Out for a hike above the Guadalcacin Reservoir, Spain.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Arcos de la Frontera, Spain.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading towards Seville, Spain.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reykjavik Grand Excursion

We were going to spend most of the afternoon on a tour bus, so we figured we had better get some exercise this morning. You can't go to Iceland without experiencing their local thermal pools, and there are five such pools in Reykjavik alone.

So we took the local city bus from downtown to a residential suburb and a swimming pool called Vesturbaejarlaug. Say that three times quickly!

The Icelanders love their swimming pools. I don't blame them. Hot spring water is Iceland's primary natural resource, and all of the pools use naturally heated spring water. The swimming pools are kept at a temperature of 29C (84F). Perfect for swimming!

But the air temperature when we got in was about 4C (39F). Once you got in the water, you didn't want to get out!

Ruth, enjoying the warm swimming pool.

They also had four different hot pools of varying temperatures. We stayed in the coolest one and it was just right!

Here's us, swimming in Iceland. Outdoors. In October.

Then we took the city bus back to the hotel because Reykjavik Excursions were picking us up at 12:30pm to do their Reykjavik Grand Excursion tour. Their bus arrived right on time, and we got on. And then something very weird happened!

A guy on the bus says "Oh look, there's Ruth and Kevin". I looked at the guy and his wife and it took a second to clue in. I mean, here we are in Iceland and absolutely nobody knows us. Well, except this guy that Ruth worked with for 10 years!

How totally strange is that?? Here you are in Iceland and you get on a tour bus, and you bump into  somebody you worked with that you haven't seen for five years. Totally weird. Turns out this guy lives in New York City now and that they are here with their son for a long weekend away. And they bump into us. Still can't get over it!

Here's us with Syd, Shirley and their son David.

Getting on the Reykjavik Excursions bus. There were 15 of us on the tour so it was just a good sized group.

First stop was the huge Hallgrimskirkja Luthern Church. We had been there the other evening, but not inside. 

Notice the colour of the sky today? We have been very lucky with the weather.

We were surprised that the inside of this church is very plain and simple.

Except for the organ. There are 5,275 pipes in this organ!

We drove around a few neighbourhoods and then up to the "Pearl". This is actually six huge hot water storage tanks overlooking Reykjavik, and they have built a restaurant and lookout on top of the tanks. It's actually a pretty neat place and there are also quite a few short hiking trails in the land surrounding the Pearl.

The Pearl.

Ruth and the view of Reykjavik from the top of The Pearl.

Then we drove around some more with our guide Jon who was pointing out things along the way. Another stop we made was at the house that was used for the summit meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 which essentially signaled the end of the Cold War.

This was a decent tour, but we had already seen some of these things when we were out wandering around on our own. We think that for 4,900 koronas ($40.00) per person, this tour is more suitable for someone who doesn't have very much time in the city and wants to see as many of Reykjavik's sights as they can in a short amount of time.

Tomorrow, we're heading out on an all day tour. We'll be gone for twelve hours and we'll be seeing some of Iceland's fantastic natural scenery with Reykjavik Excursions on their Wonders of Snaefellsnes tour.


  1. How does the economic climate feel? It looks like things are OK there.

    1. Hi CAE, I'll be doing a separate post about this some time in the future.

  2. You've peaked my interest in Iceland. I spent last evening googling "What is it like to live in Iceland." Even found a few blogs written by people who live there.

    I'm interested too in what CAE posted. It's always fun to see how the other half lives as they say. Enjoy your day!

    1. We definitely think it is a place that everyone should included on their travel list. It has pretty some spectacular scenery.

  3. Very interesting side trip you are having in Iceland and to meet people you actually know!! How cool is that?

    1. Who would think that you would meet someone in Iceland, what are the chances?! Still shaking our heads and trying to believe that it happened.

  4. Enjoying reading about your Iceland trip ... I'm taking notes ... will have to check out the CenterHotels as an option for our Sep 2013 trip.

    1. You are really going to love your trip here. It is an amazing place to see. We would not hesitate to recommend the CenterHotels. They are all downtown and close walking distance to so much.

  5. Okay, well the heated pools look pretty inviting alright (especially as I sit in a house that is only 15 degrees - decided to save money and be cheap with the electricity only it's freezing in here, got the wood heater rumbling now though).
    So interesting, I think I'd thoroughly enjoy a visit to Iceland sometime. Everything seems so sleek and streamlined, a very modern version of everything, I guess that's the Scandinavian way.


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