Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Nov 8, 2013


We left our home in Oregon, at 9:15 a.m., to catch our 50-minute Horizon Air flight at 12:30 p.m. from Portland International to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Once there, after a quick pizza lunch, we took the airport monorail to S Gates, to board our 4:30 p.m. Iceland Air flight to Reykjavik.

Everything went smoothly except that my wife, Kundan and I had been assigned window seats in two different rows. And since the 200-seat flight was full, there was no possibility of changing our seats.

It was a rather small plane with two sets of three seats on each side, separated by a narrow aisle. Being practically confined to our seats, this 7-1/4-hour-no-frills-flight, was uncomfortable for us, but more so for Kundan.
To add insult to injury food was only available for purchase, and choice of drinks was very limited. And one had to buy even the head phones to enjoy the in-flight entertainment. Finally, prolonged turbulence, while going over the arctic region, was not only uncomfortable, but also scary. But the flight crew was efficient and friendly.

On account of 7-hour time difference, we arrived at the Reykjavik Airport at 6:30 a.m. on August 29.
Reykjavik Airport
Immigration and Customs were a breeze. But with luggage in hand, going through the maze-like circuitous route to the Arrival Hall, with several alternating up and down flight of stairs was un-nerving.

We quickly changed some money into Icelandic Koronas, and caught the Flybus airport shuttle to our hotel near downtown Reykjavik. At less than $20 per person, about one-hour-long, the 48-kilometer shuttle trip was rather cheap. The only problem was the bright early morning sun hitting eyes of the passengers. But the driver, unmoved by the plight of the passengers did not lower the windshield blinds, something that would have been quite unusual in the United States.

The highway to the town went through a large expanse of lava-field wasteland surrounded by the ocean and a distant chain or mountains. But here and there it was dotted with small signs of human habitation or industry.
Airport Road

Blue skies with a few wisps of white clouds dominated the scene. Very bright sun reminded me of our trip along some fjords from Bergen to Oslo in Norway, a few years back.

As we approached close to the city, the landscape changed to vegetation-covered green spaces and the number buildings increased. Also passing through traffic lights and building-up morning traffic, our speed slowed considerably.

The Airport Flybus took us to the Reykjavik Bus Stand, from where a shuttle service transported us to our hotel. We reached there around 8:15 a.m.

Reykjavik Bus Stand

Even though it was hours before their standard 3 p.m. check-in, the staff kindly gave us a room.

Rooms are quite small, but still larger than the rooms at some London hotels we have come across in the past. Also on each floor has a large, common sitting room, which offers respite to those feeling confined in their rooms.

Here we met Eva, a Philippina maid, who had worked in Kuwait, and had,  some time ago, moved to Reykjavik, after marrying an Icelandic man. Having passed her test in the local language proficiency, she looked forward to her Iceland citizenship. he surprised us with a Hindi greeting! She explained that she had picked up a few Hindi words from Indians she had met in Kuwait.

After settling in our room, and a shower, around 1:00 p.m., we walked to the Subway restaurant across the street for a quick lunch. Although it was sunny, it was cold and breezy outside. One definitely required a sweater or a jacket.

Afterwards we walked a couple of blocks to the Faxafloi Bay’s scenic waterfront.
Faxafloi Bay, Reykjavik
Faxafloi Bay, Reykjavik
We took some pictures, and enjoyed the walk along the paved path. The path was divided in two separate lanes, one for pedestrians, and the other for cyclists.
Path by Faxafloi Bay, Reykjavik

Back at our hotel we sought out Iris, the travel agent in the hotel lobby. She is a tall, pleasant and helpful. She told us that her the next day would be warmer (11 degrees Centigrade or about 52 degrees Fahrenheit), and that the following day some rain had been expected. Therefore, we booked an out-of- town sightseeing tour for the next day.

 Upon return to our room, we wanted to stay awake. But having been sleepless for about 28 hours, both of us were dead tired, and our brains, like the proverbial obstinate donkey, refused to proceed. After some sleep, we succeeded in keeping us awake, just for a couple of hours more. And the brains went back into the sleep mode. Finally, we quit trying to keep awake, and gave in to sleep.
Rainy Night View from our Window


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