Due to the pandemic, it has actually been almost twenty months since I saw the inside of a plane and countless planned vacations (Tokyo, Washington and Toronto) were canceled by airlines. One last attempt for this summer should now help and so we called again at the beginning of August to book.
The result were ten days in Reykjavik, Iceland. The SAGA Class was booked at Icelandair in the Flex tariff - just to be on the safe side
Because the departure was supposed to be from Berlin, we first planned to take the train from Leipzig to Berlin - but if the impending strike we have reserved a parking space in advance from BER (€ 74 for ten days). We spent the night before the flight in the Steigenberger Hotel at the airport in order to take off as relaxed as possible.
The departure was on September 15th. - The check-in opened exactly three hours before departure. This was carried out quickly after checking the vaccination and the pre-registration, which is necessary for Iceland. But then the first disillusion. SAGA Class passengers in Berlin do not get fast-track security or access to any lounge before departure. However, since it was still more than two hours to take off, we decided to invest 90 € ourselves and bought access to the Tempelhof Lounge at BER.
The business class of the B737 MAX9 was not booked too well with four passengers, and boarding by the extremely friendly crew went smoothly and quickly, so that the flight could take off on time.
You can find the video of the lounge stay, the flight and what Icelandair has to offer during Corona times on Youtube or here under the following link:https://youtu.be/Vn1XHT8TYF4
The arrival in Iceland went more than smoothly. From the plane to the baggage carousel, our suitcases were already doing their laps there and the line, which at first appeared long to check the barcodes for entry, could almost be walked through at a run. The Flybus, which was booked in advance in Germany, was already five meters in front of the terminal and since we took the last two free seats, we drove towards Reykjavik ten minutes after landing. The return trip for two people is expensive at around € 87 - but it is still the cheapest way to get into the city. When we arrived at the central bus station BSI, we still had about a kilometer to walk to the reception of our hotel. The Reykjavik Residence Hotel consists of several buildings, which are arranged within a radius of 200 meters from the reception building. Our "family studio" with kitchen was located in the Artisan House, built in 1901 - in a quiet side street with a view of the ocean.
We spent a total of nine nights in Reykjavik, although unfortunately not every day offered such good weather that it was possible to do something.
Nevertheless, when the sky is cloudy, we use the first morning for a first city tour. From the Atlantic coast, past the “Harpa” concert hall through the old town to the highest point in the city with the “Hallgrimskirkja” - an opulent concrete building.
In advance we reserved a rental car for one day with which we wanted to explore the southwestern part of the island. We were so lucky that it turned out to be the day with the best weather. You can see the route on the map below.
From Reykjavik we went to the “Kleifarvatn” a nearly 8km² large lake to the first geothermal fields on the “Krýsuvík”. The smell of sulfur dioxide takes some getting used to , but the sight is astonishing.
We then drove along the coast towards Sellfoss to the Atlantic mouth of the "Ölfusa".
We drove back to Grindavik to have our lunch break there. Then we went a little further north to the famous blue lagoons. There is a publicly accessible area that we had a look at and a spa area including the possibility to bathe in the water.
The next stop was the “Brimketill” - a “pool” made of lava rock in the area of the cliffs, which creates particularly beautiful fountains when the waves are high.
The next geothermal area is in the area of the Gunnuhver volcano. The high columns of steam can be seen from afar and the bubbling springs are impressive again, even if you should keep your fingers away.
The last stop of the day brought us to America. Well at least something like that. In Iceland, the Eurasian plate meets the American plate and here you can now walk across a bridge from Europe to America. From November onwards, traveling to America should become easier again for Europeans.
We were able to return our rental car without any problems and 100 meters from our hotel door it started to rain again - you have to be lucky. Unfortunately, we had to skip a second day of renting a car due to the weather. Then we would have devoted ourselves to the “Golden Circle”. Fortunately, we had already seen glaciers and waterfalls in Alaska
In the following days we had two more days, which were suitable for walks. There were also some beautiful corners of Iceland's largest city.
The last two days even brought sleet. This made the mountains look already well “sugared”.
The return flight to Berlin started on September 24th already 7:40 a.m. The long journey to the airport made us drive to the airport the day before and spend the night in the Aurora Hotel - the airport hotel. The charm and furnishings from the late eighties were okay to get the chance to sleep for an hour and a half more.
There will also be a video on YouTube of the return flight including insights from the SAGA lounge at Keflavik Airport. I will submit the link later.
Once in Berlin, the airport showed itself again from its "best" side. Despite the low volume of flights at lunchtime, it took 25 minutes for the first suitcases to roll onto the conveyor belt after landing. And due to the “non-business” status of the outward flight, all pieces of luggage with priority tag were the last to arrive. 45 minutes after landing we had our luggage and could walk into the parking garage.
In the great hope that the next trip report won't take another twenty months, I thank you for reading!
Christiane - UpInTheAir