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Iceland (Reykjavik) for 3 days (late August 2003)
 
Look at the slideshows
See Lonely Planet's site for more info or their map
Exchange rate at the time: $1 = 82 ISK (Iceland Kronas), or 100 ISK = $1.22
(unless otherwise noted, $ refers to US$)
 

A few notes from my journal:

A Three hour flight from London (6 from New York City), Iceland is very pretty, and not nearly as icy as Greenland. And the weather is actually mild due to the gulf stream. Perhaps due to global warming, there hasn't been enough snow near the capital, Reykjavik, for skiing since 1995!
The people are friendly, but if you are expecting Scandinavian-like blondes everywhere, you will be disappointed. Although there are lots of people with piercing blue eyes.

Everything is expensive, except for thermal baths ($3) and, for locals at least, hot water and electricity. A pint of beer is $6, a 6kg load of laundry for $20 (wash and dry, it was cheerfully pointed out), $2.50 for a cup of coffee from a vending machine! One tourist pamphlet went so far as to say that cafes and bars didn't get busy until after 10pm because Icelanders drink at home first, possibly because of the hight cost of drinking/eating out.

I spent two days walking about Reykjavik, a pleasant enough little city with a cute downtown, with water on two sides. The houses were painted colourfully, although the upkeep was a little lacking. There was a big outdoor exhibition of photos from Yann Arthus-Bertrand's book, Earth From Above (click on this link, then click on Photographs, then The Earth From Above, then a continent name; warning: you'll want a high-speed connection to view these cool photos).

One day I did a well-narrated 10-hour day tour ($65) to see a geothermal plant, Thingvellar (the site of the ancient parliament), Geysir (from which the English word "geyser" derives its name), Gullfoss waterfall, a newish church on the site of partially excavated ruins, a crater, and, of course, a stop at a tacky tourist shop/restaurant/greenhouse.

On the last morning before my onward flight I went to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, which is closer to the airport than the city; they even have buses that go directly to the airport from there, and have a few large suitcase-sized lockers available. And at $15 for all-you-can-stand fun, a deal. Of course, the beneficial relaxing effects were gone by the end of the flight, which was redirected temporarily to Boston due to fog in NYC, adding 4 hours to the flight.

  Last modified on 2013.07.27 1995 visitors since 2006.07.25
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