A Travellerspoint blog

Bristol - London - Reykjavik

Tonight I think we have eaten a small zoo....

semi-overcast -3 °C
View Northern Lights Explorer - Iceland 2013 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I would like to say we had a good journey up to Heathrow, but the truth is, I have no idea – I fell asleep as soon as we joined the motorway outside Bristol, and David woke me up just as we were leaving the M4 at the airport. I must have needed it.

When checking in on line we had deliberately chosen 22A and C – hoping no-one would want to sit in the middle and we'd get the whole row to ourselves; but the check-in staff at Icelandair had other ideas. They wanted to upgrade us to the economy plus section for extra legroom, still giving us the window and aisle seats and blocking out the middle one. Who are we to argue? As per usual, we were extremely early at the airport (having twice almost missed a flight in the past because the motorway has been shut and twice because the car broke down, we tend to err on the side of caution these days), but the time went very quickly with the help of some eggs royale and Aspall cyder.

On boarding the plane, there was some confusion as to where we were going to sit, and eventually we moved seats again to let a group of three unaccompanied minors sit together. The crew were still faffing about trying to find us three seats together, but didn't take up my suggestion to move us to fist class. Shame. Still, we had excellent legroom where we were, and I suppose it does no harm for me to sit next to David for three hours.

The pre-departure information said Keflavik Airport is small and easy to navigate. Really? The corridor leading from the plane comes to a closed door, and you take the stairs down to passport control, around the terminal building, then back up again to pass right by the closed door.

The Flybus airport transfer is extremely well organised, and even has free wifi on board. They service many downtown hotels via the bus terminal and smaller shuttle buses, but we were lucky enough that the original big bus was going to our hotel.

We did get a taste of things to come with over 20 people trying to check in at the same time, but the receptionist was quick and efficient, so it wasn't really a problem.

The room is smallish, very clean, far too warm and typical of any three star hotel anywhere in the world.

As a result of a misunderstanding (on my behalf), we ended up tipping the taxi driver way over the odds, but he did play 'Stairway to heaven' at full volume for us, so all was not lost.

I spent a lot of time researching restaurants in Reykjavik before we left the UK, with the added complication that many were closed on a Sunday night. I wanted to try traditional Icelandic dishes, and found a place called Islenski Barrin (The Icelandic Bar) which seemed to fit the bill perfectly with an extensive menu featuring lots of local specialities. Imagine our disappointment when we got there (having booked a table from the UK a couple of weeks ago, with an email conversation with the manager about the menu) to find that the restaurant was under new ownership and the menu was completely changed from around 100 dishes to about 15. After explaining to the waitress, who went off for a conflab with the chef, they offered to make us up a plate of traditional Icelandic dishes as they still had some of the stuff from the old menu in the freezer. They certainly did us proud! The waitress (whose name incidentally was Greta) came out from the kitchen saying: “the chef and I have decided you should have a starter” and brought us a plate of mustard herring with a typical Icelandic rye bead and boiled egg, smoked salmon, lamb carpaccio, and smoked puffin. The main course was foal fillet, beer cooked lamb and minke whale. Before dessert, she brought us a small taster of the infamous fermented shark and brennevin (directly translated as 'fire water', a local strong spirit made from potato) - despite what everyone has said, we thought the 'rotten shark' was extremely inoffensive.

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Sampling Icelandic beers

Starter.jpg
Starter - smoked salmon, puffin, herring and lamb carpaccio

Mains.jpg
Main course - foal fillet, beer cooked lamb and minke whale

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Fermented shark....

We seem to be on a roll on exceptional customer service at the moment – back at the hotel we somehow managed to get 24 hours of internet for the price of an hour. I like Iceland.

Posted by Grete Howard 14:26 Archived in Iceland

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What did the shark taste like?????

by Helen

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