the next week.  Speaking just a little English, she gave us a great tour and showed us around a VERY spacious (for Iceland) and modern home away from home.  Leaving us some goodies as a welcome gift we were both smitten at the location and the place.

We had decided to stay outside of Reykjavik  due to the limited amount of hotels and the expensive of the hotels.  Everything we found in Reykajavik was over $300 a night and looked very small.  We also had heard Iceland was expensive so we wanted to find somewhere with a kitchen so we could cook and eat as much as possible in our house.  

Lastly, we heard Iceland was known for very simplistic and small living and with two people we were a little concerned so when we found a place in Seltjarnarnes and it looked big and unique and looked like it was right one the water and next to public transit.  

It also had amazing reviews. We were not disappointed and felt like it was a great choice. We even had a water view.

We settled into our find, unpacked, took a nap and were off to watch Iceland play Croatia in the world cup. We originally were thinking about headed downtown to Reykjavik but we had not yet figured out the bus and the walk would be too far for the energy we had right now.  We also realized in this moment how reliant we are on Lyft and Uber.  This was the first time either of us has been in a country without ride shares and it was definitely putting both of us out of our comfort zone.  Given we had been up for almost 24 hours, we decided to head to a bar right across the street and hope for the best.  We went to Rauda Ljonid across the street.  It wasn’t as crowded as we thought it would be and it was very local, which was perfect. All the tables were full but we pulled over two chairs for the slot machine room and put them in the back of the room.

It was the perfect place to watch the game.  We were there with the locals and there was not any English being spoken and it was funny to have everyone glancing over at us wondering our story and why we were there.  During the game we were a little concerned about getting to know the locals because no one seemed interested in talking or even really friendly BUT after the game that all changed.  When Iceland lost it was obviously disappointing but there was no angry outbursts or even any yelling.  Everyone just got up and left.  In Iceland there are no taps, everyone pays as they go, so it cleaned out within minutes.  Jess and I found our way to the bar as we needed to order dinner and we always wanted to see if after the game people would be more open to talking. Within 5 minutes we were surrounded.  We met the most interesting people and everyone was friendly, interested, eager to teach us about Iceland and the language.  We had a blast. 

We realized we needed to eat dinner and ordered a thin crust pizza…..$35!!  We were starting to see the expensive side of Iceland.  After a couple hours of learning Icelandic (how to say Thank You, Goodbye, Asking for the Check…and learning there was no word for Please) we headed home as we were now pushing 24 hours of being up.  

Before we went home we hit the grocery store across the street to stock up on breakfast food.  We purchased 1/2 dozen eggs, cheese, bread, peanut butter and jelly for $50.  I noted that in Mexico it was around $2.50 for even more food.  We also got to see some giant lemons

This was going to be a pricey week. We ventured home at around 10:30 taking a picture to note how light it still was and went to bed loving the fact we had nothing to do tomorrow until 2:00 PM!

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