First Impressions Of Iceland
I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted to on the five-hour Icelandair red-eye flight to Keflavik airport. I arrived at around 6:30 a.m. local time, caught a shuttle bus to my hotel, and had to wait a few hours to check in, but the hotel let me get some breakfast at the buffet and snooze a bit in the reception lounge.
The airport terminal, named after Leif Ericsson, looked new and had what I consider to be a Scandanavian design aesthetic: spare, spacious, and clean, with lots of soft wood finishes. It seems like an awfully big place to handle so few flights per day. There was a security line to clear--first time I recall going through that after getting off a plane!--but the locals were wonderfully pleasant (and fluent in English) and I was processed through passport control with hardly a glance.
The ride into Reykjavik from the airport was 30-45 minutes and offered a good sense of the landscape here: bleak and barren, but still beautiful. It's been said that Iceland and Greenland ought to swap names, and I could see green everywhere here, but it's a deep, mossy green, not at all like the lush kelly green on the fields of Ireland, this country's closest neighbor to the east. The volcanic formations do create the effect of a moonscape all around. And despite the gulf stream keeping the Iceland climate milder than its name suggests, it is colder here than back home (about forty degrees so, if the promise of temperatures in the 80s in Connecticut comes to pass). It's very windy, too, and the snow-capped mountains across the harbor create a sense of cold--which is not something I usually welcome in late April!