This one might get long….I’m still in Iceland at the moment. it’s about 10pm on Thursday. We leave at 8:30am tomorrow morning, which means we need to be on the road to the airport at about 5:30. Already packed, though, so we have that going for us.

Four days of fun and frolicking. Well, really it was more like three, because our flight got in about 8am on Monday morning and we were wiped all day from the red eye. We did walk around town that day and check out a few things, but not much. We found the local “cheap” grocery store and bought some provisions for dinner that night and for breakfast in the morning, as we had a small apartment with a fridge and a kitchenette. Save some money on at least a couple meals a day, we figured…

The next day was when we realized that we’d need to probably eat every meal in the hotel. Food and drinks are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive here. The cheapest meal you can get is a hot dog and a tiny little Coke for about $7 USD. If you want to go out to Subway, you’re going to spend at least $30 for two people to eat. Better than Subway or you want a beer? You’d better expect $60 meals, and that’s still on the cheap end. Of course, we figured that we were downtown or at tourist traps, but on Wednesday we went out to the suburbs, and by golly the prices were the same there. As in, like, identical. I don’t think there’s a central economic planning thing here that sets prices, but even out in the country, it’s the same. $12 for a deli pre-made ham sandwich and at around $4 for a tiny 4 ounce cup of coffee. Whew….We ate every dinner, breakfast, and two lunches in the apartment, and actually ate only 1 lunch out. It was at Geysir, and I had lamb with vegetables for $29…Jenny had a piece of fried haddock and vegetables for the same. After seeing the prices everywhere else, this was simply the going rate.

The trip is still TOTALLY worth the price. The only thing you get beat up on is food and drink. Everything else is pretty “normal”. The stuff you can do for free outdoors is absolutely amazing and probably the only place in the world you can do them.

If you’re interested in coming here, here are a bunch of tips, in no particular order.

  1. Rent a car. Get the smallest thing you can stuff everyone into and drive. The roads are fine and easy to navigate. The bus tours to the different spots are convenient and awesome, but it’s cheaper to drive yourself, plus you can go to other locations at your leisure.

  2. Get a map from one of those tour places for free. The BSI bus terminal has everything on the wall for nothing.

  3. When you go on the routes, like the Golden Circle, you will absolutely find everything just fine. There are buses of people out there, so you can really just follow along.

  4. Rent a place with a kitchenette or a free breakfast, and eat there. If you want to go out, just know to have your money ready.

  5. Everything closes around 7pm, even downtown. Some bars are open late, but if you want to shop at all, you’d better get it done early.

  6. The only way to buy beer or wine, other than from a bar, is from the state store, which also closes at 6pm. Find them on the map. :)

  7. The beers at the store are $3-$5 each, and you can break apart the six-packs to make your own. The liquor is forget-about-it expensive.

  8. If you have to have liquor, either bring a liter from home or get it at the duty free. Really, though, you should probably just stick to beer.

  9. The pastries at the gas station here are better than any I’ve had in Cincinnati. I have no idea where they come from here, but I had a pecan honey thing that was amazing, and I got it at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.

  10. Speaking of the middle of nowhere, this is an island in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes you go off and are in the middle of nowhere in the middle of nowhere island. Don’t get hurt. Even at Geysir, which is a major tourist attraction, there are warnings about being 100km from the nearest hospital. That’s serious stuff to me…

  11. Wear hiking boots. You don’t need any other shoes.

  12. Have a decent camera. If you’re cool with your phone camera, that’s good, but a good camera is probably worth it. I bought a cheap point-and-shoot which did really well for me, as even the finest camera would still have me behind it. If you know how to take pictures, get a good one.

  13. The weather is crazy. We went out to Dyrholaey today. There’s about a 10km road off the main road to get there. It’s a big cliff on the edge of the ocean. On the cliff, it was sleeting and absolutely freezing outside…I’m talking bone chilling. At the other end, it was clear and about 50 degrees. Similarly, the main road was still about 50, and we drove about 5km back to a glacier…obviously it was cold there. Be ready….

  14. There’s very little wildlife, aside from a few ducks, geese, and an occasional sea gull. Kinda eerie.

  15. The Blue Lagoon is awesome. It’s a big spa in the middle of flippin’ nowhere that is made up of salt water sucked out of the ground. It’s about 100 degrees and feels awesome. You can do a massage in the water, hang out all day in the big pool, and go inside for everything else. It’s pricey, but if you’re here, you have to do it. My first spa experience, and I don’t think I’ll have another one that awesome in my life.

  16. Things are orderly here. If something is scheduled for 4pm, by God you’d better be there on-the-dot or you’ll miss it. And they will leave you.

  17. The order breaks down when it comes to graffiti. I don’t get it, but graffiti is everywhere. I guess folks just ignore it, but I swear if someone painted on my shop wall, I’d clean it up the next morning and put up a camera to catch them the next time.

  18. There is a kinda random rock museum in a gas station. “Hveragerdi - Stone and Mineral Museum” just happened to attached to a convenient store that we stopped at to use to toilet. Totally neat! It’s privately owned and FREE, with nothing more than asking for a comment on Trip Advisor. The family gives lectures for a fee, but the rocks are there for you to pick up and ask questions about. Awesome.

  19. If you want amusement park-like excitement, don’t go to Iceland. If you want nature, I don’t know that you can find better.

  20. The flight from JFK gets ya there at 7am local time. Go straight to the Blue Lagoon, spend the day, and then head to the hotel in the evening. Just doing that would’ve basically given us another whole day of touring.

I think that’s it.

Written on March 31, 2017