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First impression: Reykjavík

A few months back, I saw a travel deal to Reykjavík that was all too tempting. I managed to wrangle my friend LT to travel together with me, and since hotel was already part of the deal, suffice to say we didn’t do too much pre-trip research. Two days before departure, I had a quick root-around the cyberspace and did a couple of things: book our airport transfer and made a reservation at Dill Restaurant.

Departure from Paris

We left Paris for our long weekend break on a cloudy afternoon (oh it was bright above the clouds, of course), and were greeted with an even cloudier sky on arrival in Keflavík International Airport. I mentally went through my wardrobe option in my backpack and prayed I have not under-prepared for the trip. It was the end of April and I was banking on early spring weather (even I wasn’t delusional enough to think we’d get early summer weather), so I was probably alright. At worse, I’d just do some shopping.

Arrival in Reykjavík

After a quick stop at the ATM to withdraw some local currency, we were good to play tourists! Searching for our transfer into the city was straight forward and the coach would even drop us at the doorstep of our hotel. From the brochures I picked up at the information desk, it seems just about every excursions and tours offer hotel pick-up and drop-off. This was the moment I had the first inkling of just how well-organised Iceland is for tourism.

View from the plane

I couldn’t quite compare Reykjavík to any other city that I’ve known. The city is some 50km away and the initial landscapes between Keflavík and Reykjavík were rather barren, not particularly green, and were devoid of life. As we approached the city, modern buildings cropped up in a relatively sprawling manner, and later in the heart of the city, more familiar Scandinavian-like buildings were also seen.

Isolated houses

Unfortunately it would appear the deal we bought was, errrm, “mis-described”. Instead of staying at Radisson Blu 1919 that’s near the sea front (“I’m sorry but we do not have a reservation under your name – and if you are here on a travel deal, I can tell you that you have been misled, just like many others who arrived from France in the last few weeks”), we were directed to Radisson Blu Saga just a little further south. Maybe 15-20 minutes walk away? It was still a nice hotel, and we still think we got a good price for our deal, but it was difficult to quelch the disappointment at that very moment.

Ice-capped mountain

Given we’ve lost precious time sorting through the issues with hotel reservation and whats not, and that it started to rain outside, we decided we would stay in for the evening. With stomach grumbling, an early dinner was in order. We didn’t have to go too far – just up to the 8th floor of our hotel to the Grillið Restaurant. (More on that in a separate post)

Our humour restored after a good feed, we had a pow-wow to decide on our activities in the coming days and we booked for the Golden Circle tour at the gift shop of the hotel, discounted using a coupon I found tucked inside one of the brochures I picked up earlier. So far, our first glimpse of Reykjavík has been promising despite the weather and the hotel misadventure, and we would like to see the region a little more. Afterall, we’ve been promised waterfalls, geysers and a wilder side of Iceland.

Posts in this Icelandic series:
First impression: Reykjavík
Grillið Restaurant
The Golden Circle Tour
Nordic dining: DILL Restaurant

Category: Europe, Iceland, Travel

Tagged: , , ,

2 scribbles & notes

  1. zarin says:

    sorry to hear about the hotel arrangement, but glad that didn’t dampen your holiday. oooh, can’t wait to read the upcoming post(s).

    btw, what are you using to replace google reader on your laptop and mobile? i’m trying out feedly. just wondering if there’s any other ones i should know of

    • Lil says:

      Talk about damp – you should read the post on the Golden Circle Tour! ;)

      I haven’t even got a chance to test out an alternative yet. Most friends are on Feedly as far as I know. I should get on to that…

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