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Greenland Trip report

Bit of blogging from Reykjavik

Three flights later, here we are in Reykjavik! Actually we’ve been here for a couple of days, now, but the first was quite a blur of sleep-deprived crazyness and movement, followed by catatonic slumber. There were some ups and downs on the flights. On the long, 15-hour first leg to Doha, we found that I had careflly chosen seats just ahead of the toilet facilities, so slumber was fraught not just for the usual cramped and uncomfortable seats and ceasless roar, but by the sound of flushing behind the bulkhead every few minutes. Note-to-self: more space between seats and bathroom next time. We had about an hour and a half interchange in Doha, much of which was taken up trying to help a lovely grandma from Lagos, Nigeria, who we had helped board our flight in Sydney. She clearly wasn’t an experienced traveler, and didn’t know how airports worked, and Hamid International is a large one. We helped her to find a notice board near a food hall where she could rest, we hoped: her flight was seven hours away, not on the board yet, and not even on the airport flight status web page, because there didn’t seem to be any way to check flights on other days, even if the next one was only an hour away. We had to leave her there, bewildered, as our flight was about to board. Hope someone else helped her onto her connecting flight. When we reached the gate for our flight to Copenhagen, a shuttle trip down the length of the building, there was a passport/boarding pass check, and when we got to the front of the line the nice man tore our boarding passes up, saying that we had been upgraded to business class. That was very nice! Not such a long flight, but lie-flat seats and attentive cabin service is lovely. Glass of bubbles, dinner and sleep. Yay! Just as well we got some rest though, because we didn’t have boarding passes for Iceland: they had not been able to print them in Sydney, even though our bags were checked through. Not only did we not have boarding passes, we only had three quarters of an hour to get through European customs, schlep our carry-on camera bags to the other end of the airport before boarding closed. We made it, and issuing boarding passes at the gate counter turned out to be no bother. The flight wasn’t full.

We arrived at Keflavik airport and then had to negotiate the FlyBus service that we had booked from the air (on-board WiFi) having forgotten to do it before leaving. We were almost the last two onto a very full coach, but that meant little time standing at the airport. In exchange we had oodles of time standing at the out-of-town bus stop where we had to change to the “blue ticket” drop-off shuttle bus. The taxi rank on the other side of the road did a brisk trade from the punters who gave up waiting…

The Exeter is a nice funky “youth” hotel. Punk rock with breakfast smorgasbord. Lunch after check-in was at a great ramen shop next door (Momo Ramen) that turns out to be run by a Kiwi expat. I don’t remember much after that before the dinner reservation: conked.

A posh tasting-menu dinner reservation at GrilliĆ° might not have been a great idea for the first night, but it turns out that it was. Really, really nice food. Good wine pairings: a lot of Spanish whites that I wasn’t familiar with, but which worked very well. Nice comfortable pace and friendly waiters. A booking accident that worked out for the best.

Rested after a proper sleep, we probably overdid it a bit yesterday. We had a big breakfast at the hotel and set out on a nice walk to a gastro-pub for fish-and-chips for lunch, then up to the cathedral, where we were amused by a pair of dressed-up young women doing photo-shoots of each other. Very serious posing. Insta-worthy, to be sure. Wandered down the hill for a pit-stop at the Brew Dog pub, out to the waterfront and along to the opera house “Harpa”, and then back to the hotel for a bit of a kip before dinner. Dinner was at a place close to the hotel famous for their signature dish of whole cod’s head, braised with chicken stock and blueberries. I had it of course. Delicious, but way more than I needed to eat by that stage. Cath had the lamb, which she said was also lovely. We have resolved to keep it down to two meals a day, now…

So after all of that eating and walking there wasn’t any energy for sorting photos or blogging. Luckily I did have enough clue to put the camera batteries on to charge and back up the photos. So we’re set to go again. Plan for now is to walk along the waterfront again, in the other direction, towards an old farm-house that we could see yesterday. I believe that it could be the one the prime minister lives in: looks a bit like it from this distance, and there is supposed to be a sculpture walk along the way.

In photography-related news: I managed to get my camera to talk to the Fuji camera app on my phone, and it happily supplied GPS coordinates, which seem to have been stored with the images. So geotagging won’t be a laborious post-trip editing step. Doesn’t seem to have put too much strain on the phone battery, but I think that the camera battery probably suffered a bit. Carrying a spare. [Edit: the geotagging turned out to be a bit flakey, with the connection breaking every so often, so for Greenland I ended up falling back on the previous method of creating a time-stamped chain of GPS locations by the simple expedient of remembering to take a couple of photos with my phone whenever going on deck.]

I’ll add more photos as I remember how that’s done…

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