Iceland - Day 1 - Stansted to Reykjavík

Date: 23rd July 2008. We travelled to Iceland with Mum - we would be repeating some of our earlier visit, but going to some new areas.

We stayed at the Hilton in Stansted the night before flying. It wasn't the cheapest of options, but given the convenience, it was worth doing.

We had an oddity in that we could have the room with breakfast or with long stay parking (and an extra 17 quid for breakfast). 17 quid? In hindsight, I should have got the room with Parking for Mum, and the room with breakfast for Monica and myself, paying the 17 quid for Mum.

Stansted is a small airport by Heathrow and Gatwick standards, but worked fairly well. I did kill some time by having a panic that I left the car window open - and this meant that when we went through security we went straight to the gate.

I took my New World Tourist, and was a little worried about the weight limits, but it was fine - I just checked it in. I think it helped that there were three of us, and the other cases were under.

Iceland Express was pretty good, although they did the Ryanair/Easyjet thing of charging for everything on the flight, even down to the cup of tea. This was bad.

We landed at Keflavík airport. Collected our bags and went straight out to the car pickup. It was very windy, and a bit cold. It had been raining! The weather in Iceland is very changeable. over the next ten days we would have everything from warm T shirt weather to fog, cold, wind and rain. Fortunately, the weather was usually good whenever we wanted to see something - the good weather outweighed the bad. Later in the week it'd be 20°C whilst simultaneously standing next to beached icebergs at Jökulsárlón.

The car we had was a Sköda Octavia. Not a bad car at all. I did find that the seat could have done with being a few centimetres more central, as the slope of the side door meant that it would touch my shoulder annoyingly. Apart from that, it was good.

We drove into Reykjavík, noticing that the road was being developed since our last visit. There were new businesses alongside. I do hope that this doesn't end up being one long and thin extension of Reykjavík.

We found our hotel with only a little difficulty (having a streetplan of Reykjavík was essential). We stayed at the Hotel Óðinsvé which is centrally located. It was also the only Hotel which we stayed in to provide tea and coffee facilities in the room (Hotels! This is essential!)

The rooms were pretty good, though Mum's room was not as nice as ours. The staff were helpful, and when we found the TV in our room did not work (not that we wanted to watch it much, but that's not the point) we had a new TV the next day.

Once into the Hotel, we went for a walk around Reykjavík, going around the town centre, seeing the Alþing (the Icelandic Parliament) and exploring that sort of area.

Alþing

We had a small meal in the Café Paris - which was a reminder of Icelandic prices, and then went back to the hotel.

I considered unpacking the bike - but thought (wrongly) that I'd be able to cycle in Reykjavík before leaving, and so left it in the case.