Monday, 4 March 2013

Entering the Land of Fire and Ice: First Impressions of Iceland.

Coming down through the clouds into Keflavik airport I wasn’t really surprised to see it was raining. Though rain does seem to follow me around the world, it wasn’t the biggest stretch of the imagination to think it might be a bit wet in Iceland at the end of winter.

Airport departed, it was time to take the short trip to Hotel Reykjavik. I was looking forward to being settled in one place for this trip. In China we had been moving on every few days and it soon became tiring. Bounding up to the desk to get the room key it seemed we were not on the list. A few minutes later, with everything resolved we went up to dump cases and get ready to explore the city.

It’s important to note that you can’t get Icelandic Krona outside of the country due to its financial collapse. It’s also important to note that the hotel desks exchange at a fraction of the real rate and that banks shut at 4pm. As I was unwilling to exchange money at 135 to the pound instead of 165 we wandered off and tried to think of some other way to get Krona.

At this moment my girlfriend and I both realised that neither of us had told our banks we were going away. It was a choice of trying out the credit card (which everyone, even hotdog sellers, will take.), or trying the cash machine. In the end we decide the machine was the best option and it didn’t eat the card so all was well.

With new found wealth we wandered in to the city looking for cheap food. Reykjavik’s main street is littered with decent looking restaurants but check the prices. Walking along we noticed a road leading down to the water and A brief detour was made. After negotiating the odd traffic system, we had a magnificent view across the water to the imposing mountains the other side.

Walking along by the waterfront it struck me just how incredibly cold it was and despite the magnificent scenery we had to head back to the main street before rain assisted hypothermia set in. The mountains gave a hint at some of the magnificent scenery we would be seeing in the next few days. A decent (and cheap) meal found we headed back to the hotel with good, if slightly frozen, first impressions.

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