And we’re off to Iceland.
Unfortunately, with flights just recovering their previous schedules, we couldn’t fly direct out of Vancouver to Reykjavik. We had to book via Seattle.
We flew to SeaTac mid morning and had a 4 hour layover. The upside of that is we had time for a nice breakfast in YVR, tasty lunch in SEA and a bit of time to hang out in the lounge. We try to look at the silver linings.
After zero sleep on the plane, we arrived in Reykjavik bright and early (and cranky and tired) at 0630.
Alcohol is limited and expensive in Iceland, so the suggestion was to buy wine at the airport duty free prior to the final customs check (with all the locals that were on our flight!). Good think we had those wine bags in our carry-on!
The Sixt car rental agency was a quick walk outside the airport. We picked up our car – a brand new Jeep Compass. It has less than 1200km on the clock. We fear we are going to leave it in less pristine shape than we found it!
We drove into Reykjavik to shop, find breakfast and tour the city a bit.
The Sun Voyager is a stainless steel ‘boat’ sculpture created in the 1990s and called ‘an ode to the sun’ by artist Jon Gunnar Arnason. The sculpture is intended to convey the promise of an undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.
There is some interesting art in the city. This one is called “Detox” at the Pink Iceland travel agency.
The Rainbow Street in the older part of Reykjavik.
Also right here was a cool coffee shop. All sorts of leather bound books and jazz playing. Great place for us to grab an expresso and tea.
Alas the breakfast place Kris had picked out was very recently permanently closed. There aren’t many gluten free options here so Dave’s choices are quite limited.
In the main park in town is a statue of Norwegian chieftan Ingolfur Arnarson. He is credited as the first permanent settler in Iceland in 874. Although Irish monks are believed to have been the first to arrive in Iceland as temporary settlers sometime between the 7th and 9th centuries, Ingolfur and his wife, Hallveig Frodadottir were the first to stay.
According to the Landnamabok, the medieval written work which describes the settlement of Iceland, Ingolfur was driven out of Norway by King Harald Fairhair. He sailed to Iceland and threw two carved pillars overboard as he neared land, vowing to settle wherever they landed. He originally named Iceland ‘snow land’.
The Hallgrimskirkja is a Lutheran church and the largest church in Iceland. It is also among the tallest structures in the country. The 74.5m spire is curved with ‘wings’, making the building look like a space shuttle!
As we are mostly cooking in we had to get groceries. Bonus, with their pig logo, is the place to go. We got most of what we needed. The rest we found at the Kronan in Selfoss. And we found some Omnom chocolate bars before we left town!
After a 2-ish hour drive south and east along the coast, we have arrived at the Black Beach Suites just west of the tiny town of Vik.
Dinner was take-out from The Soup Company in Vik.
A quick trip to the black sand beach in Vik completed our first day. We will return to this beach later in the week.