Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Worldcon 2017 Trip Day 11: On to Iceland

We had an 8:45 AM flight out of Helsinki this morning, so after much too little sleep we lurched out of bed, completed our packing, checked out of the hotel, and got a train to the airport. We are very grateful to the extremely frequent airport trains, because we missed the first one we planned to catch, but there was another one coming along in just a few minutes, so it did not matter.

We're in Saga class for this trip (hooray for Alaska miles), so we had access to the lounge and therefore didn't have to buy breakfast. OTOH, my unfamiliarity with the airport cost us €5 because we didn't realize where to go to cash in the one tax-rebate purchase we made, and by the time we realized that the refund place was as the other end of the terminal, it was too late because the flight to Reykjavik was already boarding.

The flight itself was routine and comfortable, with complementary noise-canceling headsets (I forgot to bring mine, which was annoying on the trip out) and another breakfast. To save some standing in line at KEF, I pre-bought the FlyBus airport-to-city transfer tickets. By the time we got to baggage claim, our bags were waiting for us, and we walked outside and found the FlyBus. We got the front two seats for the 50 km drive to Reykjavik. At the bus terminal, we had to get out and wait for a mini-bus to collect us and take us to the stop near our hotel.


We are staying across from the stunning Hallgrímskirkja church. This makes it hard to get too lost, because you can see this building from a long ways off.

Leifur Eiríksson Monument

On the grounds of the church is the Leifur Eiríksson Monument, which I did not know was presented as a gift from the USA to Iceland. You can see our hotel just beyond and to the right of this picture.

Hótel Leifur Eiríksson

Here is the hotel itself, which is to its credit in a very convenient location from our point of view. There are shops, restaurants, and attractions nearby, and the bus stop for the FlyBus and the Golden Circle is across the street next to the church. But it's not ideal.

If you cannot handle stairs, never stay at this hotel. You need to negotiate stairs simply to get into the front lobby from street level, and there are no lifts. Normally for us this wouldn't be a problem, but Lisa's knee has been troubling her during this trip. She can walk on flat ground okay, but stairs give her trouble. And we have a lot of luggage. (Fortunately, our room was only on the second floor (of four), so I only had to carry luggage up one flight of stairs.)

As we expected, we were vastly early, but the hotel staff were nice and let us store our (substantial) luggage behind the counter. Tea/coffee/cocoa are available at all hours in the lobby (and you can take it back to your room), so we sat and had some tea while we repacked our bags and made plans for today. After putting most of our stuff behind the hotel counter, we set off to explore and kill time until 2 PM when our room would be ready.

Hótel Leifur Eiríksson

Returning after a lot of walking around (and stopping for a lunch of meat soup, which is clearly a standard dish here), we checked into our room. Kuma Bear said, "Nice beds, but where will Girls and Boys sleeps?" It's not a large room. Lisa observed that our cabin on the Finnstar was larger, had a more comfortable bed, was more efficiently arranged, and cost less per unit of time. (Including the meals included in the ship crossing; our hotel includes a minimal breakfast.)

Hótel Leifur Eiríksson

There is no work desk here. There is an open rack for hanging clothes, a stand for setting down a piece of luggage, and a stool.

Hótel Leifur Eiríksson

The rooms have en suite toilet/shower compartments, which are nearly as compact as those on an Amtrak Superliner bedroom. The shower stall (no bath) has a curtain, but otherwise the entire bathroom is the actual shower stall.

This is something of a letdown after the ten nights in an Executive Floor room at the Holiday Inn Convention Centre in Helsinki. I do really wish that IHG had properties here. But we'll make the best of it.

Homing In On Home

After getting unpacked in the room, we set out on another walk, hoping to have an early dinner. The place we'd initially considered didn't actually start serving until after 17:30, and we were time-offset from our travel, so instead we got a couple of hot dogs, which were good, but not as spectacular as the guidebooks suggest they should be. We then decided to turn in relatively early. As you can see in the picture above, if you can keep the church in sight, getting back to the hotel is easy.

We'd been warned about the high prices in Iceland, and high they are. We'll be here four nights and most of five days, and we'll need to keep costs down where we can. Tonight we decided to just buy some groceries and eat them in our hotel room. There's no refrigerator, more's the pity, but Lisa had a can of tinned fish left over from Germany, I got some salami, and we made sandwiches. They don't allow outside food in the downstairs breakfast area, and as I said, the rooms are tiny, but we made the best of it, watching a train video that Lisa had on her computer.

Tomorrow we hope to take things relatively easy and not overwhelm ourselves. Aren't vacations supposed to be restful?
Tags: hotels, lisa, travel, vacation

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