Somewhere, over the Atlantic we popped forward a day and landed in Iceland at 6:20am. Everyone got a little sleep, but none more than Madeline who got to lay down and sleep for most of the flight. The airport in Keflavik is kitschy, but the boarder control line was ridiculous. Somehow, we made it through it relatively quickly. We had our passports, COVID-19 cards, and documents ready to go. Once through customs, we fiddle faddled until Sara asked someone where our car rental company pick-up was located. We got in a van and headed to the Dollar car rental place and picked up our box (as Emma liked to call it). Considering the absolute lemon we rented last time we were in Iceland, this was a veritable Porsche. Fortunately, all our suitcases and Madeline’s car seat fit inside without any problems.
With everyone and everything loaded, we headed to the Hilton in Reykjavik where we dropped off our suitcases since our room wouldn’t be ready for another 8 hours. After dropping off our gear, we headed to the downtown area for a bite of breakfast. We thought about going to a swanky place, but the line was silly, so we headed to our old staple Braud and Co. With croissants and cinnamon rolls in hand we saw Leif Erickson’s statue by the church and then headed off to the zoo.
It turns out the zoo was more of a who’s who of Iceland petting zoo with a fair number of carnival rides. It was a lot of fun for totally jet lagged travelers. There were seals, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, reindeer, artic foxes, and pigs. That’s it. It was basically a collection of farm animals and seals. Seems about right. The rides were fun and there was a great playground for Madeline. Abby and Emma did some thrill rides while Madeline and Mike did the most Euro-cringey carrousel ever imagined. It was great. For some reason, Madeline had more energy than is reasonable and basically dragged us around. Emma demonstrated that she can’t do a hamster wheel and we caught it on video, ouch!
After the zoo/amusement park, we headed to the botanical gardens and walked around for 5 minutes but realized that our delirium was worse than we realized so we headed back to the car. From there, we went to the mall, because if you haven’t been to a mall in Iceland, then you haven’t lived. We got some lunch there and realized that malls in Iceland are about as awesome as malls in America.
After slumming it at the mall, we decided that driving wasn’t safe, so we headed back to the hotel and fell asleep in the lobby until our room was ready. After that, we crashed hard in our rooms for three hours, then got up and headed out again. We got dinner at this cool hamburger joint. The guy behind the counter advised us to try the special Icelandic sauce for our fries. So, we took our meal to the park by the lake downtown and ate our hamburgers under a tarp of gnats. It turns out that the special Icelandic sauce is fry sauce. So, I guess someone from Utah taught the people in Iceland about French fries. It was delicious.
After dinner, we went down to the lighthouse and walked on the ocean and let Madeline throw rocks back into the sea. At about 10:30pm, we headed back to the hotel, with the sun still shining brightly and fell asleep.