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Posts Tagged ‘GUGG’

It was a long day when we arrived in Iceland. We were both so excited. We didn’t make it to our accommodation until after 6.00pm and I had arranged to be at the Loft Bar by 7.30 pm. I was a bit pressured to be there.

The Kevlavik Airport which serves Reykjavik, is about 50 kilometres out of town. A taxi is probably around $250 (more than our actual flights believe it nor not) so we had booked a bus transfer, which is probably more around the $30 mark. That was fine. We caught the bus, saw a massive power station and deduced it to be geothermal. Research later indicated that this was so. We were deposited at the BSI bus station. Our AirBnB instructions said to catch bus 11 or a taxi. After going to a couple of bus stops and my daughter enquiring inside the terminal we found that bus 11 was a good ten to fifteen minutes walk away from the BSI station. A long walk in a strange city with no internet access had not been figured into my plan. It was only five kilometres to our accommodation and around 4000 ISK so around $60 AU. I think. The mental arithmetic for currency conversions are killing me. Actually the Commonwealth Bank is converting at a much higher rate than the internet says the rates are and charging fees on top so the credit card price gouge is killing me. I think I’m going to change banks. My daughter says Citibank does not charge fees so maybe I will try that. Banks are bastards! (I will cut this rant right here).
So we made it to our Airbnb out in the burbs. It’s a great place. A whole bottom floor, with one bedroom, big lounge dining area, kitchen, drying room etc. Weird thing was we didn’t meet our host. We still haven’t met her. We did a self-check in. We never did meet her.

We decided to find a bus and thankfully the Airbnb had wifi so we were able to work stuff out and catch a bus into town and search for the Loft Bar. It took a bit of orienting ourselves but we managed it. I had hoped to be meeting a local SF fan or SF fans there but they were a no show. Sad really, but interesting. Apart from the taxi driver we had not met an Icelandic person. All around us were tourists. It was weirding me out a bit. It also turned cold. For us least ways. We hung around the bar for an hour and then went in search of some dinner. I had drunk a big glass of red wine on an empty stomach, (The Loft Bar (on top of a backpacker place) did not sell food at all) and well I was slightly tipsy afterwards. My daughter had to rug me up, drag me somewhere to get food.
You might recall that I said Norway was expensive. Well Iceland is more expensive, particularly food. I looked at some menus and some lamb in a restaurant was 4990 Isk. That’s around $75 Au. Some meals were more than that and some were cheaper. I settled for two slices of pizza in an el cheapo place that was across from the backpackers. That might have cost me around 1000 ISK or $13.50. Don’t quote me on the conversions. I use google. The next thing was catching the bus home and working out where to get off. Lucky, even though my phone is not connected to the Internet, the gps worked and we just watched the little blue dot getting closer to our AirBnb. We also went to a little convenience store and bought some bread, milk and butter and a can of baked beans. I’m living the high life I tell you.

These photos are from our first evening in Reykjavik, a view up the street to the huge concrete church. And a street sign in Icelandic.

We made it back without any problems and went straight to bed. Iceland is two hours behind Oslo time so body clocks are skewed/screwed.
After all our excitement to be coming to Iceland, we were a bit let down. I can’t really put my finger on why. It was a grey day. Maybe we were tired.
We decided to have an easy morning, which was kind of good. I got my previous blog post up. We rested. Found we couldn’t find the black tea and maybe left it in Bergen. Major crisis. And it was raining. When we checked the forecast we realised it was forecast for rain our entire stay. The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius all day. At first there was no wind. I remember Einar (Icelandic fan guy I met at Worldcon) said it was windy here and other people saying forget the umbrellas. Well it wasn’t windy but by the time we got going sometime after lunch it was windy and we missed the bus. We actually saw it go passed us and bugger! The next one was in half an hour. One of our silly selfies.

Beans wanted to go back in the apartment but I figured if I did that I might not leave at all. I had a mission. I was going to the Nexus book and toy store as a pilgrimage and I’d told the owner I was coming. Also, I wanted to find a yarn store as my next pilgrimage. So we checked out a shop across the road. It was sort of shaped like a tent. They didn’t have much. It was a ecigarette shop and they also stocked candy and softdrinks. We felt a big weird going in there (to take shelter as well as find out what was inside) we bought some local candy, then ventured into the wind and rain. We sat in the bus shelter taking selfies and making each other laugh for half an hour. The bus did come. We weren’t too wet, and only a little cold. I had thick tights and jeans on and three layers under my coat.

We sort of knew where the Nexus book store was but we overshot in the bus and had to walk up through the centre of town, a tourist haven I think. We kept detouring into souvenir shops. I bought some socks in the Thor store. Not much of Thor in there but the socks were cute. Beans decided she needed gloves or mittens because we were going on a tour, which involves walking for three hours across a glacier. I thought it was a good idea and bought some too. Godsend!
See the picture of me in my tea cosy beanie and fingerless gloves. There was also yarn for sale and some lovely stuff, a lot hand made like what I bought.
We walked and walked. We scouted out a noodle joint which had food for under $20 (I think) and a supermarket so we could buy some food for sandwiches. Although we paid $450 for this day tour there is no food included. They take you to places where you pay lots of money for food if you are so inclined. Beans is vegan and there is not likely to be food for her to eat. I’m allergic to fish so not a lot for me either. Traditional Icelandic food involves fish and shark. So we have to be prepared.

 

I name checked Trudi Canavan and Dan Abnett in this book store. The last pic is of Sven. Hi Swen! And check out Game of Thrones in Icelandic. George RR Martin is very popular here along with Robin Hobb.

I am not sure but is Nexus the most northern SF bookstore? If you come to Reykjavik you should totally visit here.

If you think about the economics of this place, the high food prices make sense. There are around 300,000 people here and over two million tourists. Most of the food has to be imported and some is locally produced. Think western food and Tahiti-so expensive because it is flown or shipped in. Eating out pricey for locals too btw.

Nexus bookstore. I was so proud of myself for finding this place. I know I had a gps but so…I can’t read maps! We also learned a bit more about the place and our way around.

What a haven for geeks! I love this store. It has toys, merchandise, LARP clothes, dvds, games-so many games- books-jewellery. Most of the stuff is imported from the USA and the UK. There were local books too, fantasy in Icelandic. So cool.

We met Sven. Local SF fan who works in the store. He was so nice to us. Talked to us for ages, talked about the store, Reykjavik, Iceland, worldcons, Australia. This guy came to Aussiecon 4 in 2010! And he wants to come again. I told him about the NZ worldcon bid for 2020 and that Dublin won the 2019 world con bid. He wants to come back to Australia so badly! I was so happy to meet him and talk fan stuff and about GUFF. He also told us a bit about the Harry Potter Experience in the UK. He said it is booked out every time he’s been to the UK and he goes twice a yar. We haven’t even tried booking for it. So after a long browse around the store, some purchases we headed off to get our cheap noodles for lunch. It was about 4 pm by this time.

Here are some pics from Nexus.

I name checked Trudi Canavan and Dan Abnett in this book store. The last pic is of Sven. Hi Swen! And check out Game of Thrones in Icelandic. George RR Martin is very popular here along with Robin Hobb.

My haul was a Mary Robinette Kowal book. I’ve not seen one of these in Australia and a bling Captain America pendant. Beans bought an C3PO pendant.

I am not sure but is Nexus the most northern SF bookstore? If you come to Reykjavik you should totally visit here.

We were both cheered by our Nexus experience. And we were inured to the weather by then and so happy that we had left the house.
We took some shots of the bay. We saw some sunshine and went to capture it. The mountain range looks amazing. We hope to see it up close on one of the tours we booked.


There are some amazing rocks/boulders by the shore. Breakers I think. I took some photos. There was lava and red granite and some black stuff that Russell K might be able to identify.

We found this bakery in the main drag and bought this ash sour dough bread and pastries. OMG! The bread was so good. We have Iceland inside us.

We made it to the bus and then realised that there are no buses early enough to get us to the tour pick up point the next day. We have to take a taxi. So I tried to get my phone working to call one but to no avail. Some quick research and I downloaded an app. I’ve booked a cab and if it doesn’t come we are totally screwed.

Note! The taxi app was very good. Taxi came.

More on the tours next post. Warning next post contains glaciers, geysirs and waterfalls, lots of waterfalls.

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