As we flew East, day quickly became night. As we got near to Greenland, the Northern lights were very visible outside the left side of the plane. It was pretty cool to see the green glow flowing like a river in the sky. We all took turns crowding into Peter’s window to catch a glimpse of the flickering lights. Before we knew it we landed in Keflevik airport early in the morning (about 5:30 AM) Iceland time. The wind and rain was pretty intense. We filed down the stairs, off the plane, into the buses and into the airport. The airport was pretty great and we made our way easily to get our bags and to the car rental. Mike went and picked up the van, which ended up being a stick shift, just like in New Zealand, except this time, it was on the same side of the road as the US. We drove from the airport in the crazy wind and rain across the Volcanic landscape with a tired crew in tow. We drove to the hotel and fortunately one of the rooms was ready, even though it was super early in the morning.
We unloaded all the bags and the girls took a nap while the boys ventured back out into the wind to forage for food. The boys headed to Braud and Company and got some delicious fresh cinnamon rolls and some chocolate filled croissants for the girls. Since everyone was still sleeping, the boys headed back down the road to none other than Costco….where they got some free samples, marveled at all the Kirkland brand products, bought some towels and (drum roll) got a hot dog….which was delicious. They took the rental car to a garage where they had the tires checked because the tire light was on, and got new windshield wipers and cleaned the windshield, which was HUGE. Then it was back to the hotel where the other room was ready and everyone took a nap until about 2:00 PM. After a quick snooze, everyone piled back into the van and we headed to the Hallgrimskirkja church.
We climbed to the top of the bell tower and the views were very good. You could see the mountains to the North, the town below and the ocean going crazy everywhere else. The weather went from sunny, to insane snow and wind, to sunny again about every 15 minutes. We then walked down the street and got some more cinnamon rolls from the bread store (they were that good) and then walked down the main shopping street in Reykjiavik. There was lots of horse related stuff, fur, and puffins. We started to head down to the sun sculpture, but the weather had turned, so we ran back to the van and drove there (even though we were only 200 feet away). By the time we got there in the van, the sun was shining and the views were excellent. It was very cool. We drove by the concert hall and headed out to the end of the Peninsula. The wind was silly again and I’m pretty sure that Emma started to fly away multiple times. Thankfully, we made it out to the lighthouse and watched the waves pound the volcanic coast. It was quite foreboding.
Evening was starting to set in, so we headed back along the coast to the harbor and stopped by the Bonus grocery store to see what the grocery scene is like in Iceland. We got some treats, and then headed back along the coast to a Fish Restaurant for dinner (Icelandic Fish and Chips). We all got the cod and potatoes, and it was delicious. The fish was so good, it was hard to imagine that it was the same type of fish you get when ordering fish and chips other places. There is something amazing about fresh fish vs. frozen fish we get back in the States. Everybody loved it and we headed back to the Hotel. We ate Oreos enrobed in chocolate (really) and watched British TV shows as the weather continued to change every 15 minutes as we drifted off to sleep.