Iceland Travel Guide
Every so often here at Jaunted, we get a dispatch from The Newbie Traveler Andy Miles, who, despite his passion for travel, is still working on getting out there in the world. His unique perspectives are those of a first-timer, and today we're excited to hear about his very first trip to a thermal bath. In this case, the dip went down in Iceland:
You only turn 30 once, so I decided to mark my third decade on earth with a trip to Iceland's Blue Lagoon. To make the experience even more memorable, I purchased their most luxurious package because, hey, I'm worth it.
Getting to the Blue Lagoon is easy, but it's not entirely close to Reykjavik's city center; plan on a 40-minute drive. Unless you're a millionaire and can afford a taxi, or have rented a car, you'll be taking a bus. Luckily, most bus services will pick you up right at your hotel and only cost about 3600 ISK ($30) roundtrip.
The drive from Reykjavik's city center to the Blue Lagoon is mesmerizing. It almost feels like you're on another planet made up of nothing but beautiful, mossy rocks. About a mile away from the lagoon, you'll start to see large plumes of steam rising in the distance. This is technically your first view of the lagoon, but it only gets better from there.
Russell Crowe has a new addiction. It's called "Skyr" and, though it may sound scandalous, Skyr is actually just Iceland's traditional yogurt which Crowe discovered while filming Noah there last month. Now that he's back in Australia, it seems Crowe's in crisis and having a hard time finding his new favorite food.
"I seem to have left Iceland with an addiction to Skyr...can you buy it anywhere else in the world?," Russell recently tweeted.
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Icelandair knows that you can only read so much about the Blue Lagoon in your guidebook before you need to hop onto the internets to check out a few more sample itineraries (and more pics of those hot springs). So that’s why the carrier is teaming up with Row 44 to offer up some international WiFi to each and every one of their airplanes.
Wait just one sec, however. It sounds like the installation process will start towards the end of the year, and the goal is to get a couple of planes up and going before 2013 rolls around. Thanks to super specific definitions, Icelandair will even be the first North Atlantic airline to do the fleet-wide WiFi thing.
With the threat of winter also comes the drop of tourism to Iceland, unless you enjoy having only several hours of a sunlight each day. In New York, Iceland Tourism is plastering the interior of subway cars with ads attempting to attract travelers to come spot the Northern Lights, but we're not fooled; it's going to be dark and cold the rest of the day too! Thus, in a sort of ode to the change in seasons, we're enjoying this time-lapse video of one traveler's three-month-long driving trip around the country.
In it, there's the standard panning across breathtaking views, but also a few surprises, which causes it to stand out; he time-lapses his own packing (1:05) and setting up his tent waterfall-side (5:00), plus other tourists enjoying the sights (see especially around 2:00 for that).
This may perhaps be the last chance to smile at the beauty of Iceland, since another of the country's volcanoes may erupt and cause what's becoming an annual international travel meltdown. So...yeah. Enjoy!
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If you remember back to the not that long ago time known as yesterday, we mentioned how there’s one of those pesky volcanoes causing a little trouble on the bottom half of the earth. Well back up on the top half there might be some problems too, and once again we’re ready to blame Iceland.
At least this year it’ll be a little easier to pronounce and discuss, as the problem child is the Katla volcano. This pesky little sucker is located towards the country’s southern coastline, and unfortunately it’s much larger than the Eyjafjallajokul that we remember so well from last year. Some scientists even think that if Katla gets a little feisty that it could make last year’s ash problems seem small by comparison—oh boy.
We love Tuesdays. Why, you ask? Because the day brings many travel tips and quips as "Travel Tuesday" on Twitter, and we're going to share our favorite with you. Got an avid travel twitterer we should follow? Let us know.
And winner of the newest, most creative Twitter account in recent weeks is: @hipstericeland. Seriously, although HipsterIceland doesn't tweet a whole lot, what she (it sounds like she) does deem worthy of putting out there is pure genius. Imagine the stereological hipster...now apply all those traits to an entire country with an already hilarious Twtter feed (@thisisiceland).
Don't believe our praise? Here's a few HipsterIceland gems to demonstrate:
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Yes, this airplane totally exists and yes, we feel kinda late to the news since it's actually been tooling around the world since notorious heavy metal band Iron Maiden customized an Astraeus Airlines Boeing 757 in 2008 to fly around on their world tours. It wasn't until this week that we really learned what we were missing, when Lonely Planet's US Editor Robert Reid hopped onboard "Ed Force One" for a tete-a-tete with Iron Maiden frontman (and the plane's Captain) Bruce Dickinson. You can read the first bit of Reid's adventures here.
What the what?! It just seems too awesome to handle. Heavy metal man Dickinson goes from flying high on stage to champion fencer to flying high literally, as a part-time pilot with Astraeus. Iron Maiden is still touring, believe it or not, but Bruce makes time to jet. Andhere's the real newsthe plane is now on a somewhat regular schedule flying to the US from Iceland, with international low-cost carrier Iceland Express.
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As you're probably already well aware, the Icelandic volcano that blew its top this weekend was one with which we're not yet on cursing terms. It's name is Grímsvötn, and it's not even neighbors with good ol' Eyjafjallajokull.
The good news is that the ash cloud isn't big enough to majorly threaten European air travel such as Eyjaf's did in 2010, and Iceland tourism is about to take off again. The bad news is that the ash cloud already closed Reykjavik's Keflavik Airport for a short period, canceling flights, and it could do the same in a small way to Scotland soon.
Now for the big three things you need to know about the volcanoes: Pronunciation, Location and Identification...
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If it can be said that the second half of 2010 belongs to the controversy over full-body scanners, then the first half of the year definitely goes to the flight-cancelling powers of the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano and its resulting ginormous ash cloud. Because this natural event so disrupted air travel for most of March and all of April, the traveling public now has it branded into their minds, so naturally there should be an easy website to quickly check whether or not an Icelandic volcano is erupting right now.
When we first saw that low-cost international airline Iceland Express was going to begin service between Orlando and Reykjavik in October, we got pretty curious about what sort of in-flight entertainment they offer for such a lengthy flight, if any.
Imagine our surprise when, while idly flipping through the online version of their duty-free catalog (check that out here), we happened across an ad for exactly what we were looking forIFE of some sort. Like Alaska Airlines and their little "digEplayer" rental united, Iceland Express has a handheld option available onboard.
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Believe it or not, it's already been since the beginning of June that low-cost airline Iceland Express began flying between Newark-Liberty International and Iceland's Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport. The route has done well for them and they're extending the seasonal service through the end of October, as well as throwing in a totally new routeOrlando to Reykjavikspecially for the month of October, but we're guessing it'll return for summer 2011. The Orlando flights begin October 2 and end October 26, chiefly for Icelanders to get a last bit of sun.
If you're looking to squeeze in a last taste of Europe in summer, the airline is also throwing a huge sale on flights from New York to their European mainland destinations. For $399, taxes included, you can get from NYC to Copenhagen (we found $399 for a Sept 6 departure, Sept 13 return), London-Gatwick ($399 for Sept 2 departure, Sept 6 return), and Luxembourg (Sept 1 departure, Sept 9 return). Surf around for more dates, but remember not to try later than October since the airline will leave NYC for the winter.
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Are you trapped far from home due to the massive volcanic ash cloud covering Europe? Relief is on the way, but for now, you can only rest up and prepare for the final slog.
Since we're several days into the mass flight cancellations now, hopefully everyone has realized that this is the eye at the center of the storm. It's the period just after widespread confusion and before flights get back up even to half-power, when a rush on airports and available seats will begin. We suggest understanding what exactly is keeping you grounded, and so we kept our noses to Twitter and news and dug up the Five Most Humbling Photos of the Ash Cloud, just to put things into perspective. Yelling and crying at the airports won't help, because no airplane wants to fly through this.
Check out the snaps, after the jump