Sunday, August 19, 2018

Eurotrip 2018 - Day 1 (8/5/2018) - To Reykjavík

The trip really began the night of August 4, when Fran and I met at JFK airport.  Our WOW Air flight to Reykjavík (actually, the international airport is technically in Keflavík) departed at 12:40am the morning of August 5.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare (she arrived earlier because she took a cab because weekend subway work disrupted her planned route to the airport), and checked in together.  Our initial automated check-in had us sitting separately, so we went to the desk to request seats together.  The agent was able to place us together in an exit row, which meant tons of leg room (though my "window" seat didn't have a window).  She also informed us that our tickets included a checked bag, which I had spaced out on having requested - I thought I had only paid for a carry-on, and not a checked bag.  Needless to say, it was convenient not having to lug my big backpack and her suitcase around for any of the flights on the trip.

The flight took about 6 hours, arriving in Keflavík around 11am.  I got a tiny bit of sleep on the plane, but Fran didn't get any at all.  During the flight she surprised me with the announcement that she had arranged a hot air balloon ride for us for Friday evening in Bruges.

When we went to pick up our car rental, the agent informed us that they didn't have any cars in the class that I had paid for (economy), so they upgraded us at no extra charge to a Renault Clio.  It was still a small car, but included a GPS navigation system and Bluetooth audio - both handy additions.  We found our car in the lot and then drove about 45 minutes (guided by GPS nav) to the Reykjavík Lights Hotel.  Our room was ready when we checked in (even though we were a couple of hours early), so we were able to settle in for a bit.

After 15 minutes or so, we headed out on foot to go explore the city.  Our hotel was about a mile outside the city center.  We walked north to the water, and then headed west along the coast into the center of the city.  The weather was pleasant, with temperatures in the mid 60s (F); I didn't need a jacket, and was even a little warm some of the time when the sun was out.

Our first real stop (though there were a couple other brief detours along the way) was Harpa, a stunning building that housed a concert hall and conference center.  We didn't do anything in particular there besides wander around the building in admiration.  After that, we walked to the nearby Arnarhóll hill, where we killed a bit of time and played a few friendly games.  We then walked down Hverfisgata, which appears to be the main strip in town, and found Brauð & Co., a bakery that Fran had enjoyed when she was last in Reykjavík.  We bought a couple of treats and then headed to the Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, where we were able to look in for a bit before being kicked out for a concert.  We enjoyed a cinnamon roll from the bakery outside the church, then decided to head back to a vegan restaurant called Gló for dinner.  I had some sort of BBQ bowl there - it was pretty solid.  After dinner we walked back to the hotel, where we immediately crashed around 7pm.  We both woke up for a couple of hours around 1am, but then fell back asleep until around 7am.



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