Iceland 2019: Arriving

Part 1: Touching down for a soak

It’s an oddball flight, nonstop from San Francisco on Icelandair. The flight is only nine hours, departs SFO at 2PM and so arrives at KEF at 6:40AM. Iceland is also seven hours later than San Francisco, so it feels like landing at around midnight. In other words, all the timing makes it too awkward to sleep on the flight. Take that into account when doing your patented anti-jet-lag stuff.

The airport’s not in or near Reykjavik but is instead near the town of Keflavik, about 45 minutes west of the capital. We picked up a four-wheel-drive Dacia Duster, which is a Romanian SUV somehow also made by Renault. It served us well in extremely awful driving conditions; more on that in a later article.

So after baggage claim and customs and immigration and Hertz, we had to rush to make our entrance time to the Blue Lagoon. Yep, the Blue Lagoon! Not a lagoon at all, it is in fact blue, and it is named after the 1979 Brooke Shields movie. It’s massively popular with tourists like you and me, and it’s wonderful. At eight AM in late December it’s misty and dark and huge, and there aren’t many people. But you can swim up to the bar and have a beer or juice.

We stayed for hours – had lunch in the restaurant, rested on chaise longues, and did lots of splashing about. The sun never really blazes down in winter, but it starts getting light around 9:30 and you could say the sun came up around 10:30. The light was silver all day, and the Blue Lagoon was beautiful.

Folks started arriving by the busload around 1PM so we dried off and paid the bill ($$$$) and drove the Dacia to our VRBO in Reykjavik. We found the place and unpacked around 4PM – right after sundown. N crashed out around 4:30 and I found a 10-11 and got a sandwich. Thus ended day one in Iceland.