Iceland – Way back in 2012, I happened to see the pics of this country in a travel forum. Since then, I developed an interest in me to visit this place. Years passed, I seen pics from my friends in Facebook and I kept waiting for my time. Thus, the time came in Sep 2018, I solely conquered Iceland.
I was planning to visit Himalayas in the month of Sep 2018 with my friend and due to my friend’s personal commitments we dropped our plan. I was very much desperate to go somewhere and don’t know where to go. Thus, the idea of traveling to Iceland popped up.
So, where do I start.?
Research – My friends Varad and Barkha been once to Iceland and they shared their insights. The itinerary model from Barkha was much useful for applying visa. Barkha, your idea on Food part was much useful. Food being the costly one in Iceland to eat out three times regularly during the travel. Thank you very much. Another thanks for my friend Shrutha, who shared more details on traveling in Paris from airport and place to stay.
I used the following websites to research the places and plan my itinerary.
https://guidetoiceland.is ( took day tours from them)
http://www.iheartreykjavik.net (this website gives some good insights)
http://www.tripadvisor.com ( I found a traveler who was traveling on the same dates as mine)
Flights & Tickets:
For tickets, I used my HDFC Regalia Card points to cut down 30% of flight costs (provided you save your points and have some for redemption :))
So, I had 10 days in my hand, I split 5 days for Iceland, 2 days for Norway and a day for Paris. Remaining 2 days for on and off.
I booked my flights on September 2nd. Below are the total amount(INR) I spent on booking flights and stay.
This itinerary was the same I shared with the Embassy of Denmark. For Iceland, Denmark Embassy is the one which processes the visa applications.
Below are the list of documents or kind of checklist that are required as part of your visa submission. This was a rough Checklist
I booked my flights, booked appointment for visa in Chennai VFS and submitted my documents on the 6th of September 2018 and I haven’t got any message or calls from the Embassy. Later, on the 14th of September I got a Call from Delhi Denmark Embassy and the officer asked me questions which was already answered in the documents I sent to the Embassy, but still one has no option to say no and I answered them politely and I got my passport with Visa stamped for 20 days on the 18th of September.
Things to carry:
- A proper jacket
- Good shoes ( would recommend quechua or weinbrenner )
- Thermal wears and thermal socks
- A scarf or two and some gloves
- A woolen cap or skull caps to cover your ears
- Power banks and camera battery backups
- Sunscreen Lotions and chapstick
- Ready to cook food packets
- paracetamol & Antibiotic tablets
- cold and flu tablets
- cough syrup
- Antiseptic solution
- Eye/Ear drops
- Loperamide tablets can be useful additions to any travel first aid kit.
I am done with my packing stuff, all I need is to travel and I was really nervous because of the fact that I am traveling ALONE from 13 degrees north to the 66 degrees north basically to the Arctic Circle.
September 22nd 2018 – The travel begins
I took the blessings of parents and left to the airport at 1 am and besides so many things to carry, I kept my travel bag very light weighted, see to believe that (14.4 kgs and a backpack with a point and shoot camera )
I took Etihad Airways from Chennai and the flight was really good with generous leg room and nice place to relax for an Economy class. If you would require a more leg room e.g. For the first seat you can pay $30 to get one. As always, good flight, courteous staff and a great food. May be can improve on the snacks part.
Day 1 – Journey was from Chennai to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Paris and Paris to Iceland. The time I reached Paris it was 3 p.m.
The above table reminded me of my first international solo trip to USA. I boarded from the charles de gaulle airport to Houston in 2007 and after 11 years I came to this airport.
I cleared security and immigration checks in Paris and headed to board my flight to Iceland. An Asian girl working in the airport recognized me to be part of south of India and spoke to me in my language and I mentioned about my trip to Iceland and she said its quite interesting to see people do travel all the way from one part of the continent to the other end.
It’s very unfortunate, now the WOW airways has terminated their operations to Iceland. They were one of the low cost airways to fly to Iceland.
(After reading so long, now you have) Reached Iceland around 8.30 p.m in the night. The main airport is #Keflavik and you have to take a FLYBUS to reach Reykjavik. Flybus is nothing but a bus that connects the airport and the town. Was walking in the airport and went to the super market stores to buy some soft drinks and cookies.
Headed out of the airport and it was wooow, weather was fairly cold and a strong wind was blowing. I covered my hands with gloves and a skull cap and showed the ticket that I booked in advance to the bus driver and boarded into the bus. There, I got some warm air inside the bus. The bus started at 9.15 p.m., it was full moon day and the moon was so closer and big. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a snap. After a hour journey the bus stopped in the BSI (Bus Station in Iceland)
I came out of the Bus station around 10.30 p.m and crossed the road to board the bus number 3 or 6 to reach the house I booked through the Airbnb. The Airbnb host lives in Gerdi. I boarded into the Bus number 3 around 10.45 p.m and I shown the address in the paper to the driver, he said go and take a seat.
The bus had a WIFI and for that matter all the buses in Iceland are WIFI enabled which are too good (I didn’t buy any SIM during my 5 days stay in Iceland). I was navigating the map to the destination but I realised I was going the opposite side and I went to spoke the driver and shown the paper, he said oh I am sorry, you should have boarded the bus on the opposite side. Now, cross the road take the bus number 12 and get down after three stops and wait for the bus number 3 or 6 to come. I thanked him and got down from the bus. One good thing was that, the buses are free on saturdays so I didn’t get the ticket which was kind of saving if I had ended up in boarding three buses on the same night.
I crossed the road, the weather was extremely cold and now the time clocked around 11 p.m. No one on the road, I felt like am the lonely man left out there with no directions to head. I looked upon the sky, there I saw the Northern Lights. It was such a pleasant view to see them dancing on the sky. I didn’t click pic because I was thinking I am there for another 4 days and I will definitely have some good ones.
A bus was coming in the distance and I felt little relief and it was not number 12 and I waited for few more mins , later the bus number 6 came which was going to the place Gerdi, I was supposed to go. Meanwhile, I messaged the host that I am on the way and got down at the bus stop, climbed the stairs and followed the instructions she gave me on the letter which was like walk up the stairs and walk straight towards the road that will be steep and when I walk up, I found 3 roads that are steep and it was night 11.45 and I didn’t had WIFI or a SIM. That point, I realised why it is necessary to have a SIM card.
Two men were coming down the road and I shown them the address and it was dark in the night and I trusted two strangers, exchanged a communication. They were so kind to google the place I am heading too, the fun part was I am heading to location code 103 and the man said, you came so long. I said, Is it? no way , I am very confident that I am closer. I borrowed the phone and saw he has googled the location code to 130 instead 103. We all had a great laugh and I saw an woman approaching us and thank god, the host herself came all the way to bus stop.
I thanked the two men and I thanked my host so much for making all the way and way back to her house I realised that her house was so closer to the bus stop. I entered the house, it was 12.00. I felt, man I was travelling more than 24 hours crossing various time zones. I bid good night to the host and unpacked my luggage, took a maggie and prepared my food for the night. The last meal I had was in Paris airport around 4 p.m and I thought I will have a meal in WOW airlines, unfortunately nothing was served. So, I ate and lay down in my white room thinking what a rough day it was!
( I didn’t click one, but the above pic was from the host page)
I opened my mobile, added Reykjavik location to my weather app and shared with my friend who was part of this journey virtually.
23rd September 2018
The sun was shinning bright. I stepped out of the house after my breakfast.
I have booked a 3 day tour package called 3 in 1 Bundle Discount Tours | Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle, Secret Lagoon & Jokulsarlon from guidetoiceland.is
In the morning, I got a clear route what my host was saying over her email when I saw them in person. It happens. Iceland weather are conditioned to change so fast. Someone mentioned that, must bear in mind that Iceland doesn’t have climate, it has all the scale, wind, rain, sun, again rain, wind, sun.
Within few minutes of my walk, I found the sky has become cloudy.
I started from my Airbnb house to the Hostel B14. It was a 5 min walk. Point to remember is to keep your under warm conditions exposing to the cold conditions will make your phone battery go to zero. I used for Navigation to find my the Hostel B14 and I got my fully charged Iphone switched off.
I went near the Hostel B14 and unable to locate it, because it is strategically located 🙂
I was waiting near the Glo Restaurant (glo.is) for my van to arrive and I had some good waiting time, so popped into the restaurant and had a coffee and the store timings are very punctual that they serve only at 8 a.m.
Fakafen 11 area where you can have some good shopping.
The mini bus from Bus travel Iceland. The best part of this bus is it has USB charger for each seat, so you can be fully charged..
Boarded the bus and picked the other travelers on the way and started our journey to the 1st destination Snaefellsnes,
More of pictures going forward..
My 1st Rainbow in Iceland
We stopped for a coffee break and now you can see the prices of the foods in Iceland. A Lays Chips pack costs Icelandic Kronos 635.( INR 356)
1 Icelandic Króna equals
0.56 Indian Rupee
After traveling for close to 2 hours we alighted for Lunch. 2nd Rainbow.
This boat reminds me Game of thrones boats ( I wasn’t aware of #GOT when I went to Iceland)
This is a Fish soup with a Bread costs IKR 1950/- and I would say one of the best soup I ever had in my life.
The city was so quite and the weather was keep changing.It started raining..