Friday, June 16, 2017
A painfully early morning in Barcelona – we rise at 4:15 to catch a taxi to the airport. I had been a bit concerned about dragging our luggage through the morning streets trying in desperation to hail a cabbie. However, all we had to do was step out, turn onto one of the main streets by the apartment and a taxi came flying by. It is worth noting that this driver drove like he was in Grand Theft Auto video game. Kinda scary but at least there was no traffic on the road.
Easy check in and quick 2 hour flight to Heathrow. We had a long enough connection to visit the lounge, get a bite and relax before our 3 hour journey to Iceland. The Icelandair flight was surprisingly full. Icelandair has been smartly running a promotion where you can fly from the US to many spots in Europe and take a 7-day or less stopover in Iceland for no more $. A ton of folks have been taking advantage of this great perk.
Kudos also to Icelandair for noting upon check-in that Rich was tall. The agent immediately offered us Exit Row seating. Thank you! The flight attendants are throw-backs to the 60’s with their suited uniforms and pillbox hats. Very cute. Nice service, too.
Our car is picked up from Blue Car rentals (super friendly and easy). For the first time ever we agree to the extra insurance. They already supply most insurance, but offer a special “Sand and Ash” insurance if you are traveling South (we are). I read a lot online about how huge winds can blow around the sand and basically sandblast your rental car. Many tourists have been surprised with a $$$$ damage bill at the end of their trip. Seems prudent. (We learned on the flight that Iceland is the 3rd windiest place on earth – who knows where are the other 2?)
Today we will be heading for the Southern Coast of Iceland on the “Ring Road” – hwy 1. Very easy – you can’t get lost. The scenery leaving the airport is not really very pretty and I am already wondering why we thought it would be beautiful here. Hope it gets better. It is rainy and foggy and you can’t see anything anyway.
In my reasearch of Iceland I did hear that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 20 minutes. It is true. We go from rain to fog to sunshine. The farther we get away from Reykjavik the more the scenery improves. Click HERE for our route.
The first actual destination on our journey is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. It is raining when we arrive but we are not deterred.
At this waterfall you can actually walk behind the falls – cool!
It really isn’t as cold as it looks – probably about 40-50F, but the wet conditions make it feel colder.
We can’t really believe where we are – it is stunningly beautiful.
Our destination for the evening is Hotel Skogar in Skogafoss (“foss” means waterfall). It is located right by another fabulous waterfall (Skogafoss) and was chosen for that reason. We plan to hike to the falls tomorrow morning.
As with most hotels in Iceland, the rooms are small and simple. Hotels/guesthouses are not extremely plentiful here. Tourism is just starting to boom. I am so happy that I made our arrangements months ago. Most places are completely filled up. Also the rooms can be very expensive. However, it is nice and clean and the bed is comfy.
It is already getting late – around 8:00pm. Even though the sun sets around midnight (and rises at 3:00am!) restaurants close relatively early. We decide to view the falls the neighbor hotel Bistro Bar at dinner.
After a quick dry change we walk back over to the Bistro Bar at Hotel Skogafoss. (I am starting to wonder if we will be constantly changing in and out of wet/dry clothes and shoes here?)
A table looking at the waterfall and couple of $15 beers later along with lamb shanks makes us happy, happy. You can see Skogafoss in the background.
We have come a long way today and we are both wondering what is in store for us in this beautiful and strange place.