Photo courtesy of TripSavvy
Visit from late November 2019 (yes I know it’s taken me a while to write about it lol)
Today is a GAHTDAMN exciting day!!!! We are finally heading to Iceland – we settled on going here in such a roundabout way. I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary for The Kelly’s on this trip. I was first thinking about going to Jungfraujoch which is essentially the “top of Europe”. It would’ve been a complicated 4 day journey getting to and from Switzerland, travelling to the top, and all with our fingers crossed that once we reached the peak that the weather wasn’t awful with zero visibility etc. Total worth it if the weather behaved but man would the Sweet Prince of Canberra have been upset to go to all of that effort and literally not be able to see anything.
Jungfraujoch on a great wintery day
Jungfraujoch on a bad wintery day
It seemed like alot of travel and expense for no guarantee of seeing something amazing given it was winter. We will add it back onto the list of places to see one day.
So then I pivoted and decided Iceland was the number 1 pick and I am so freaking happy about it. I had done a little reading about Iceland and had a couple of friends who had spent some time there so I already knew it was beautiful.
Well hot Vikings of course!!!! Have you not seen Ragnar Lothbrok on the show Vikings. I mean if he and his descendants aren’t reason enough to visit Iceland I don’t know what is. Iceland has a population of 340,000 so I’m bound to find Viking goodness everywhere.
And of course there is all that magical scenery that Mother Nature bestowed on the place like waterfalls, floating icebergs, black sand beaches, ice caves, geysers oh and that boring old thing called the Northern Lights!!! So yeah, I think there’s a few things worth seeing but I’m not gonna lie, I’m mostly going for the Viking eye candy!
Once I started doing some more indepth research there were a few things I needed to wrap my head around though.
Iceland is expensive
You literally have to consider selling a kidney when you want to visit Iceland. Because of it’s location and climate, they have to import so much of their food. It’s really hard to grow fresh fruit and veggies there. And importing food adds alot of bottom line costs to your bill. There are other political and tax type reasons but they are all too grown up for me to explain so I’ll stick with Food Costs = Sell a Kidney, Sell a Child and Get a Second Mortgage.
Iceland doesn’t have a public transport system. What the hell???? Yep you read that right. So you either hire a car which is easy enough or you pay through the nose for tours etc. We’ve never hired a car on a trip and given we have zero, nada, zilch experience driving in winter icy conditions with winds up to “blowing cars off roads” speed we very wisely decided to spend more of the kids inheritance to have others get us around. More on that later….back to the story of our travel day
Leaving Brussels on our way to the Land of Fire and Ice
We tidied up our Airbnb and did the final journey down the stairs of hell with our luggage and waited for the uber. A quick drive to the airport, super smooth check in with Icelandair and we were on our way. We were so impressed with how spacious the seats were on the plane and we were blessed to have a spare seat between so we got to ignore each other blissfully for the 3 hour flight. This is helpful for old married couples spending 24/7 together. In fact airlines should really offer this as a sales feature. I particularly loved the lights above the overhead storage – they flickered and flowed and had the same colours as the Northern Lights. Such a sweet touch.
Once we landed we sailed through customs (they really want to make their visitors happy and it’s working) and then we went to collect our luggage. It’s an absolute fact that our luggage comes out last every.single.time but Iceland just keeps on bringing the joy and oohlala our bags came out first. First time EVER!!! Oh happy days.
The next part of the journey had me a little nervous. The only way to get from the airport to Reykjavik (capital city) was to hire a car which we had ruled out or to catch a private bus transfer. Yep that’s pretty much your only options. Crazy right. Then to complicate matters big buses aren’t allowed right into the city centre so then they have to take you to a depot and offload you into mini buses for the final leg. And they don’t drop you at your hotel, oh god no, they drop you at a bus stop that you nominate (having never friggin been to the place before) and you cross your fingers, toes, eyes and everything else that you didn’t make a bad choice and find yourself dragging your heavy suitcase through the snow while your husband is throwing you greasy looks the whole time. And you get all of this luxury for the princely sum of $86aud EACH!!! That is of course if the bus is there when you come out of the airport, otherwise you could be in for a long wait for the next one. Or you could be stuck waiting on the bus for it to fill up with other flights. Both scenarios weren’t great.
Whoa nelly – buy a lottery ticket because the Kelly’s are winning at life today! Our luck was holding and the bus was waiting right outside the doors and I might have had a “come to Jesus” moment and fallen to my knees. Yay all the research and planning worked. It seemed like it could be complicated but in actual fact the whole process was super easy and the bus literally pulled away 10 minutes after we hopped on. I’m super impressed. I of course snagged a front seat because of course I did – I wanted to be able to really enjoy the landscape during the 45min drive.
The bus was expensive but efficient and pretty soon we were dropped off at Bus Stop No. 9. I of course never leave anything to chance so had done a little google map of the route to our hotel and had found a photo online of what our bus stop looked like. Yep I have some serious travel planning mental health issues. My intel was good and our hotel was literally a 100m walk around the corner.
This hotel was really modern and lovely. Accommodation in Reykjavik is like everything else in Iceland – pricey. So I had to do some serious research and checking and rejigging over and over to finally settle on this place. It was a little over the nightly budget I was trying to stick to but I knew I could make that up in cheaper cities. The location is brilliant with the bus stop around the corner for tour pick ups and only a 5-10 minute walk to the heart of the city. Beautiful modern foyer with great furniture. I’m a happy girl.
Our room was very very nice and spacious. I think we got upgraded because I definitely didn’t spring for something this good.
I could’ve lived in the bathroom alone. The highlight of course was the heated towel rail or as I like to call it – Bogan Travel Clothes Dryer. We squealed with excitement and got straight to washing some of our smalls, or x-larges, shut up. Ahhhh the Kelly’s keeping it classy since the 90s. Gotta love us.
The hotel had a book online, get a free Viking Beer deal when I booked our room so since I love free and I love beer and I love love love Vikings we were down in the nice bar in no time partaking of a few bevvies.
They weren’t stingy with the size of the beer either, it was Viking size. To be honest I think Viking beer makes you tougher, it will certainly put hair on your chest, of if you’re like me more hair on your chest. We got chatting to an English couple who were clearly a “newer” couple, sitting there holding hands and looking into each others eyes. We ditched them quicksmart. Gag!
Then it was time to head off to explore the city and for me to meet the Viking I’m going to marry. MrKellysonTour advised me I can’t marry a Viking and when I asked why the hell not he pointed out that I am already married and that is why I call him the Snatcher of Dreams. I guess he’s right though so for now I’m going to live in my alternate universe life where I am married to a Viking and sailing the seas with wind in my hair and Ragnar at my side.
By now my stomach was demanding attention and you know how she gets so I went to my trusty map of places to eat and we settled on Svarta Kaffid. I had read reviews for this place and it was perfect for our first night.
Talk about a simple yet perfect business model. They serve soup in a bread bowl and you get to choose betwen 2 options – a meat soup or a vege soup. They have big cauldron like things sitting on the counter, and you just pick one and grab a beer and you are in heaven. So brilliant and I love the minimal choices. I find menus very overwhelming so this was right up my alley. On the night we were there it was lamb, bacon and pepperoni soup and the vege option was asparagus. Husband got meat, I got vege and we were both super happy and had a good taste of each others. It’s not cheap, I think it was like $30+ for 1 bread bowl and a beer but that’s Iceland for you so you just roll with it. I can honestly say it was delicious soup and the flavours were so layered and yummy.
Why am I so obsessed with soup? BECAUSE SOUP!!!
After dinner we wandered up the main street for a bit of a look around. It all looks really nice and I’m excited to explore more during the day.
And then I met a guy – he wasn’t quite the hot Viking I was looking for but he was a better than the average bear. He did get a little pawsy though.
Then it was back to the hotel and sleep because we’ve got a huge few days coming up and an early start.
I can’t wait to share more about this incredible place with you. The next few days are going to be amazing! Everything about Reykjavik and the people is already ticking my boxes.
Weather – High 6 Low 3 (so much milder than I thought it would be)