Town car was 15 minutes early, which was perfect because we had just fed the cats and could use the food as a distraction to slip out the front door. We had a calm, stress-free drive to the airport and everything went smoothly. Except for the TSA checkpoint.
Apparently, the drawstrings on my sweatpants have metal tabs on them, which threw an alert on the body scan. In my frontal area. So, I got the deluxe edition of the “pat down”, which involved what looked like tai chi. Katie also got stopped, but lucky for her, it was her bag that caused the issue. It appears that if you have a bundle of 3+ protein bars in your bag, it looks like a suspicious brick.
Once we were all sorted, we headed to the terminal and checkout the Iceland Air lounge, which surprisingly was a lot better than the Alaska Airlines lounge. Good amount of beverages to choose from, chips, and cookies. Oh, the cookies. After stuffing our bags, we relaxed for about an hour before we boarded our flight.
Just before boarding, we noticed our seating arrangements didn’t appear to be side-by-side like how I booked online. I was in 6C, Katie in 8G. I thought that was odd, but opted to figure it out once we boarded. When we entered the plane, something looked off. Based on my research, we should have been in a row of three seats, with the middle seat empty or converted. I researched the differences between Saga Class (1st), Economy Comfort (2nd), and Economy (3rd) to see the value. The only difference between 1st and 2nd was a slightly larger screen, free beverage, and slightly more leg room. Economy Comfort still promised only two people per bank of seats. I thought we were golden! It looks like they upgraded planes, because it looked, well, normal. And I wasn’t the only one surprised! Many people found they weren’t sitting next to their travel companion when they had done the same research and selected the same seating assignments as I. I sat next to Katie anyways, and waited for 8F to tell me I was in their spot. The plane filled up, someone sat in my original seating, and 8F never showed up. We lucked out!
Or so we thought. Now, the plane left at 4:30pm and was set to arrive in Iceland at 7am the next day. Which means Katie and I planned to be awake for 3/4 hours then sleep the rest of the time. We had the chattiest older ladies behind us, it was insane. They slept for the first 2 hours of the flight, but I knew when the one behind me awoke because I saw her neck pillow and book land in the aisle next to me. Then she would constantly fuss with the tray table and taking things in/out of the pocket, but I can forgive that. What I can’t forgive is not being able to drown out constant laughter and loud talking for FIVE HOURS! I had solid over-the-ear headphones, and even put in ear plugs, then put on my headphones, then turned up my music 75% of the way, and I could still hear them. My problem is this: how do you tell someone to not talk because you want to sleep? They were clearly enjoying themselves, and certainly found a pleasant way to pass the time, but if I told them to keep it down, I don’t think they could because the plane is loud and I deduced that one of them may have been hard-of-hearing. So, Katie and I just exchanged glances that confirmed our constant misery and we watched Better Call Saul. Pretty good!
We landed in Reykjavik around 6:15am, breezed through Customs, and successfully retrieved our *gasp* checked bags (haven’t checked a bag in 10+ years). We took the FlyBus from the airport (runs every 10-15 minutes to any hotel you want) and arrived in the city about an hour later after nearly having the best nap ever. Seriously, that bus was comfortable and quiet.
We checked-in to our hotel (Hotel Borg) and they informed us they were all booked last night and were working on our early check-in accommodation. We wanted it even more to squeeze in a three hour nap. We changed into warmer clothes and left our bags with reception while we went to get breakfast.
We walked up to the main Reykjavik shopping street to a bakery/cafe called Sandholt. They are really known for their breads, but man, good. stuff. We sat and had salmon, cream cheese, and dill on pretzel buns (literal pretzels), lattes, and shared a croissant with jam and butter. The croissant flaked exactly how you would want it to! We paid for breakfast and got a few macaroons to-go because they also had delicious looking pastries! It was hard to only choose one type of thing.
We started crashing and walked to our hotel and were greeted with wonderful news that our room was just now ready! We fast walked to the elevator after getting our keys, and went to the floor our room was on. We are very happy with it! This is an art deco hotel, and from the photos we were a little worried it was going to be a bit too dark (grey walls, black furniture), however it’s much brighter/lighter than the photographs. The bathroom has heated floors! We checked the time, 11am, and raced to take a nap before our alarm at 12:15pm to get ready for the bus pickup for our Icelandic horse ride through the lava fields!
I didn’t know how hard I could sleep within an hour. I wanted to keep sleeping. But it would be irresponsible to miss the Icelandic horse ride again (last time I had the flu) as well as negatively impact our jet lag. Begrudgingly we got up, put on layers, and headed downstairs for pickup.
Riding the Icelandic horses was awesome. They are cute and stout and have great haircuts. Easiest ride, ever. Except for the wind and rain. We were prepared for the rain and slight wind, but not the full force that came through on the last half of our ride. Our very nice jackets eventually couldn’t keep us warm, our feet were cold (despite wearing wool socks w/silk sock liners), and both of our gloves (rain/wind proof) were soaked through. I wanted to zip my jacket up some more about half way through the ride, but my fingers seemed to be frozen around the reigns and definitely could not work a zipper. The scenery was gorgeous though. Snow-capped mountains, a lake, lava fields, some green contrasting against the wheat colored grass and grey sky. Loved it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get our photos taken on our horses because we were too cold. But we will always have the memory!
Tonight we are dining in (hotel restaurant which is run by a very good/recognized Icelandic chef) so we can eat some good food, stay up until maybe 8:30pm, then fall fast asleep. The restaurant was actually closed because they are remodeling it into a Jamie Oliver Italian dining place. We walked 3 Doors Down and ate at a place called Apotek. Very good food, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. It’s an Icelandic restaurant with an Argentinian twist, which really just seemed to describe it’s tapas style. We had:
We have our first all day tour tomorrow with an 8 AM pickup and get to have dinner with my sister and her husband in the evening!
Continue Reading: Iceland 2017 : Day 2 E15 & Treasure