On Friday evening Emma’s folks graciously took us to the airport, where we met up with Kate, Dan, and David, and caught a red-eye flight on IcelandAir to Keflavik airport in Iceland. The plane was recently upgraded with seat-back entertainment screens, like Jet Blue, and the flight was only four and a half hours, so even though the person in front of me insisted on leaning their seat back into my chest, the flight was good.

We arrived at around 6 AM local time, quite jet-lagged. We caught a shuttle bus to our hotel, and were luckily able to check in very early. After a few hour nap, we caught another shuttle bus to the Blue Lagoon spa. The Blue Lagoon is a geo-thermically heated giant outdoor lagoon, rich in various minerals, that you can float around in for hours. It was amazing. We could have spent days in there I think. The nap combined with the hot soak helped immensely with the jet-lag and post-plane soreness. We headed back to the city around 6 or 7 PM, grabbed dinner at a Thai place we found, and went to bed.

On Sunday, everyone except Emma and I went on a South Coast Tour. They brought back amazing pictures, but the early departure time and long time on the bus made me glad I slept in, and spent the day walking around Reykjavik, window shopping (although most shops were closed on Sunday), scoping out the restaurants and coffee shops, and taking lots of pictures of the amazing views from the city. I’ll upload the pictures once I get home, but the internet connection here is far too slow for that. We all ate dinner together at a European Italian chain restaurant, that was quite good. Emma hosted an Icelandic candy bar taste testing, where we struggled to identify the flavors of, and rate according to taste, a collection of odd Icelandic sweets. It was lots of fun and no one went into a diabetic shock.

On Monday we all rose early and took a two and a half hour tour of the greater Reykjavik area by bus with a tour guide, and several stops including some famous churches, the president’s house, the Pearl, and a haunted house where the first “let’s end the cold war” US-USSR meeting took place. It was cool see all the different areas and signifiant building, and hear about the history and culture of Iceland and Reykjavik from our tour guide. Lots of photos from this, but again, they’ll have to wait until I have a real internet connection again. We opted to be dropped off downtown, and got lunch at a little restaurant nearby. We all walked around a bit, and headed back to the hotel.

We took a cab to a nearby gym/spa called Laugar. They had geo-thermically heated outdoor hot tubs and swimming pools, and also inside the spa area an amazing underground setup. They had six or seven steam rooms and saunas, all with varying temperatures, lighting, and aroma-therapy. There was also a large sunken rock hot tub area with mineral enriched water similar to the Blue Lagoon. When you were thirsty, there was a nice bar/restaurant with free flavored ice water, and a tempting menu. There was also a relaxation room with low light, soft music, and a number of extremely comfortable recliners encircling an open fire in the middle of the room. I almost dozed off, and Emma actually fell asleep twice. It was very different from the Blue Lagoon, but was equally enjoyable, and equally different from anything I’ve seen in America.

For dinner we went to the well known Seafood Cellar, which while expensive, served some of the most amazing tasting and beautifully presented food I’ve ever had. I think we were all blown away by the food. I had a shellfish soup, and a lobster entrée. The local lobster, or langoustine, is the size of a very large shrimp, but with the soft succulent meat of a tender lobster tail. It is a delicious shellfish, and my entrée included at least 15 of them. After dinner we went for a drink at the famous Ice Bar, which was amazingly cold. I was expecting sub-freezing temperatures, but they must have had the room closer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit to lessen the sublimation of the ice. It was a fun novelty, but not a place you’d want to spend much time in.

Afterward I headed to bed early, as did David, while the rest went out to a couple of bars. It’s funny how there is two very different ways of describing the same thing:

Emma: “Kate was very responsible and made sure we were all home by 1:30”
Devon: “You mean: ‘we closed out the bar at 1, and had no where else to go'”

A good time was had by all.

Today, Tuesday, Emma and I ate brunch at a place we found that has amazing brunch platters and very good pancakes. We did some window shopping, and then Emma went to take a nap. I’m sitting in a coffee shop, using their WiFi, and having a chai.