Hello from Iceland! Reykjavik, to be specific. We are only here for 5 days so we might not have anything other than first impressions! But I felt like you’d like to hear them anyway. In random order, from our first day, here are some thoughts…
From the moment we walked off the plane, Haley and I were working on our Icelandic. Very unsuccessfully I might add. There’s no need to speak it, though. Everyone speaks English and signs are all in both languages. But it’s fun to say the words anyway.
Our first purchase in Iceland was a cup of coffee (due to failed cream purchase) and cup of tea. Paper cups, no sleeves, no tops and no straws or sticks. Love it! Any plastic bag at the grocery store will cost you and most stores hand you your items with no bag. Fantastic! Even better, you can drink the water directly from the tap and most restaurants have big pitchers of water and glasses set up so you can serve yourself. I’m a huge fan of this system.
I didn’t want to lead with this because you can’t read a single article about Iceland without hearing about the prices here. But yeah… it’s not cheap. Hamburgers for $19 USD, coffee for $7, french fries for $10. It’s hard to eat on the cheap here. We are still mixing up our currency and decimal points. I saw an ad for Segway Tours so I checked into it, thinking it was $15 a person. Nope, $120 a person. Pass.
Look, Ma! Big Sidewalks!
Cabarete, Dominican Republic could take a page from Iceland’s book. They have big sidewalks here. In some cases bigger than the street! And if you are anywhere near crossing the street and there’s no light, you have the right of way and cars stop for you. It takes us off guard after the Frogger method of crossing the street in many places we’ve been lately.
What’s That Smell?
I’m serious, there’s a smell here. The water is very safe to drink but the hot water produces an odor that can be a little unpleasant in a confined space like the shower. It’s nothing to be concerned about, it’s just the sulfur from the volcanic rock that is this island. I had to Google it to be sure and evidently I’m not the only one who was curious.
Wow, do they know how to make tourists happy. The shopping is fantastic! Cute little tourist shops, fun Nordic and Viking memorabilia, lots of products featuring puffins or sheep or whales, and a lot of northern European designs. There are a LOT of interesting stores. I am loving it, even though I have 0 space and less than 1 kg left in my suitcase.
Who Needs Cash?
A 180 degree turn from Cabarete, where most places would not take a credit card, Iceland is a card carriers’ dream. Everyone takes cards, including the buses (via an app) and taxis, the hot dog guy and the pay toilets. I even purchased the bus ticket from the airport to the city center while still on the airplane! These guys have it figured out. I have not needed to carry any local currency here at all.
We went from the Dominican Republic to Alaska to Iceland, so we had a bit of an adjustment period for this weather. It’s slightly colder than Alaska, but still warm enough for just a few layers, ending with a hoodie or a light jacket. We’ve had sun so far while we’ve been here so we have nothing to complain about.
Well those should be enough first impressions to hold you over until I get some real scoop for you. You can look forward to some highlights of our city days and a few days with a tiny rental car. The world is our oyster! Or at least this corner of Iceland.