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my trip report...

new york, ny
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49 posts
109 reviews
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my trip report...

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.

Luton, United...
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178 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: my trip report...

Hiya - thanks for the trip report - glad you had a good time.

Have to agree with you about 3 Frakkar - I ate there on 1st night of my 1st trip to Iceland - have been back since - love the place.

As you say , Icelandic people don'r seem to be the cheeriest people - but think that's their style - because when you do get to know them they are really friendly and accommodating.

New Delhi, India
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140 posts
169 reviews
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2. Re: my trip report...

Wow what a detailed report

My children would be devastated if we do not get to see the Northern Lights.

If you have time and it is not too much of a bother, please see my program for next month. Any suggestions or advise would be highly appreciated.

Travel Itinerary

17th Delhi – Amsterdam - Keflavik

18th Local drive, Hotel dinner Hotel Laxnes, Haholt 7


19th Horse riding

Reykjavik tour Hotel Laxnes, Haholt 7


20th Þingvellir

Hot springs Hotel Örk, Breidumork 1C


21st Glacier Walk Hotel Örk, Breidumork 1C


22nd Dog Sledding Hotel Gullfoss


23rd Snow mobile Hotel Gullfoss


24th Blue Lagoon, ATV Guesthouse Gardur


25th Van Gogh museum Keflavik to Amsterdam --- Hotel Fita, Jan Luykenstraat 37,


26th Dutch country side tour Hotel Fita, Jan Luykenstraat 37,


27th Amsterdam to Delhi

North Coast, N...
Destination Expert
for Northern Ireland
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5,383 posts
89 reviews
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3. Re: my trip report...

@apollotraveller - you would probably be better putting it in a separate thread with an appropriate title e.g. "help with itinerary please" or "critique my itinerary please" or something similar as I fear your question could get lost here.

@agent99712 - good trip report! there aren't too many on this forum and I have been debating writing one or not but I think like you, I will as it may help someone at some stage!

Edited: 23 February 2012, 13:23
new york, ny
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49 posts
109 reviews
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4. Re: my trip report...

so many have helped me, unknowingly. i try to do short paragraphs, to make it less daunting for the reader and palpable for the 'skimmer' too, to help them get to what they may need.

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135 posts
159 reviews
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5. Re: my trip report...

A delightful report. Thank you for posting. A little concerned about the wayward horse incident. I plan to do the same combo tour in May, Icelandic Horse and Blue Lagoon.

Do remember the horse's name that took off? Was trying to convince my mother to also do the ride but now I think it is safer to have her wait for me. Very helpful to know what clothing and shoes they provide.

Also glad to hear the bathing suit although prudish is not uncommon. Was thinking about the Exclusive Lounge but as we will only spend 2 hours it does not not seem necessary.

You shopping info was also helpful. Plan to shop in Reykjavik on a Saturday. Possibly some airport shopping too.

new york, ny
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49 posts
109 reviews
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6. Re: my trip report...

i'm so glad my report was helpful. if you are using the same icelandic horse tour co. that i used then you should ask for my horse, his name was breeze in english, i can't recall the icelandic name. nor do i remember the wayward one. there are two guides that go out with about 8 of you and they are very helpful and patient and teach you how to move the horse, who really are sweet. your mom would be waiting for nearly two hours for you if she doesn't go. there is a waiting area, where she can get some food and i believe they had a t.v.

there is another tour company who rides for a much shorter time, but i'm not sure of their name.

also, the bathing suits i speak of are in the showers. suits are required in the lagoon. not sure if i was unclear there.

the exclusive lounge seemed to have mixed reviews here regarding worthwhile or not. i suppose if i was with someone i would have done it. others on my trip tried the restaurant and enjoyed it well enough. i would make sure you enjoy the lagoon as you can always eat elsewhere.

all the lagoon products are in the airport also.

there is a shop in town where i found nice jewelry and great gifts, it's called kraum, really terrific. attached to it is a homemade chocolate store that had delectable chocolate and was well received back home : ) carried it on the plane so it didn't break.

lastly, just inside the art museum to the left are the restrooms if you're in need and walking around downtown by the flea market.

know you'll have a great time.

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3 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: my trip report...

loved your review! friend and i booked a trip for late may, very excited! we know it is expensive, but can't find how much things cost in dollars. can you give me an idea how much you spent on lunch and dinner? i know beer is very expensive, is that the case for vodka too?

and you must be naked in the blue lagoon showers huh? i am doing it, just feel weird about it!

Nashville, Tennessee
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65 posts
105 reviews
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8. Re: my trip report...

A fine and very useful trip report, thank you very much for taking the time and effort!

Newcastle upon...
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9. Re: my trip report...


Thank you for the report. I have just booked to stay in the same hotel next month. This will be my first time in Iceland and I don't know what to do so I will check out the things you've mentioned.

Calverton, New York
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331 posts
20 reviews
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10. Re: my trip report...

Thanks for your report. My husband and I are travleing with another couple on what I assume is the same tourpackage out of NY with IcelandAir. Was there food on the flight and how long does it take to get to the hotels.... although we are at the Natura not the Hilton.