Notices

Iceland, August 2009

Reply

Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:40 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,443
Iceland, August 2009

My recent trip to Iceland was a great experience. It is an interesting country, not only for the landscape but the history of its people who are descendents of the original Vikings.

My flight was on Icelandair out of JFK. This is the only airline that flies from the US to Iceland. I had upgraded from Economy Class to Comfort Economy and it was a terrible service, the food was inedible and the seats varied according to how many people were in First Class.

The entire week I stayed at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, which was about a 30 minute walk from the Old Town. One reason I picked it was because it was a stop on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus line. I would definitely recommend this hotel. The staff was outstanding; I had a beautiful view and the buffet breakfast quite bountiful.

In Reykjavik, among other things, I strolled around the Old Town, saw the Pearl (a large space with restaurants and deck on top of 5 water tanks) and visited two museums. The National Museum which is filled with archaeological finds from all over the country. It condenses Iceland’s history in a manageable way and with high-tech exhibits.
The Settlement Exhibition in the 871+or-2 Settlement Museum was excellent. In 2001 workers excavating for an underground parking garage stumbled upon the remains of a Viking Longhouse. The ruin was kept in place and excavated for exhibition. Around it are high-tech displays which give a lot of information about the Vikings and the Long House. It is the oldest known evidence of human habitation in Reykjavik.

Many tour companies offer day trips. I chose to go on the ever popular Golden Circle Tour with Horizon which visits the spectacular site at Thingvellir where the Iceland National Parliament began in 930 and the North American Tectonic plate is drifting away from the Eurasian Plate, Gullfoss ( a massive waterfall) and Haukadalur which is a geothermally active area and has a geyser,Strokkur, which conveniently erupts every 5 minutes or so.

I took two tours with Reykjavik Excursions. The one to the South Shore was through the spectacular southern plain along side green-covered volcanic mountains. We stopped at two waterfalls. Skogarfoss which is large and misty and then Seljalandfoss. At Seljalandfoss I walked behind it for a very unique experience. The Skogar Folk Museum had an interesting collection and old buildings. The weather was quite rainy and windy so our stop in Vik, the most southern town in Iceland, and a walk on the beautiful black beach of Reynisfjar was restricted.

The third day trip I went on was to the Snaefellsnes Pennisula. Again we saw spectacular scenery. We circled the peninsula through crater filled plains, small fishing villages, along dramatic cliffs, past escarpments of hexagonal basalt columns, and through lava covered with moss. Again the weather prevented some of the activites, but we were able to stroll Djupalonssandur, a beach with black sand, black pebbles and eroded clumps of lava. The famous icecap on Snefellsjokull which dominates the countryside was covered with clouds the entire time.

This is short version of my experience, so please ask questions if interested in more info.
SusieQQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 2nd, 2009, 09:01 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
SusieQQ

Your report is very informative and objective- did you have a good time and would you recommend it ?

My vigorous 83 year old father -in -law would like to visit Iceland and we are looking for different options, including cruises that stop in Iceland as well as one that circles the island in one week .

Would a land based trip like yours be difficult for an older traveller ?
okoshi2002 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 2nd, 2009, 09:47 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,443
I had a great time and absolutely recommend it. I am an older woman, not as old as your FIL, and travel solo. I am not a Cruise/type person so I can't say if my way was better than cruising. I personally prefer having a hotel base and do things at my speed.
I think your FIL could do the tours I did. There are others that are more adventurous and strenuous that I didn't choose. The walk behind the waterfall was difficult since the access is up slippery, uneven rocks but he could still enjoy it without going behind it.
I was a little hesitant since EVERYTHING I read said that hiking boots are needed for all tours, but I don't agree with that. I bought a pair of track/running shoes and sprayed them with waterproofing and they were fine.
SusieQQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 3rd, 2009, 08:22 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
Thanks Susie QQ

So is Iceland small enough that you can see every part of the island on a day trip out of the capital ? How long does the Golden Circle trip take ? Staying in one location as you did seems ideal. How did you get into Old Town- walk ? Or the the bus ? Thanks for sharing .
okoshi2002 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 3rd, 2009, 02:31 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,443
okoshi, No, Iceland isn't that small that you can see it all on day trips, but I saw a lot.
To get into Old Town the bus is the best way since I walked in and out once and didn't enjoy it very much. Many people prefer to stay in Old Town, which has some very nice hotels, but I didn't for two reasons. One is that Reykjavik is a party town and the center gets very noisy on weekend nights and the other was that two things I wanted to see, The Pearl and The National Museum are not in the Town Center. They are on the Hop-on Hop-off bus route.
The Golden Circle Trip was from 9:00Am to around 5:00PM. The other two tours I went on were a couple hours longer. all tours pick up and drop off at all hotels.
SusieQQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:17 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
Thanks SusieQQ.

Based on your knowledge would you say a cruise that goes around Iceland, starting in Reykjavik, stopping at Isafjorour, Akureyri, Husavik, Seybisfjorour, as well as a few days to Faroe Island, Helmaey Island and back to Reykjavik, do Iceland justice ? Perhaps we could do a bit of driving too either before or after the cruise to see some sites the cruise does not include.
okoshi2002 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:19 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,443
Okoshi,
The cruise sounds great, but I really don't know enough about Iceland to give you that kind of advise. If you did the cruise, then you could rent a car in Reykjavik for a few days to see the major sites in southern Iceland.
Prior to my trip I got a lot of good advise from the Trip Advisor Iceland Forum. Whu don't you try them?:http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum...3-Iceland.html
SusieQQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:29 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 20,309
And yet another place added to my list! Good info!
TDudette is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 4th, 2009, 08:35 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
Thanks for your advice SusieQQ. If our trip materializes will return with more questions !
okoshi2002 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:25 PM.