Traveling to Iceland from where I live is not so easy but is worth every minute (or hour, or a few 🙂 ) of waiting at airport security and passport control, and every hour spent in the air (though, I must be honest, as I adore flying, those hours on a plane for me are not a waste of time but rather an essential part of every journey). It took us literally almost 12 hours to arrive in Iceland (2 hours waiting time at the airport at home, 2 hours for flight number 1, 4 hours transfer time at the biggest European airport (Frankfurt), a little more than 3 hours for flight number 2, and here we were.
Iceland’s airport is relatively small and very well-organized and it took us almost no time to get our bags, get the rental cars we have booked well in advance and start this remarkable journey (well, as it is still going on, at least I hope it will be remarkable).
The best way to really be able to appreciate Iceland is with a car. There are ways to see all the major touristic sights in the so called Golden circle around Reykjavik with public transport (organized tours) but only with a car and on your own you can best see all the other wonderful things this amazing country has to offer.
Our first stop, right after we landed, was the Blue lagoon, the world-famous natural thermal SPA complex, which is so well-known and described by so many, that I won’t dedicate any time to it now. I will say only that no pictures I have seen before coming here could prepare me for this amazing and out-of-this-world place.
When coming to Iceland you should be well aware that even in summer the weather can be very cold and the almost constant wind and drizzle makes it even colder. 10 to 15 Celsius is the most you can usually expect during the Icelandic summer. Dress as you would for a mild winter/early spring days in the more moderate climate zones. Wind shield/waterproof upper layer is essential. Sun glasses that can protect you from the wind are also a very good idea. Hiking shoes are also a good choice, even if you don’t plan to go long distances on foot.
After the Blue lagoon we visited Reykjavik, the country’s small but very charming capital, and paid a visit to the church Hillgrimskirkja, the tallest building in Reykjavik. You can pay entrance fee of 8 EUR and get to the top of it for a breath-taking view over the city. Entrance to the main building of the church, where you can see it’s wonderful pipe organ, is free.
Then we were planning to visit the recently opened Cat cafe, Kattakaffihusid, on Bergstaðastræti 10a, but unfortunately we were there a few minutes after the closing time, 18:00, and we could see its inhabitants, two very beautiful black-and-white cats, only from outside. Obviously, as I am a crazy cat lady, now I have a reason to come back 🙂
After that it was time to stock on food and other things and head over to the place where we were staying for the first 2 nights – a charming country house in the small town of Fludir.
And finally, I must add few more things before I end this account of my first day.
Iceland is a relatively expensive country, so if you want to go on a budget trip, be prepared to buy supplies from the big supermarkets and cook your own food (it is a good idea to stay at home rentals, like houses or flats, not in hotels, where you will have all the necessary appliances to do that). There are a lot of chain stores in the country, you can find a lot of useful information on the internet, just have in mind that most of them don’t work late, the usual closing time is around 18:00, with only a few exceptions.
If you are making a road trip, it is a good idea to buy in advance pre-paid cards for car fuel, because outside the major cities there aren’t any big gas stations, only gas pumps, where you can pay for the fuel only with these cards as there is no personnel at all.
And last but not least, if you are visiting this amazing country in the summer months, as I am now, be prepared for the 24-hour long day. The sun never sets during the summer. In my opinion, this is absolutely amazing! But you have any trouble sleeping, better have a personal blindfold (eye mask for covering the eyes) during the night hours, or you won’t be able to sleep at all.
That’s it for now 🙂