Getting there, walking in Reykjavik
31 July 2007
We had SAS flights: from Tallinn to Oslo and from Oslo to Reykjavik. In Oslo the waiting time was six hours. Oslo was warm and sunny. As we had so much time we took a train to the city. 30-minute ride cost 86NOK per person one way. We walked in the center of Oslo and really enjoyed seeing places familiar from our Norway trip - fountains, street coffees, King's Castle. After walking around and enjoying the day in the street cafe we drove back to very modern Oslo Gardermoen airport. The airport is very well organised and departure went very smoothly.
Reykjavik welcomed us with a cloudy whether but it did not rain as promised. After getting the rented car we drove from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik. This 40 minutes drive surprised us with the views - lava fields all around and no trees.
We did not have a GPS navigator this time (and this was so unused to), we only had a tourist map from Tourist info box in airport. The driving from Keflavik to Reykjavik was easy. The map was also very tourist friendly, some landmarks were even drawn on the map (the new church, the Pearl, Smaralind etc). We parked a car near Laugavegur street as we wanted to walk around. But we had no Icelandic kroons (parking is for pay until 6PM). In general you do not need a cash in Iceland, you can pay with plastic everywhere. But for parking coins were needed.
We walked at Laugavegur street. We also visited church - Hallgrimskirkja, attention-seeking building in the center. Hallgrimskirkja is quite new, built in 1940-1974 (yes, 34 years). The church's interior is plain and clean, it's really worth visiting to see the organ. Outside you can see the most famous viking - Leifur Eiriksson, the statue of course.
We had a dinner in Sægreifinn fish shop - really cosy place in small harbour. They served lobster soup and grilled shrimps, both for 800ISK. The soup was extra delicious and shrimp very fresh.
Reykjavik is home for almost three out of five Icelanders. Reykjavik means in translation "Smoky bay", after steam the first settler Ingolfur Arnarson saw rising from hot springs. In spite of its name, Reykjavik is smoke-free city, since all houses are heated by geothermal water.
We had a booked accommodation in Thingvellir National Park, in Fosshotel Nesbud . It was a bit difficult to navigate out from Reykjavik to find the route 360. We asked advice from local gasoline station K1. The attendant was extremely friendly and even found us better free map to find a way.
We found our hotel in the beautiful valley and within sight of the gleaming geothermal plant and volcano Hengill. The hotel had hot pots - jacuzzi and an other with thermal mineral water. It was really relaxing to rest in hot pot under the clear sky. Although the weather was quite cold (+10C) and windy, it was warm in the bath.
A sleep after long day (we started 5AM at home and there is 3 hour time difference) and the hot pot was really sweet.