Friday, August 14, 2015

Heading home....through Iceland

Iceland Air flies to Anchorage and we'd been reading about some good deals on the airline.  It sounded great to fly straight home without having to go back to the lower 48.  We looked at dates and one of the reasons we stayed a little longer in Stockholm was that we wanted to schedule our return on the cheapest possible flight date. And, bonus, Iceland Air allows you a free stop-over in Iceland. We'd have to change planes there, anyway, so why not stay over a few days and see a little bit of Iceland?!  Yippee!

We flew into Keflavik and had rented a car from a place called SAD Cars.  Now, at first, I thought SAD was some sort of acronym, but actually, I think they were describing their cars.  :)  They were pretty worn but lots cheaper than anyone else and they had a mechanic on site, so we figured what the heck!  First we got picked up at the airport and driven a few miles to their office in a nondescript building near an old NATO base.  There were two van fulls of us arriving and we had to wait a few minutes in line to get our car.  After finishing the paperwork with the very nice office workers, we got some directions to Reykjavik and headed out.  The car was about out of gas because they don't require you to return it with any gas in it so our first stop was a gas station just as we were entering the highway to Reykjavik. We went to the bathroom and got a few snacks and were about to hit the road when Rich realized he didn't have his backpack.  We searched the car and couldn't find it so we drove back to SAD Cars and luckily they'd found it and kept it for him. Whew!  After that little detour we took off for Reykjavik and enjoyed the sights along the way. We were amazed at the topography, which looked like we were on the moon.  Lots of volcanic rock everywhere and very little green at that time of year.
We had directions to the apartment we'd rented but had a terrible time finding it once we got to Reykjavik. The street names didn't seem to match up and we ended up driving all the way down to the water front and trying to work our way into the downtown area amidst one way streets and traffic signs that we didn't understand. Did that one mean no entry or just no parking?! Eventually we found the apartment and Rich went to see if we could check in but it was too early and the apartment was not ready.  It was chilly and windy but we were going to walk around a bit and get some lunch while we waited.  Rich went to lock the hatchback of the car so we could leave our suitcases and laptop, etc. but when he did, something jammed and the hatch would not close tightly.  He messed around with it for awhile, with no luck.  So he went back to the apartment building, hit the intercom again and asked the guy if we could just bring our bags in and leave them till check in time.  Yes, we could, so we lugged everything across the street and left them in the office.

There were several places to eat nearby so we settled on a little cafe, got something to eat, and hung out for awhile to pass the time.  We then walked around and looked into some shops, getting colder and colder, till we could finally go back and check into our apartment.
 Our little Icelandic apartment--home for a few days
Everything was very compact. The lower left drawer is a dishwasher. The washer was a washer and dryer combo.   I was excited to get to do laundry till I realized that the dryer sounded like a jet plane taking off and went on forever.  Apparently it just kinda cooks the clothes. I eventually took them out and hung them all over the apartment.  We also couldn't figure out the stove and had to call the office guy to come help us!
But I loved the heated towel rack in the bathroom! 

We made a little pilgrimage to a grocery store and stocked up on a few things for our stay.  We discovered Skyr--similar to yogurt, a cultured dairy product that's been a part of Icelandic culture for over 1000 years.  As a yogurt fan, I really liked it, maybe even better than yogurt.  :)

The next morning, we walked around town and stopped at City Hall, which was hosting an arts and crafts fair.  City Hall juts out into the water and you get there by walking across a bridge. Pretty cool.  City Hall is a true public place which puts on events like the arts and crafts fair and art exhibits, and has a little luncheonette so you can have a meal while taking care of business.

Funny art. Blockhead??  That's City Hall down there on the water.  Icelanders are really talented and crafty. I read that men and women both knit and we saw all kinds of sweaters, scarves, mittens and other knitted items, along with carvings and jewelry and clothing, etc.  We also learned that their language is one of the few that is still very close to the original language and that they protect it as much as they can by not allowing "foreign" words to infiltrate.  For example, if there is a new product that they didn't have a word for, they will create a new Icelandic word rather than using a foreign word.  They have made an exception for a few, like "email."  They also have some extra letters that we don't have in English.
I bought a cute little carved bird as a souvenir for home, and some adorable leggings for Ada, which coincidentally or not also had birds on them.

More wandering around town on our way back to the apartment.

1 comment:

Suzassippi said...

I am seriously in love with this place! That looks like exactly the kind of place I wished I least right now.