Where do I begin…..
I’m back home now. And absolutely everyone has been asking how I liked it. As I’ve been saying over and over, I loved it. I honestly can’t put it into words. Iceland is one of the most unique places on this planet. It’s so far removed from the rest of the world, that it has remained untouched, pure.
We only had a few hours to spend in Reykjavík this morning before having to head to the airport. After breakfast we took to the downtown area to go souvenir shopping.
Reykjavík is a very clean city. But it’s not without its flaws. Construction and graffiti riddle this pristine city with some ugliness. But the Christmas lights add a layer of fantasy.
The sun was just coming to a full rise as we started heading back to the hotel for last minute packing. So we never really got to see the city in full sunlight. Not to mention there was an overcast the whole time we were there.
This was the only place that I REALLY wanted to see in Reykjavík. I absolutely love visiting big old churches. We didn’t have time to go inside. But the outside was quite overwhelming. And well worth the steep uphill hike to reach it. This was actually the very last place we were able to visit before heading back to the airport.
Souvenir shopping is a necessary evil. But I think what’s really awesome about Iceland is they do offer a tax refund for purchases over 6,000 Krona (approx $51) at participating stores. You fill out a form and they give you 14% back in cash or on your card at the airport. Or you can choose to donate all of it or portion to charity. Be warned, they do take a small commission if you get cash back.
Keflavík Airport is very nice and pretty modern. It was easy to navigate through. I was for the first time “randomly selected” for a TSA check. After getting my passport stamped, I scanned my boarding pass to go through the gates to the terminals. Well the gate turned bright red and I was guided to a separate area for a “quick check”. I had to hand a gate worker my passport and boarding pass. He crossed my name off a list and gave me my items back along with a ticket with a number. I was guided into another room where I was greeted by 2 airport security staff members wearing gloves. I thankfully didn’t panic because I was trying to process what was happening. They were actually really nice. They checked my backpack, had me remove my boots to scan them, had me empty my sweater pockets, and checked my hands for explosives residue. All the while they were asking me about different cities in the US. Not really quizzing me but saying things like “oh yeah Philadelphia is in Connecticut right? Oh oh no Boston is in Connecticut.” Likely to test if I really was American. Good thing I know basic US geography. And that was it. I was free to go. I rejoined my travel companions who were slightly panicking. We headed to our gate and boarded the plane. Five plus hours later were were in Newark, NJ.
I’ll be sharing some more details and pictures from our trip and some travel tips for Iceland in the days to come. For now I am going to REST. Back to work on Monday.
Thank you to those who’ve taken the time to read about my amazing first trip to Iceland. I truly appreciate your support.