Iceland

!Iceland Discoveries. We were travelling last month and there just wasn’t time to blog it all. Needlesstosay, got lots of helpful tips. First destination was Iceland.

A strange place you might say and I actually don’t know many folks who have been there. It is about 2 1/2 hours from London so it isn’t super far. If you’ve got the dough the way to get there is “Icelandair”:http://www.icelandair.com/. They have nonstop flights from San Francisco and Minneapolis and New York directly there. We took a layover in Heathrow and it was a little painful. Flight got in at 6AM and the flight to Iceland was 130 PM. Our wonderful friends took us into Rejkavik for a week and here are the sites and sounds we thought were so cool:

Anyway, why go there, in a word, its the landscape. Iceland is in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic rift, so it growing an inch a year. You get to stand right on the middle of the fault.

!http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/s/1/14848-step-6—explode-geysir-iceland.jpg! “Geysir”:http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/14848.html is one of the big sites. It is why everyother Geyser is called a Geyser. Goes up every 15 minutes and is way smelly but very cool.

!http://www.geysircenter.com/img/content_gullfoss.jpg! “Gullfoss”:http://www.geysircenter.com/english/gullfoss.html is the really big waterfall, so that and Geysir are the two big sites.

In addition, the kids loved some other things…

“Pylsur”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A6jarins_Beztu_pylsur. Wikipedia is never wrong (;-), so these are indeed the best hot dogs in the world. Actually, we tried them and I have to say, I can’t eat a US hot dog anymore. Unlike their US cousins, an Icelandic hot dog isn’t so salty. They also have this stuff that looks a lot like thousand island dressing they put on it. The only place to get is is called the “Best in Town” or B?jarins Beztu Pylsur. They are cheap at about US$2 each, so grab a bunch.

“Reykjavik Zoo”:http://www.randburg.com/is/reykjavik_family_park/. This is actually a pretty fun place. You get to see the real Iceland Pony too. Reykjavik by the way is great. It has about 200K people or 2/3 of the population and you can get around very easily. Although you really do need a car. Just rent it from “Hertz”:http://hertz.com when you land. Make sure you rent by the way at the Keflavik airport not the Reykjavik airport (this is the domestic airport).

In terms of where to stay, we were lucky to get a private apartment, but most folks think the “Nordica”:http://icehotels.is/hotel.asp?catID=18&hotelId=9&tabId=1 hotel is the best and most luxurious there is.

Finally life wouldn’t be complete with a trip to the “?r?r Frakkar”:http://www.randburg.com/is/frakkar/ which means literally three trenchcoats or three Frenchman. Their speciality is native game. They for instance had Commorant, Puffin and Whale sashimi (I’m not kidding) on the “menu”:http://www.3frakkar.com/matse_en.html the night we were there.

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Iceland Tours

Quick highlights and must sees of Iceland:

Here is the Sigfus tour:

* Nesjavellir. Cool beyond words. This is a place where steam literally rises from everywhere in the ground. Its a big geothermal plant that products 90MW of power and incredible amounts of warm water. There is a 50km pipe back to Rejkavik that loses just 1.8C of temperature from 86C water.

Iceland Calling Card

Most calling cards don’t work in Iceland. But, the local company called “Atlas Simi”:http://atlassimi.is is just $0.12/minute back to the US. It cost is 1,000Ikr for 450 minutes, so pretty amazing net, net. The card also works in the UK and Denmark. Kind of cool that you can buy it online too from the sitel.

The rates are pretty good particularly if you call from a landline in Iceland where the cost is low. If you use mobile then of course it is more.

For prepaid GSM cards, there are two choices according to “PrepaidGSM.com”:http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/islanda.html. From celand Telecom Ltd (Landssiminn), you get a card that is 34 IKr (US$0.50) per minute to the US and 9 IKR for SMS sending. This is via “Siminn”:http://simi.is (“English”:http://simi.is/control/index?pid=6736). You can buy the prepaid SIM card at the airport, Shell stations or Siminn’s retail locations.