Let’s cut to the chase! Let’s talk about the Reykjavik leg of our trip even if it’s right in the middle of our itinerary. Why? Because I’m excited!
We flew in from London Luton to Keflavik International Airport in Iceland. Unless you’re flying in from Greenland (correct me if I’m wrong), you can only fly into Iceland through Keflavik Airport. It’s about 45 minutes away from Reykjavik, the capital. You’ll need to take a bus to the city. There are several buslines, but I think the 2 most popular ones are FlyBus and Gray Line. We booked Gray Line after all the research and browsing through reviews. We made the right choice 😉
Upon arrival, we asked to be dropped off in the Sales Office of Gray Line which is inside Reykjavik. Their terminal is a little into the entrance of Reykjavik, not walking distance to anywhere we planned to go. We walked to the Tourist Information and dropped off our luggage for a few hours of storage as we booked the City Walk Tour of Reykjavik, which started in 30 mintues. I think we paid Isk 1,000 which is about Php 300. Not bad! We had our money changed in Landsbankinn. No queues. No security guards either. That’s how safe Iceland is! Even the bank doesn’t have security! The bank is near Austurvollur, the starting point of our walking tour. But we’re so hungry, we dropped by a minimart and grabbed a sandwich and drink. We sat on a bench at Austurvollur and had a quick bite while Erik our guide was taking attendance 15 minutes before the tour started. It snowed a bit before the tour started, so us tropical heads were quite happy! It wasn’t the hassle snow. It was the light snow that didn’t bother us, but amazed us. I hope I didn’t sound like Elsa! ❄️
Do not miss this tip based walking tour. Again, it’s called City Walk Reykjavik. Google it. Check it out on Trip Advisor. It’s the best way to kick off your Icelandic holiday. Trust me and the thousands of other reviewers on Trip Advisor! Wanna know what I think? My review on TA is entitled ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Erik is not Jon Snow!
So with the hectic morning, walking and -1 degree celcius that I was just getting used to, it was time to eat!
We had late lunch/early dinner at Dirty Burger and Ribs. Boy was I hungry! W had ribs and I had burger and fries. We tried their local Fanta called Applesin. It’s less sugary 😊
After our meal, we headed back to the Tourist Information to claim our stuff. We walked a few blocks up and found our AirBnB pad for the next 2 nights. We rested for a short while then I called Gray Line to see if our Northern Lights Tour was pushing through. As early as 5pm, tour companies alert hotels of the forecast – if the tour is a go or not. They said yes! So at 7pm, we were are Fosshotel Baron, waiting for our coach to fetch us and bring us to the GL terminal. Foss Baron as they call it, was the closest hotel in our guest house so we asked to be fecthed there. The hotel staff are friendly. They let other people stay in their lobby for tour pick ups, even if they aren’t guests. This is also the hotel where we ran into other Filipino guests. Please refer to my Facebook status haha that was one of the warmest encounters I’ve had with other Filipino tourists!
Our Northern Lights Mystery Tour guide was a seasoned lady named Ardis. I’ll be frank: she’s boring and she was no help at all in hunting for the Aurora Borealis. First, our bus drove outside Reykjavik, to a cafe where several other buses also hung out and waited if there will be any AB activity. Because we’re Pinoy, we brought baon! We had our own drinks so we just had the waffle in the cafe. After 30 minutes, the cafe cleared. All the buses went to a place with waterfalls. The moon was so bright. But still, no Aurora. It was very slippery in that area, so of course I slipped! Good thing I didn’t hit my head and I was very well insulated (padded!). No ouchie for me! It was past midnight and we weren’t really seeing anything so we left and drove back to town. Ardis kept insisting that there was very low activity but it was visible. Even on our drive back she was saying the lights were still visible but no one saw anything. Most Northern Lights tours have a rebooking guarantee if you don’t see the lights, but no refund. We were dropped off near our guest house and Foss Baron then I asked Ardis how can I rebook our tour. She looked so shocked that I asked. She asked if I wasn’t happy with tonight’s tour and I said no. Another couple approached her asking the same thing. She told us to rebook directly with Gray Line and let them know that she was our guide. I was relieved when she didn’t insist that the lights were visible.
It was probably past 2am when we went to bed. We were going back to Foss Baron at 7am for another tour the next morning.
That’s part 2 for you!