Our journey begins – in the land of many weird letters

We are now in Reykjavik, waiting for a room at the Radisson Blu 1919 hotel. Our flight was uneventful and seemed rather quick; we arrived at 6:30 am local time. We picked up our rental car and the drive from Keflavik to the “big city” (45 km) was surreal as we passed through large lava fields filled with beautiful lupins. Our first impression of Reykjavik is that it is a city with extremely modernistic and unusual architecture, aggressive drivers and a very quiet city center. The temperature is quite cool, only in the upper forties, and pockets of snow cling to the nearby hillsides. We are both very tired right now; playing tourist will have to wait until we get a nap and a shower.

Yesterday, our driver, Vladimir, from Omega Transportation, showed up right on time (even a little early) and we had a nice drive to DEN. His company was recommended by our travel agent (Highlands Ranch Travel and their great owner, Marcie). Vladimir emigrated with his family from the former Soviet Union in 1985 (Ukraine) and became a US citizen. He does not like what is going on in our country now and finds it to be reminiscent of what he and his family ran away from in the USSR. We liked Vladimir and will likely use his services in the future.

We got through our packing checklist yesterday before Vladimir arrived and kissed Ruby goodbye before we left, hopeful that she will survive yet another crazy trip by her “mommy and daddy”.

We were the only people in line to check in at Icelandair when we arrived. Security was very easy (other than some scrutiny of the crammed electronics and camera backpack). The TSA agents all seemed to have completed charm school, chatting amiably and quite low-key.

We found a new wine bar on Concourse A, called Vino Volo. They have a great tasting menu and light appetizer selection and we relaxed for a while before heading to the gate. We boarded right on time and were moved to row 2 because the in-seat entertainment is not working in row 3. We are in Saga Class, the first class section of the aircraft. Comfortable seats, nice service, and the price was definitely right when we booked. The only problem is that the signs on the aircraft say things like this: “Sitjid med saetis√≥lar spenntar bj√∂gunarvesti undir midarmi” (I leave it to the reader to translate).

We taxied out and took off on the east runway. The 757 was fully fueled up for the 7 hour flight to Iceland, so our intrepid pilots did their best version of a carrier take-off and brought the engines up to full power before releasing the brakes. Even so, we took most of the runway before lifting off.

Updates will follow once we get a chance to rest and recover.

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