Ignorance and Bliss

Reykjavik Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
The famous viking ship and across the harbour.

I had an early start up at 7.30am, yes that is early to me! After a quick shower I popped down for the included filling but dull continental style buffet breakfast and a read of the newspaper, which was less inspiring than breakfast! I ordered a taxi and set off for the epic part of my journey travelling the eighteen miles to Stansted Airport, which entailed catching a train to Liverpool Street Station to then travel back up to Stansted!

The country is at the moment justifiably proud of the performance of our Olympic athletes and their awesome achievements in Beijing. The whole country is euphoric, with National pride pouring from every conceivable source, almost everybody is relishing the prospect of hosting the Games in 2012. However travelling on the underground services and later the Stansted Express I was struck by just how ignorant we can be in this country! Especially on the crowded Express with people having to stand whilst somebody took up a seat with an item of clothing or a small bag, not one person offering to remove them for anybody. Small bags which could easily fit in the overhead storage placed in the main baggage areas forcing people to again take up valuable seating to store their large baggage. My rant is over, but I was totally disgusted at the way we can behave, oh and in case you’re wondering yes I was standing! I could have of course asked somebody to remove their small, inconsequential items but I was practicing my English reserve again, and besides I was too busy being indignant.

Flying over Iceland itself was a little surreal, obviously I only got to glimpse a small part of the island, but it was for the most part large expanses of barren landscape, punctuated with the odd lake or hill. There were features that from the air appeared to be small fissures and rock outcrops, but I’m pretty certain on the ground would be major fractures in the Earth’s surface and cliffs several hundred feet high. Landing at the airport reminded me of two other airports I have had the pleasure of touching down in Mount Pleasant on the Falkland Islands and Thumrait in Oman, bleak! After landing and reclaiming my baggage, I paused at the duty free shop and bought a couple of bottles of red wine, as I know it’ll be expensive on the island.

Another way of looking at it!
They only have government sanctioned stores for booze which are entirely conspicuous by their inconspicuousness! I passed through customs managing to fend off any potential unpleasant body searches with a with a quick question as to whether Iceland is part of the European Union.

The coach trip from the airport to Reykjavik was uneventful, and again I was struck with the barrenness of the landscape. If it wasn’t for the short carpet like grass everywhere it could have been the surface of the moon! The small hillocks jutting randomly out of the flat land were even more stark and remote when viewed from ground level. There were clusters of uniform box-like industrial buildings with multi-coloured roofs, and there also seemed to be quite a lot of development, new roads and buildings sprouting just about everywhere.

I was dropped off at the Guesthouse Aurora (I’m hoping it’s a good omen) via the bus terminal, and the woman that met me at reception was for some reason seemed extremely amused that I was staying in dormitory accommodation and using a sleeping bag. I found my room that was housed in a separate building where I met a German guy named Jonus, and chatted for a little while. He’s over here for four months studying geothermic wotsits and all that good stuff at the University. I’d been warned about the smell of sulphur in the hot water, but it is still a bit disconcerting and when I washed my hands the first few times I kept looking around to see who it was that had left that awful smell! Apparently it is perfectly harmless and the Icelanders think there is something wrong with the water if it doesn’t have that smell! I dropped off my bags and went back to reception to speak to the owner Siggi, about securing my laptop or camera if it was required, no problem. He seemed really friendly, and a Liverpool supporter, he wasn’t sure if this was a bad thing until I confirmed it was nowhere near as bad as being a Jamchester United follower.

 A short stroll later down the hill and I was into the Old Harbour area of the town, I visited the tourist information to buy some postcards and sound out the price of a few ‘must do’ excursions and went for a bit of a wander around. Finally getting a much needed strong Latte in a small coffee house, with internet access, but unfortunately somehow my battery had run down ......... duh! I did find an outdoor clothing shop that allowed free internet access for thirty minutes, so I availed myself of this very charitable opportunity to say hi to a few of you out there and left some coins in the charity collection they had on the counter.

I then went off in search of some food and found it at the Reykjavik Restaurant which served a hot and cold fish buffet. It was not especially cheap, but then what is in Iceland but it was pretty good all the same.

Tjornin; the lake in the park.
The cold buffet was far better than the hot, with a much wider variety of dishes to choose from, although some looked suspiciously similar. The trick is not to eat too much of the complimentary bread, otherwise you won’t have too much space left for the buffet! I As they didn’t have a local red wine on offer, I tried the Icelandic Viking beer, although I don’t really enjoy beer, pretty strong but it did quench my thirst.

Just as I was about to leave it started to throw it down with rain, the very attractive waitress offered to loan me an umbrella, and tempting though it was, as I’d have to return to give it back, I declined. I had a travel umbrella with me in my pack(always do, good Boy Scout I am) and anyway I decided to stay and have a glass of red wine to wait out the short shower. Yeah I admit it, any excuse will do. It did eventually subside and having polished off my wine I decided to return to the guesthouse.

There were a few more people there including Jonus, they were deep in conversation and having acknowledged him and greeted everybody I slipped past. I did speak to a German girl called Claudia for awhile, she’s been here since Sunday, had a wasted whale watching trip yesterday and is off snorkelling and then horse riding around the Golden Circle (more of that later) tomorrow. Time to hit the sack myself it seems, up early again tomorrow, no not that early, and have a closer look at Reykjavik and book some excursions.

Real_PeaceWarrior says:
I'm really jealous of you, you'll have a great time and a pretty good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis which I unfortunately missed.
Posted on: Sep 13, 2008
ejames01 says:
My partner and I are heading there in mid October. Can't wait!!
Posted on: Sep 13, 2008
Real_PeaceWarrior says:
It was pretty good, salmon, artic char, cod haddock, smoked salmon and other stuff :D. I always have my umbrella ;)
Posted on: Sep 05, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The famous viking ship and across …
The famous viking ship and across…
Im not sailing in this one!
I'm not sailing in this one!
Another way of looking at it!
Another way of looking at it!
Tjornin; the lake in the park.
Tjornin; the lake in the park.
I know theres loads of photos of …
I know there's loads of photos of…
photo by: MadeleineGL