On the Road in Iceland, Part 1

Our European vacation began in Baltimore. After flying from Atlanta to BWI (where I got to try DuClaw Brewing’s fantastic Sweet Baby Jesus! chocolate peanut butter porter), we flew to Iceland on WOW Air’s inaugural Baltimore-to-Reykjavík flight.

On the plane

WOW is definitely a discount airline. Your ticket buys you a small, uncomfortable seat (which made it impossible to sleep) and absolutely nothing else. But it’s a cheap way to get to Europe.

We left Baltimore around 8 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 8. We landed at Kevflavík International Airport at 5:30 a.m. GMT on Saturday, May 9 and had the pleasure of deplaning via stair truck onto the tarmac in near-freezing temperatures.

After picking up our Toyota Yaris from Hertz (they didn’t have any English brochures, so they gave us one in Spanish), we began our road trip to Suðurland, the Southern Region of Iceland.

Toyota Yaris with Jökulsárlón in the background.

Our first stop was Reykjavík, the capital, for breakfast. Much to our dismay, we discovered that almost nothing in Reykjavík is open before 10:00 a.m., and it wasn’t even 8:00. Google and HERE (a great offline maps app) led us to Grái Kötturinn (the Gray Kitten).

It’s supposedly one of Björk’s favorite spots in Reykjavík, but it’s most charming aspects were 1) it opens early by Reykjavík standards and 2) it serves a huge breakfast called “The Truck”: eggs, bacon, pancakes, potatoes, tomatoes and the thickest slice of toast I’ve ever eaten. (When he took our order, the sole employee just drew a picture of a truck and wrote “x2” on his notepad.)

Still exhausted but at least no longer hungry, we hit Route 1 (Hringvegur or the Ring Road) toward Vík. Other than a few gas stations (just about the only form of civilization in the more rural parts of Iceland, which is most of Iceland) our only stop was Seljalandsfoss. Cold, wind and exhaustion cut short our visit there, but we did get a few pictures.

People walking on the ice-covered rocks behind the falls.

After that it was on to Vík, the village where we stayed for the next couple of nights and the subject of the next post.