We recently returned from our long overdue trip to Iceland. We had been trying to squeeze this one in since before Covid. It was worth the wait. We once again had to fly from Newark Airport since IcelandAir stopped flying direct routes from Philadelphia due to Covid. It was an 8pm flight, so it put the commute to the airport right in the middle of rush hour, but our driver knew the most expeditious routes. Once we checked in, we headed to the Lufthansa Lounge the IcelandAir Saga Premium (Business Class) ticket holders can use.

After some excellent BBQ Salmon, Sweeney Potatoes, and Hot Pretzels, we boarded on time. We were quickly served some Prosecco and very cool looking Iceland water bottles.

Dinner was served shortly after take off. We both opted for the Veal two ways, which was herb crusted and osso buco.

A dessert snack was a neat little chocolate candy. Prior to landing we had some coffee and a Klenät, which is an Icelandic deep fried pastry. It reminded me of funnel cake or a beignet.

We landed in Keflavik Airport a little after 6am. Our driver met us after immigration and we were on our way to explore the land of fire and ice! I had arranged for us to visit a famous Cathedral in Reykjavík called Hallgrímskirkja. Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church coming in at 244 ft tall, which makes it the largest church in Iceland.

Also at the Cathedral is a statue of Leif Ericson. Leif Ericson is regarded as the first European to land in North America nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. We always seem to learn more about our Country while traveling to others. I feel like I must not have paid attention in history class.

From the Cathedral, we made our way to Hotel Rangá where we would be staying for four nights. It was about an hour and a half drive from Reykjavík. We arrived sometime around 9am which was well before the 3pm checkin time. We dropped our luggage at the front desk and headed to breakfast. We got our first view of the river which the hotel was named after, Ranga.

After breakfast we walked the property, relaxed in the lounge, had lunch, and eventually our room was ready. It was the Australian themed Junior suite. It was on the second floor and had a balcony.

The room doesn’t have air conditioning, it is Iceland after all. There was a small thermostat to control the heating in the room. There were no temperature indicators on it, so I just cranked it as low as it would go and opened the window. I don’t think the day time temperatures ever past 58 degrees while we were there. We had an early dinner since we were exhausted and then headed to bed.

Prior to going to sleep, we activated the Aurora wake up call. If there was a sighting of the Northern Lights throughout the night, an automated system would call your room. It was a bit rainy, so we didn’t expect a call. We both slept so well, I don’t think the call had a chance of waking us up anyway.

While staying at Hotel Ranga, we did two full day tours and one half day tour. These activities will be posted in a separate post.

After our second full day tour, we setup everything for the possible Aurora call like we have every night prior. But this time, at 1:30am, our phone rang! I was pretty groggy, but I did my best to quickly get dressed and grab my gear. We ran outside to go see them, but couldn’t find them at first. It was slightly cloudy out, and there were patches of white all around. What we didn’t realize was that the Northern Lights are not really green to the naked eye. The greens show up in the camera. We focused our attention of some white streaks dancing through the sky. I set my tripod, turned on my camera, and sure enough the sky was green.

The time has come to head back home. After breakfast, our driver picked us up around 9am to head over to the Blue Lagoon prior to going to the airport. The weather was once again rainy. About 20 minutes into our 1.5 hour drive toward Reykjavík, the driver asked if we wanted to go the scenic route. He said it was along the coast and was an empty no man’s land. We agreed to it, so that we could see new sights. We traveled along the arctic sea and saw the mossy volcanic lava flows.

About halfway through, I asked if there was a bathroom we could stop at. The driver said it would be about 30 minutes or more to our destination. Five minutes later, he found a parking center with some buildings. He quickly pulled over but there were no restrooms here. He said I could go behind the building but advised there were cameras everywhere. The cameras are used to track people parking to ensure they paid for their stop. After I did my business, I quickly made my way back to the car in the windy, rainy weather. He jokingly said, we must hurry and go to the airport before the police ID me from the video.

We then arrived to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa with a hotel and restaurant. The water is bright blue which is caused by the chemical balance of the water.

After we checked out the lagoon, we headed to the airport. We checked into our flight and headed to the Saga Lounge. It was very empty when we arrived, but filled up over time. The food selection was small for the size of the lounge, but we both found it sufficient for us.

We boarded a few minutes late due to the flight crew being delayed. Once onboard we were ready to go, but there was an issue. A older man in his 80s was last to board and moving very slow. He could barely walk and seemed to be in pain. All of the flight crew looked concerned. The crew asked him many questions about his current health and mental state. He seemed a bit stand offish and confused. The crew had a meeting with the pilots who decided he was not fit to fly. After about 20 minutes of back and forth, he would not get off the plane. Various people to include IcelandAir representatives and doctors came on board to politely advise him to get off the plane. Then a police officer came on board to do the same. Eventually he was taken off the plane to the hospital for check up. The whole ordeal lasted about 45 minutes. We ended up making the time back during our journey arriving in Newark only about 15 minutes late. One nice thing on the trip back was the ability to see Greenland.