Hi all, thank you for the postings as they helped me plan my trip. I hope I can do the same for others.
I purchased my icelandair pkg for feb 9-13. i stayed at the hilton nordica which was very well appointed. the icelandic people weren't the cheeriest, didn't seem like a teeth issue? But very few smiled.
i wasn't able to get early check-in so i decided to try the buffet breakfast. however, i wasn't pleased when one of the waitresses followed me after i requested a once over of the breakfast buffet.
And although i wasn't able to get a room overlooking the mountains, the elevator area provided the same view.
i booked an 11:30 pick up for horseback riding and the blue lagoon my first day. the weather was cloudy, sunny, windy, sleeting, heavy snow all in a three hour period. the one article of clothing that is essential are wind and water proof gear, it misted or was wet for the better part of the trip, but nothing unbearable or miserable. the temperature was no where near as cold as i expected. it was the same as in ny. 30-40-s.
the horseback riding was with ishestar. they were terrific, professional, informative, educational. they provide rubber riding boots, helmets, wind proof overalls and great orange jackets that protect from the wind and rain. it was nearly a 2 hour ride along mostly flat paths. the icelandic horses are sweet and easy to ride. except for one or two that wanted to take off. one guy had a monty python moment when one of the horses rode up a hill while teena, the black lab chased after them with the rider yelling 'ho' all the way up the hill and the horse clearly ignoring him. We laughed, but were unsure what would happen. They rounded the turn at the top of the hill and he fell off, thankfully unscathed.
the blue lagoon facilities were much nicer than i expected. the whole ‘shower for 6 minutes naked’ or not seemed not to phase anyone. nor did i see any signs. most had suits on while showering and they were not americans. someone took my towel but i tied my robe in a funky knot and nobody took that. i was able to get another towel. i forgot my flips and really thought i needed them, but didn't. i thought i would want to stay in the pool for hours upon hours, but surprisingly after two hours i was ready to go. Back at the hotel i ordered room service, fish soup and a salad with chicken. unmemorable.
the next day was the glacier walk, lobster soup dinner and northern lights. from previous trip reports, i expected the glacier walk to be different, maybe more strenuous. we didn't wear helmets, there were 12 or so in a group. it was a bit slushy. our guide was relatively quiet, but i tried to chat him up to reveal info about the area. our bus guide was great, very informative. We stopped at two waterfalls also.
we traveled to the restaurant where two busloads of us sat at community type tables with candles. it was really charming and warm. The staff was swift and courteous. we had about two hours there. i expected something rundown and past its prime, but it wasn't. i suppose where i'm from there are throngs of people who wear things out. not the case here and the soup was delicious. unfortunately, we couldn't see the northern lights. they had seen them the night before. the night after was also a bust.
My last day was spent wandering the city. I went to mokka café for a sandwich and latte, went to the flea market that was suggested from the hotel. Went to the hot dog stand, i could have done without, the mayo and mustard didn’t do it or me.
Had dinner at 3 frakkar, smoked puffin and haddock. They are located behind ‘the church’ in a residential area. I had researched a ton of restaurants and if I stayed a month I don’t think I would have made it to all of them. Such a great selection. I asked a few locals where they would go and all said 3 frakkar. I arrived before they opened and they let me in. after about an hour they were filled.
One thing to note, literally everything you see everywhere is able to be purchased in the duty free shops. Well, there was a bar of soap wrapped in wool and meant to be used with it on that I purchased in town and did not see at the airport, but most everything else was there.
Also, didn’t use any currency, ours or theirs. Plastic accepted everywhere even the hot dog stand.
sorry so long : ) hope you have as much fun as i did.