Thursday 31 October 2013--Has it really been twelve years since I last set foot in Iceland? Much too long. Airlines drew me away,
and airlines are driving me back. The connection in Amsterdam on KLM has been convenient and reasonably inexpensive these past ten years,
but prices are on the rise now (to say nothing of baggage fees and other off-putting policies). Icelandair looked more attractive this year.
I decided on a six-night layover on the return leg, avoiding the early-morning jaunt to the airport on an eastbound stopover. Win has
decided to join me, and we've plotted a trip to the far-flung West Fjords.
Departure from Glasgow is midafternoon, so there is time to run downtown to the Good Spirits Company to pick up a bottle of whisky. I'm at the airport early enough to deal with a luggage snafu, and still have time for lunch at the Sanderling, a Wetherspoon's pub in the terminal. I savor a last pint of Deuchar's, too. My recollection of the beer scene in Iceland is that it's Scandinavian-style lager or, if you're lucky, Guinness stout.
Win meets me at the terminal in Keflavik. He arrived early this morning, picked up a rental car, and went for a drive around the area, waiting for me to arrive. He reserved a four-wheel-drive car from a local budget agency, and quickly found out why it was so much cheaper than the standard rental companies--the car is an old beater. He has no confidence in it, so returns it and gets another from a major outfit, at about twice the price. It's probably a wise move.
Win is fried--if I were in his position, I'd probably have spent most of the day sleeping in the car--so I drive us into Reykjavik. We take the time to discuss our itinerary. It's been plain for a couple of days that the weather wasn't going to cooperate. There's been snow in the West Fjords, with some road closures. It's remote country, and part of our route is an unpaved road that closes altogether in winter. Reluctantly, we cancel our lodgings up north and do a rethink. We knew, of course, that this would be a possibility at such a late date.
We check into our hotel and go for a look around town. A pleasant surprise: the craft brewing boom has made it to Iceland, and MicroBar provides us with a decent selection, mainly from the Gæðingur brewery. I quite like the pale ale.