We landed in Keflavik Airport (KEF) around 6:30 am this morning. It was a smooth flight, Iceland is about 4 hrs ahead of Boston, so obviously we were jetlagged from our red-eye flight.
One important thing we learned about KEF: get your ass through Immigration & Customs ASAP once your flight lands. We didn’t realize how strict they were about this, so we hung out around the terminal, browsed through gift shops, and pretty much loitered around, trying to recharge and refresh ourselves.
Then a police officer came up to us and barked at us for not having gone through Immigration yet, since they were already closing (by this point it was almost 8am). We also didn’t realize that they weren’t open for continuous hours (I believe they only open after a flight lands). The officer escorted us to some corridor, took our passports, and went inside a room. Then he came back, gave us back our passports with stamps, and shooed us along. We’d just landed in a foreign country and our first instance of human interaction was to annoy a cop, whoops! >_<
Once we got to the bus lobby around 8:30am, we also learned that buses only operate after a flight lands, thus the next bus into Reykjavik (45 mins away from KEF) would’ve been at 11:30am. Oh well, we’ll just chill in the lobby and take a nap or something. Fortunately, another woman on our flight also made the same mistake we did with Immigration, and also had to wait for an 11:30 bus. And since there were three people waiting to get into the city, that was enough for the bus driver to give us all a ride on the spot (or “on-demand”). Nice!
During the bus ride, we chatted a bit with the other woman, and learned that she was from around Phoenix, AZ (she looked like a well-seasoned backpacker). She was doing a stopover in Iceland for 3 days before continuing on to Copenhagen to meet up with her daughter in college. She mentioned that she was an avid couchsurfer, and suggested that we look into it for expensive cities like Paris. Essentially you’d be sleeping on someone’s couch for free, but she mentioned that it takes a certain mindset to be a couchsurfer.
Got to our hostel around 9:30ish, we’re staying at a place called Idglo Guesthouse. It’s pretty barebones, and makes me feel like I’m in college again. We have a room to ourselves, and share a bathroom, kitchen, and lounge with other people. It’s also freezing, and forecasted to rain over the next 2 days.
We pretty much spent the rest of the day napping and walking into town (about 20 mins from our hostel). The main street in Reykjavik is called Laugavegur, which is an incredibly long road with shops, restaurants, and bars. From my observations, Reykjavik has a very large number of Indian, pizza, and Mediterranean restaurants, greatly outnumbering “local” cuisine.
We went to 10-11 (a convenience store) and BONUS (a supermarket) and picked up some breads, cheeses, jellies, and meats, and ate those as our meals for the day (it’s not whale meat or puffin, but we’re working towards it!).
The water here is also interesting. Supposedly the cold tap water is safe enough to drink, and tastes fresh and pure (verified). However, the hot water seems to come from some geothermal hot spring (unverified), and you smell nothing but sulfur. This might pose a problem while showering…
Probably the highlight of my day was discovering a small hot dog shack in the back alley of a rental car shop and having probably one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever eaten (kr 390). It was covered in this sweet brown gravy with mayonnaise, and had this onion relish underneath the hot dog. The bun was well crisped. I’d be tempted to go back if I could remember where it was.