Iceland Day 1 – Reykjavik
I flew in to Keflavik on a red-eye.
I have never been able to sleep on a plane. Something about being in the air excites me, I am taken back to my youthful ambition to be an RAF pilot. I experience flying to Europe informs me that I can rest on the plane, and be quite active the following day, with the time change in my favor. Early to bed, early to rise, and I am adjusted to the new time zone.
The shuttle to Kuku for the campervan that would be my home for the next ten days went without a hitch, and then paperwork. To my dismay I found out that even the Platinum insurance package did not cover damage if I hit a sheep, on top of which I would owe $500 to the farmer for the sheep. Stupid sheep, who gave them a license to drive.
My first adventure was getting out of the parking lot. In order to save money, I had ordered the smallest cheapest option, which came with a stick shift. I had figured that even though I had never driven a stick shift before, I used to ride a motorbike, how hard could it be?
Motorbikes don’t have reverse.
First stop a Kronan supermarket. Large, clean, well laid out, with a case full of the Icelandic speciality hot dogs. I don’t speak Icelandic. Google Translate doesn’t work for hot dog varieties. I am illiterate, overwhelmed, and alone in a supermarket in a foreign land. I pick at random.
Driving on the highway to my first campground is easy enough. Left foot instead of left hand for clutch, right hand instead of right foot for gear. I am familiar from the back seat of car growing up with the sound of the engine when it’s time to change gear.
After the campground I head in to town. I am promised a panoramic view of the city from the tower of Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, but it is closed. The Calder statue of Leif Ericson points me down into the very expensive and touristy center of town. I had wanted to buy an Icelandic wool sweater, but they are $300.
A nourishing lamb meat soup fortifies me as I head for the windswept waterfront, where I spend a happy hour watching the clouds and boats go by at the Sun Voyager by Jón Gunnar Arnason.
At dinner back at the campground I discover that I seem to have bought the wrong sort of hotdog. Or maybe it is too authentic. But the Saint-Emilion 2015 washes it down quite well.