Thursday, 2 May 2013

Iceland April 2013

Iceland – April 2013
Day 1 – Flew into Keflavik airport from Edinburgh, 2 hour flight. Met by guy from Blue Car Rental, now I will say I found it strange we didn’t get a confirmation email from them but apparently it’s normal not to reply to mail in Iceland. However no probs, got the car and away we went on the road to Reykjavik, after not too many map mishaps we worked out there was a car park not far from our hotel nice modern, dark interior, boutique hotel with a massive front door, plenty of amenities and free Wi-Fi throughout and at £60 a night absolute bargain, breakfast was great too!. Dropped the bags and round the corner for the first of many delicious food experiences at   where we had salmon and tuna starters and lamb and meat cannelloni.

Day 2 – Off to Geysir and Gullifoss, we left about 9.30 am and headed towards Pingvallir national park, where you can stop off to look at the rift between the tectonic plates, great viewing spots for taking photos. Back on the road to Geysir next, stopped and had coffee at the visitors centre before a short walk over the road to see the spectacle, very impressive when they blow and lots of excited people taking footage, well worth a look. Next stop Gullifoss where you can park and walk down to the falls, again a photographers dream. We came back by the Selfoss road and into the city where by this time we were pretty much clued up on the roads and got back to the hotel no bother about 4pm. Now I have to say here that for some parts of the journey it may be a bit bleak and monotonous for the driver, however as a passenger I could soak up the ponies and cute little houses (Icelandic houses rock, they are so pretty, like on the programme Grand Designs). So feet firmly on the ground time to check out Reykjavik and its Happy Hour, there are some really nice visual arts just of the main street where the kids have a skate park, full of artistic graffiti and in the evening sunshine it was all very Nordic feeling. The drink is 2 for 1 during happy hour and we got tanked up at a few different places
Then onto where the food was’ totes amaze’, we opted for a sharing platter starter of fish stew, whale, lobster and various other muse bouche sized bites, (a word on whale,, normally I don’t go for that sort of thing and I only had a bite size chunk but it could be described as beef steak), this was followed by lovely steak and fish. I love my food and have to say everything we ate on our trip was top quality and really tasty, couldn’t fault anything food related, some may say it’s pricey but I’d say it was same as fine dining back here in Scotland and you really do get what you pay for.
Anyway we strolled off down the street for a few swifter’s and a bit of drunken souvenir shopping and then to bed, a great day to remember.

Day 3 – Leisurely rising and fuelling up on the breakfast buffet we decided we wouldn’t go too far today but if we could get to Glymur falls and back just after lunch time then that would be enough. However as we climber over Hvalfjordur the weather closed in and started to snow and no amount of searching revealed the road to turn up to the falls, there was no sign post for Glymur but we did see a sign with Fossa which was probably it but we decided not to chance it and turned round back to the city. Parked up and in the mood for some culture we went to see the Viking long house
Interesting to find out about the DNA of Icelandic people and to see that there are things like place names in common with our home Caithness.
From there we went up the Laugavegi to the very top to where for a small fee you can take the lift to the top for great views over the city.
Here we opted for the 5 course for 2 and although it was probably the best part of a hundred quid it was well worth it, every single course was gorgeous, seems to be a Vietnamese/Icelandic food fusion and not knowing what was coming next was all part of the experience.

Day 4 – our last day, as our flight was at 8pm we decided to explore the Reykjanes peninsula where the airport is located. Heading off toward Reykjanesbaer we turned off for Sandgerdi in hope of finding the nature museum but no luck, we carried on to see the lighthouses at Garoskagi  before making our way to Keflavik where we spent a good couple of hours at the Duushus cultural and another delicious lunch of lamb soup, muscles and chips and baked cod and a look at the glass blowing studio(had to buy tea light holders with volcanic ash in the glass!) really nice guy who chatted away about Iceland and life in general. The girl who served us lunch recommended we head south about 20km to Gunnuhver to the geothermal area, passing on the way the bridge between Europe and America where the plates are drifting apart 2cm a year. Very smelly and smokey but none the less it was a sight worth seeing as it’s so unusual. And so to home.....

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