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Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l
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Airlines that fly to Iceland direct from NY:
1. Iceland Air
2. Delta
3. Wow Air
4. United (May 23 - Oct 4)

Hotels in the Reykjavik Area:
1. 101 Hotel (supposedly one of the best spas in Iceland)
2. Ion (set on a lava field and one of Iceland's newest luxury hotels)
3. Hotel Ranga
4. Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel (provides exclusive access to a private lagoon for hotel guests only)
5. Radisson BLU 1919 (Can use Club carlson points and in the middle of town) Will warm and store food for a nominal fee.

Camper/RV Rentals:
There are several places where you can rent a camper truck or motorhome, including here:  http://www.campericeland.is/

Campgrounds:
The campgrounds in Iceland are large and never feel crowded.  Many offer excellent facilities and amenities.  You can drive in at any time of the day or night and pay the nominal fee whenever the office opens.

Kosher Food:
Kosher food is pretty much non existent in Iceland.  Even many American brands do not have a hechsher.  Some foods that have been found with a hechsher are Cheerios Cereal, Nature Valley Granola Bars, and Powerade.  That being said, several DDF members have been able to bring in kosher food/meat without being checked or stopped.  Just walk through the "nothing to declare" line.

Language
Most of the populace speaks English and children are taught English starting in the sixth grade.  It is rare but you might find some older folks that do not speak English.

Communications:
The Iceland Air Saga shop sells starter Síminn branded sim cards for a nominal amount.  If you order in advance, they will even deliver the sim cards to you on your Icelandair flight (one of the cheapest options to get a starter sim card).  You can also find stores in the airport that sell sim cards.  Vodafone is the other major carrier in Iceland and also sells sim cards.  You can purchase the Saga Shop sim starter here:

http://www.sagashop.net/men/detail/?id=57860-0009

GPS - Navigation
Garmin Nordic Maps includes Iceland and can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BS4Q3I?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Voltage
Iceland uses 220v.  Most cell phones, cameras and laptops come with a multi switching power supply (verify by looking at power supply) so you will only need to buy a cheap adapter such as this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058EG0KC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01

Currency/Credit Cards
Credit cards are almost universally accepted in Iceland.  As a result, you may find no need to exchange currency for the Icelandic Kroner (ISK).  If you use a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, you should be set.  If you do decide to exchange currency, there are ATM machines in the airport right outside customs.

Activities:
1.  The Golden Circle Tour is very popular and takes you to Geysir (lame compared to Yellowstone), Gulfoss Waterfalls, and Thingvellir (where the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region.  You can dive in a lake and touch both plates). 

2.  Inside the volcano tour to Thrihnukagigur Volcano.  In this tour, you either hike ( a few kilometers) or take a helicopter charter from the Reykjavik airport to the volcano.  Once there, you are lowered by a construction type lift into the magma chamber.  The least expensive way to get a semi private tour of the magma chamber is with the helicopter, which takes you there in between the regularly scheduled tours.

3.  There are various Super Jeep Tours (vans and SUV's with tractor tires), including a tour to Langjokull Glacier, where you drive onto the glacier.  Private tours can be arranged.

4. Jokulsarlon - a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park.  Here, you can take a duck boat tour or a zodiac boat tour of the lake where you will see icebergs, seals, and various birds.  Across the road from Jokulsarlon is a black sand beach where you can see icebergs on the beach.

5. The Blue Lagoon - the public lagoon gets very crowded and if you go it is recommended to get there when they open.  If you can manage a stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel (currently 15 rooms but they are expanding to 30 rooms) you will get exclusive access to the private lagoon for hotel guests only.  Since there are only 15 rooms at present, the private lagoon rarely has more than a handful of people in it at any time. Most people do not make a full day out of the Blue Lagoon and instead go on your arrival into Iceland or upon departure before the airport. All the Bus lines have stops to and from the airport. 3-4 hours is ample time.

6. Waterfalls abound including Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

7. Dog sledding in Skallafell.

8. Icelandic Horses - Horse back riding is extremely popular in Iceland. Most residents actually own a horse. Iceland is the only place in the world where you will find the Icelandic horse. It has 5 Gaits oppose to the 3 that most other horses have. They are gentle animals and very comfortable to ride.

Author Topic: Iceland Master Thread  (Read 38811 times)

Online Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #630 on: December 04, 2017, 11:34:42 PM »
Actually really excited about this idea. I think combines enough of both options. Who needs sleep anyways

Well that's Iceland ;D:

We just woke up, crashed after being up 39 hours straight.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline ponash123

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #631 on: December 04, 2017, 11:39:24 PM »
Precisely

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #632 on: December 05, 2017, 09:08:40 PM »
Ok, my turns for 2 cents.

I don't think you're doing nearly enough on Friday, and you can do more on Monday as the 2 falls take 30-60 minutes max. In option 1, I think you're doing way too much on Sunday. Bear in mind that all these tours have set times, usually run for a few hours and aren't always right next to each other, which means it's really hard to do 2 in 1 day, let alone 3. In option 2, if there really are no boat rides in Jokulsarlon or Fjallsarlon, then I'm not sure it's worth schlepping all that far just to spend a few minutes gawking at the icebergs. The boat ride adds a nice activity to the area and makes the trip worth it. I also don't see the benefit of being in REK for Shabbos, not like there's anything Jewish there, but I guess you could stroll around town? Anyway, here's my suggestion for another idea to consider...

Friday:
KEF to Silfra, looks like 10:30 is the earliest snorkel time, so you can technically visit Geyser/Gulfoss on the way, but more interestingly might be to see the Bridge Between Continents near KEF (which is actually near Gunnuvher). Then go to Secret Lagoon for half the price of Blue Lagoon - convince your peeps that they're crazy especially since you'll take them here. Airbnb... somewhere.

Motzai Shabbos:
Northern Lights (if you don't see them, you'll want to keep trying each night)

Sunday: Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui to start the day. Then another reason why it's okay to skip Blue Lagoon - hike to Seljavallalaug hot pool. Then find some activity/tour on Langjokull Glacier - ice walk/climb, snowmobiling or dogsledding.

Monday: Reynifsjara Black Sand Beach, maybe find some ice cave? head back to KEF. (If timing doesn't work, you can do Reynifsjara Sunday afternoon and save Langjokull to start Monday morning.)

Offline ponash123

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #633 on: December 05, 2017, 10:34:53 PM »
Ok, my turns for 2 cents.

I don't think you're doing nearly enough on Friday, and you can do more on Monday as the 2 falls take 30-60 minutes max. In option 1, I think you're doing way too much on Sunday. Bear in mind that all these tours have set times, usually run for a few hours and aren't always right next to each other, which means it's really hard to do 2 in 1 day, let alone 3. In option 2, if there really are no boat rides in Jokulsarlon or Fjallsarlon, then I'm not sure it's worth schlepping all that far just to spend a few minutes gawking at the icebergs. The boat ride adds a nice activity to the area and makes the trip worth it. I also don't see the benefit of being in REK for Shabbos, not like there's anything Jewish there, but I guess you could stroll around town? Anyway, here's my suggestion for another idea to consider...

Friday:
KEF to Silfra, looks like 10:30 is the earliest snorkel time, so you can technically visit Geyser/Gulfoss on the way, but more interestingly might be to see the Bridge Between Continents near KEF (which is actually near Gunnuvher). Then go to Secret Lagoon for half the price of Blue Lagoon - convince your peeps that they're crazy especially since you'll take them here. Airbnb... somewhere.

Motzai Shabbos:
Northern Lights (if you don't see them, you'll want to keep trying each night)

Sunday: Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui to start the day. Then another reason why it's okay to skip Blue Lagoon - hike to Seljavallalaug hot pool. Then find some activity/tour on Langjokull Glacier - ice walk/climb, snowmobiling or dogsledding.

Monday: Reynifsjara Black Sand Beach, maybe find some ice cave? head back to KEF. (If timing doesn't work, you can do Reynifsjara Sunday afternoon and save Langjokull to start Monday morning.)

Thanks for your input.

Just mapped this out and I don't think it works. Friday we don't have enough time to do snorkeling and Secret Lagoon.
Sunday would be going in complete opposite directions. Down south to Seljalandsfoss and then back up north to Langjokull and than back west to Reykjavik for the night.
Then on Monday back down southeast to Reynifsjara.

I know Sunday will be busy, but I'm working with the tour operators to make sure timing works. I think it's the best bet.
There are no Zodiac Boat Tours in the winter, and the only ice caves are much further east in Jokulsarlon or Vatnajokull.

I don't specifically want to be in Rekjavik for Shabbos. But in Option 2 it would mean finding an Airbnb out in the middle of nowhere which doesn't excite me, firstly because of the roads in the winter, and secondly, for safety reasons.

We have basically settled on Option 3, which is Option 1, but Monday will go down to Reynifsjara for sunrise and then continue west towards KEF with stops in Seljalandsfoss etc on the way.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 10:54:26 PM by ponash123 »

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #634 on: December 06, 2017, 08:49:24 AM »
I see you're pretty settled on your itin, but to answer some points you made...

1) Your reason to stay in a big city makes sense, so then I agree my Friday itin won't work. But, for one who stayed at a random area near the eastern side of the Golden Circle, it could work.
2) My tour on Langjokull was actually scheduled to meet on the southern ring road, not near where Gmaps has Langjokull, so it actually was very close to Seljalandsfoss. Be sure to check where you meeting points are. And I never recommended going back to REK that night. Your Shabbos Airbnb should not be where you stay on Sat night (unless you find Northern Lights so close to REK) nor on Sunday - would be silly to go all the way back to REK each night. Find a cheap hotel if no Airbnbs. And don't be scared of roads to the Airbnb in the winter, you'll be driving on them anyway to get to these activities... easier to drive a few more minutes on them to an Airbnb than a few hours getting back to REK.
3) Do try to get Seljavallalaug into your itin. If it was that amazing in the summer, I can only imagine what it would be like sitting in a natural hot tub among snow-covered mountains.

Offline ponash123

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #635 on: December 06, 2017, 10:34:18 AM »
Well I only went back and forth 20 times, so I think need to stop now or it will never end!
The end of my snorkeling will probably be getting dark out, which is not perfect, but doesn't bother me too much.
1. Yes. Ideally, I would pitch a tent or stay anywhere I can find :) Gotta do what I gotta do.
2. It seems that everything works very differently in the winter. The meeting point for snowmobiling is not at all near the south. It's northeast from Reykjavik in Húsafell, which is north to the glacier, as opposed to the south which is the summer meeting point. So it wouldn't work.
    Technically, it doesn't make sense to drive back and forth. But in our case, we're a large (some slow-moving) crowd and I don't think it's worth the hassle of switching locations.
3. Would love to, if we have time on Monday. It looks like it's on the route I plan to take.

Thank you!