My granddaughter Kai and I have been in Iceland for two days. We leave tomorrow morning for London. Iceland Air has a stopover feature at no extra cost for international flights, so we took the two-night option.
Here are my thoughts about our trip so far:
1. I am learning the value of companionable silence. Maybe it's because I've been traveling recently with quiet people, or maybe because I've learned that things go better at home when I'm not chatting all the time, or maybe because I'm noticing that the Icelanders I've met have a quietness about them. It's light all the time here this time of the year. At 7 a.m. it's as quiet outside as it is at 3 a.m. I don't hear loud voices, or loud cars. I hadn't noticed this on my last trip to Iceland, in 2005, but I'm sure it was like that back then. It's probably me that's changed.
2. We're staying in an Airbnb out of the tourist areas. It's a second floor apartment, fairly simple and very comfortable. There's a Scandinavian tidiness about it, and our host, Eglo, has been warm and welcoming, but respectful of our privacy. After tonight we'll be spending the next nine nights at a hotel in central London, so this Airbnb is a treat. Yesterday afternoon we walked to a market for snacks, and to a Domino's for pizza. I have mixed feelings about American products in foreign countries. Familiar, yes. But maybe also intrusive.
3. So far the hardest part has been not enough 220 electrical adapters for the number of electrical devices Kai and I brought along. Truly a first world problem!
4. Yesterday we took a day trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, about a two-hour drive through rural Iceland. Our Airbnb hostess had recommended it, saying it's "Iceland in a nutshell." Our driver made five stops for exploring and one for lunch. Kai took off ahead of me, thorougly enjoying her independence. I watched out - buddy system, you know - but it was good to see her enjoying her solitude.
The weather was poor - lots of fog and rain - but still a beautiful drive. Twelve hours later we returned to the pickup point and walked home.
5. At this time of year there's no darkness at night. It feels like you're going to bed early, even if it's 10:30 and you wake up at 1:00 a.m.
6. Sometimes a young person can check us in at the airport faster than I can.
7. Some banks are better than others about letting you use your debit or credit card when you're traveling. Even if the bank knows you're traveling, it still thinks you're doing fraudulent activity. Note: I'm not the one having this problem.
8. When you are carrying your 18-pound suitcase on your back - because the wheeled ones you have are either too small to hold what you need to take, or too large to fit in carryon, and you'd have to pay $200 to check it for the entire trip - your back muscles don't complain too much, and your cranky hip doesn't complain at all!
9. Icelandic is an unnecessarily complex language. Even the tour guide said that!
10. Tourism is the number one industry in Iceland - greater even than fishing. When I was here 14 years ago, it was still a relatively out-of-the-way place to travel.
Onward to London!
Getting Good at Just Starting a Difficult Task
3 hours ago