After an evening flight from Gothenburg to Heathrow, we were up at 5:45 for the next leg in our trip.
We stayed overnight in the Sofitel Heathrow. It was nice to walk 500 metres from the terminal to the hotel and then back again in the morning. They also kindly stored a suitcase for us while we were in Gothenburg. The location of this hotel is great for a late arrival or early morning departure.
The BA lounge was disappointing. The food choices were limited to fruit, cereal and pastries. Also the spa services are only available to passengers on long haul flights. The downward slide of BA continues.
Iceland is a three hour flight away from London, so not as inaccessible as one might think. We arrived to a balmy 10 degrees Celsius and rain coming in sideways. After weeks of sunny and warm weather this was a shock to the system. It's not so much the heat, it's the humidity that'll kill you. Yes, we have used that joke before.
We received another upgrade, this time for the car and discussed insurance coverage (for ash and sand damage - more on this in a moment) and petrol (IKR200 per litre - about AUD2.50). The wind was brutal - the Navigatrix' 23kg suitcase was blown across the car park before we got it in the car and the Navigator had to aim the steering wheel to about 1 o'clock to keep the car in the lane. This is why you need the ash and sand insurance, as the car can literally be sandblasted.
The airport at Keflavik is about 45 kilometres out of Reykjavik. The landscape is like a desolate lava field but interspersed with low lying Scandinavian buildings painted in oxblood red, mustard yellow or icy blue. Rock sculptures stand by the side of the road.
We were too early to check into our hotel but Benny at reception kindly took our bags and gave us access to the Member's Lounge where we got food, drinks and could take in the view. We spent some time planning our activities for the next four days.
Reykjavik has a population of 120,000 but feels much busier compared to Gothenburg's 580,000. The hotel is full, the streets are bustling with cars and the main part of town was crammed with tourists and their wheelie bags searching for their hotels. There are lots of funky art shops, bars and restaurants in town which are worth exploring but everything is expensive here as just about all of it is imported. We are on the lookout for something made with Icelandic wool.
The other thing which strikes you about Iceland is the light. We are at 64 degrees north, so not quite in the Arctic circle (66 degrees north) but as it is summer there is 20 hours of sunlight a day. The rain, low cloud and wind mean the light is constantly changing and it made for fascinating viewing throughout the evening. The rain did not last long and the wind had calmed down by the evening so the harbour was calm.
The sun was still up when we went to bed.