Reichart Ramblings
The Thoughts & Travels of Shane & Amanda Reichart


Aug 25, 2023 - Amanda Reichart

Flying in over Iceland was underwhelming. It was mostly brown with few interesting features. Now, due to finishing up work, packing and preparing for life to change I had done very little research into where we’d be going. And I have to admit I am painfully unaware of most of the world and what it holds and was never the best at geography. I began wondering what this country called Iceland really held. Should it have been on our list? I was in for a surprise!

Iceland_country.jpgBut, before all that we first had to arrive at our Airbnb. Now, I should state the way Shane and I are traveling is a little unconventional for most people. And now that I’ve experienced it I see why! Using a travel agency or individual or booking everything through the same place would be far simpler. It is definitely a less expensive way to go but it is also incredibly time consuming and often frustrating to figure out places to stay, transportation (including flights, buses, trains, and even electric scooters) and tours or attractions to visit. Each location takes hours to plan and often just when you think you have it worked out you realize one minor thing is off and you’re back to square one. So, when we arrived in Iceland, we had several hours to kill before we were able to check into our room. Exhausted we decided to just stay in the airport, eat and rest before taking the bus from the airport to our accommodations.

After ordering some food at an airport restaurant we headed over to a table where a guy asked us to watch his bag while he went to the restroom. We, of course, said, “Yes”, not knowing we would now be stuck in conversation with him and his other new friend for the next several hours. One of these guys was from Australia the other was from Poland. They had lots of stories they were happy to share and some of them even made sense! This was likely due to the fact that at 9 AM they were already on their second beer and added several more before we left. The gentleman from Poland who was buying the beers was currently living in the airport, some of the details were fuzzy (I’d be surprised if those were his first two beers of the day) but apparently he had been working in Iceland and was getting government support as some sort of unemployment now. He was scheduled to fly out a few days later and didn’t want to stay at a hostel because he said the cheapest one was $1,500. Iceland was indeed expensive but I assure you hostels do not start at 1,500 dollars! Shane tried to assure him of this as well but he wasn’t too interested in hearing it, despite Shane pulling them up on his phone.

Thankfully, Iceland’s public transportation was easy to navigate and after getting directions from a very sweet lady at a local business we arrived at our Airbnb and were finally able to get some sleep! We spent the remainder of the day resting and beginning to decide what we would do in Iceland and found to our delight that there was a grocery store right downstairs! We were quickly surprised to find out that dinner and breakfast and a couple of containers of juice at a grocery store set us back $50! As I said, Iceland is expensive!

pizza.jpgThe next day Shane worked and I looked into more to do in Iceland and we settled on the Perlan museum which was an excellent choice! We walked the 25 minutes to get there enjoying the scenery and trying not to freeze! Iceland like many European countries has separate walking and biking paths that take completely different directions from roads which is much nicer than walking next to busy streets but a little tricky to figure out just where you need to go. When we arrived, they were about to stop serving dinner so we went up to the top floor and I was immediately captivated. It was gorgeous! The room, the plants, the view and the 360 degree windows made me feel like we were on our second honeymoon and so that’s what we decided to call our trip to Iceland! We indulged in cod tears, arugula, apricot, pesto, tomato, chili pepper, basil mozzarella pizza, later followed by creamy Kinder Bueno ice cream.

We then roamed through the museum learning all about the formation, settlement and trials of Iceland. It was in this museum I discovered a candle called Volcano that I have loved for years is based on the smell of a volcano! Seriously, the smell of volcanos is amazing! There was much more to see at the Perlan and it gave us a nice overview of many of the things we would see later on in the week. Highly recommend if you’re visiting Iceland! We were amazed as we left to walk another 25 minutes back that it was still light out! In fact, while the sun sets late in the evening it never actually gets dark which can really mess with your internal clock especially when you’re jet-lagged!


Our next outing was Puffin and Whale watching! Puffins are adorable but if I’m being honest this wasn’t my favorite tour. First of all it was rainy and so cold out on the water and I get seasick in choppy water though thankfully this was brief. Also we did see some beautiful dolphins and one Minke whale very briefly but were hoping to see more. Obviously these tours are at the mercy of the whales revealing themselves!

The next day we explored Reykjavik. We took in several museums of the settlers in the area and an art museum and just walked around the city enjoying the beauty. Iceland has some incredibly hearty and beautiful flowers and quite a large bird population, at least in the summer! Our final stop was at oneHarpa_Building.jpg of the local pools. Yes, I actually put a swimsuit on and went outside in 50 degree weather! Then immediately jumped into one of the thermal heated hot tubs! There were five tubs and two pools at this location. Four of the tubs were hot and one of them was cold, I definitely steered clear of that one! It was a nice way to end the day although the process was a bit surprising. At every pool in Iceland you must first shower naked, washing certain body parts (I’ll leave this to your imagination) in a public shower before going into the pools. I had not expected this. Let’s just say Shane and I saw some things!

Our final big adventure was my favorite, The Golden Circle and Hidden Lagoon! On this trip we began at Thingvellir national park. It’s a giant fault line that is slowly growing Iceland by 2A_and_S_faultline.jpg centimeters a year. Thingvellir has amazing cliffs as the land separates that photos truly can’t capture the beauty of! We loved our time hiking there! We next went to check out some geysers, primarily Strokkur but many other hot springs in the area were also beautiful. Gullfoss Waterfall was next. Made even more beautiful by the rainbow next to it, this is the waterfall with the highest volume in Iceland. The views and sheer size that seemed to grow steadily with the fifteen-minute walk for the best views were stunning! It also comes with an incredible story. At one point in its history, it was discovered and the land was about to be bought to turn it into a hydropower plant. However, the man who owned the land had a daughter who lovedGullfoss_Waterfall.jpg the waterfall and went to visit it regularly, her name was Sigríður Tómasdóttir and she threatened to throw herself into the falls if it was turned into a hydropower plant. Thus, she saved its beauty for us to enjoy today. To top the day off we found ourselves in another hot springs, this one much older than the hot tubs we were in the previous day, and much more rustic. Actually, a little too rustic. Shane’s swim trunks were covered in algae by the time we left. But that hot water felt glorious!

Scooter_travel.jpgOur trip back to the airports was rough! The local buses did not run early enough for us to take the charter bus back to the airport so we chose to take electric scooters at 5:30 AM in the freezing, (well not quite freezing), cold. It was not a pleasant trip but we made it just in time to drop the scooters off in the appropriate zone and then run to catch our bus! We got to the airport in plenty of time for our 10 AM flight and landed in Luton, England, only to have to catch another bus that took us all the way down to London before bringing us back north past the airport we had landed in and into Birmingham all because of bus protests. We finally arrived at our destination at 7 PM. It was a long day but so worth the trip. I’m getting ahead of myself, however, that’s for another blog post!

Rainbow_Road.jpgIceland was far prettier than its drab appearance upon first inspection from the plane. It is certainly a place I would encourage anyone to visit as there is so much beauty to behold! I must say, it was a perfect second honeymoon!


(4) Comments:

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Jeff Leigh - Sep 3, 2023 at 2:29pm
Cod Tears ? Did you tell a Cod a sad story? Did you just yell at a Cod for hours on end?
Krista Kingery - Sep 2, 2023 at 11:26am
Thanks for sharing all about Iceland!! Very interesting. I'm excited to continue to read about the different places you go.

Also I can Shane designed this site without reading the bottom just by reading the comments telling me what I missed or did wrong when trying to make an account.
Jill Stutsman - Aug 31, 2023 at 6:55pm
These are delightful posts. I’m thoroughly enjoying them so far!
Zuberanne18 - Aug 31, 2023 at 3:26pm
Robert has traveled to Iceland once, to help his friend and his family move over there. His friends wife jokingly say, “You have to rent a speedo since you forgot your trunks.” SO HE DID! 😂😂😂 he came out to the thermal hot tubs in all his glory and it is a story we hear frequently to this day.
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