Saturday 11th April 2015 - Married for 1229 days


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Icelandic Currency?

Icelandic Krona (ISK) is the currency of Iceland. It is typically around 190 ISK to £1 with 12 monthly highs and lows of 198 and 186 respectively. In practice you can expect to get an exchange rate between 165 and 185 in the high street.

Coins are available in 1 króna, 5, 10, 50 and 100 krónur. Notes are 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 ISK. Think of 5,000 ISK as around £25.

100 aurar make 1 ISK but since 2003, Icelandic banks no longer accept any coins denominated in aurar.

What to wear?

Early this November it was between 4°C and 11°C during the day and even when it was overcast, it quickly changed to blue skies and sunny and vice versa! April, in theory, should be more clement. Anyway, as Icelanders say; "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change!"  

Though we are hoping for the best with the weather, realistically you should look to bring appropriate walking shoes or boots. Be prepared for changeable conditions, bring layers and waterproof jackets, hopefully you won't need them though! We will be keeping an eye on the weather nearer the time and will advise.

Where can I buy food and drink?

There is a Kronan super market within five minutes of Downtown Reykjavik Apartments, it is fine for milk and bread but a Bonus supermarket is another 5/10 minute walk and is closer to Lidl prices than Waitrose. Due to livestock and produce available in the country itself, some items seem ludicrously expensive to Brits others, mainly fish are cheap. For example in November Steph and Mitchell saw a tube of processed caviar for £3  and a share bag of Doritos was £1 but slices of processed cheese were £8.

Alcoholic drinks can only be purchased from the Vin Bud off-licence in the centre of town. The best option is likely to be buying duty AND tax free at the airport on arrival at the shops next to the the reclaim baggage carousels. You can't miss it!

Where is there to eat and what does it cost?

Restaurants in Reykjavik, like any capital city, do range from ultra expensive down to more affordable cuisine Steph and her dad visited Svarta Kaffi near the apartments in November and they ordered the thick home-made soup (one meat and one veg option daily) – it’s served piping hot in fantastic bread bowls. ISK 1550 (£8)

Other breakfast / brunch options include Cafe Paris for a more American style breakfast; smoothie, pancakes, fried potatoes, fried eggs etc. and Bergsson Mathus for a more Icelandic slant, boiled egg, crispy bacon, juice, yoghurt, ham, cheese, breads, pineapple, orange, melon, tomato, salad including free coffee refills. Both around £10/12 per head for plenty of food. 

If you‘re looking for an ideal place to sample traditional Icelandic cuisine in a tasty and affordable way, look no further than Cafe Loki. It is a warm and hospitable restaurant, located across the street from famous Hallgrimskirkja it serves up very traditional dishes, from light snacks such as eggs and herring on home-made rye bread to Icelandic platters of sheep’s-head jelly and shark meat.

In terms of dinner, we highly recommend Icelandic Fish and Chips ,which we have been to on both our trips to the country. Last time out we had a meal for three with fish (so fresh it was in the sea that morning), chips, sides, delicious dips and alcoholic drinks each for under £20 a head.

Other recommendations include;

Noodle Station - with Noodle Soups c.£6,

Bakari Sandholt - Reykjavík’s favourite bakery is usually crammed with folks hoovering up the generous assortment of fresh baguettes, croissants, pastries and sandwiches. 

Baejannis Beztu - The Icelanders love hot dogs and at this harbour stall you can have 'one with everything' for about £2

Roadhaus - American style diner, mains £8 to £24. Very near our apartments.

Where is there to drink and what does it cost?

Icelanders really enjoy a coffee or four and Kaffismidja Islands serves the very best in the country by all accounts all for under £3.

Typically beer and wine in a meal will make up half, or more, of the bill so if you like a drink you are better served having only one with your meal and drinking in the apartment beforehand.

Never fear though, as Icelanders go out at the weekend and not until later there is plenty of scope for us to make the most of their happy hour deals which fall between 1800 and 2000 roughly.

Instead of paying the equivalent of up to £5.10 for a half litre of lager we were able to drink for £2.20 to £2.60 per beer at places such as the friendly, loud and warm atmosphere of Dillon's Whiskey Bar, the cool and trendy, Damon Albarn owned Kaffibarinn and Bjarni Fel Sportsbar with it's husband day care area and it's 30 TVs showing sport from all over Europe. 

Beers are typically Viking, Einstock or Thule in bars, all quite crisp and refreshing. Pale ales and wheat beers also do a good trade.

What are we planning for stag and hen dos in Iceland?

The mini hen-do, the real one is in in Edinburgh, looks like being a pamper session at the spa at Laugar on Thursday pm. followed by dinner and drinks in the apartments. The stags will be off on a brewery tour in the late afternoon, a curry in the world's most northerly Indian restaurant, followed by drinks in the city centre.

What activities are planned in Reykjavik?

Obviously we don't want to be prescriptive to our guests about what they do in Iceland but as we are likely to be a large group it would make sense to co-ordinate activities with like-minded people.

As most people are arriving on Thursday and we are travelling down to Hella on Friday, they are unlikely to have a full 24 hours in the capital on arrival. For those of us that are there on Tuesday, we suggest that this would be a good day to take in the Golden Circle tour of Gullfoss, Geysir and Þingvellir. Afternoon tours are 6 hours, leaving just after noon and cost c.£43

On Wednesday morning, Whale Watching departing from Reykjavik harbour is another suggestion we would like to make, it departs at 9am for around 3 hours and again priced at about £43. On land, The lake, Tjörnin, has many ducks and sea birds. The zoo although light on lions, alligators, giraffes, hippos and so on is home to horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, foxes, minks, reindeer and seals.

Other sights in the city include; The Pearl (Perlan) with it's winter garden, revolving restaurant and viewing deck. The stunning concert hall, Harpa, at the harbour and Hallgrímskirkja, the church that can be seen from our apartments.

Anyone keen to dive into some Icelandic history would be advised to visit Reykjavík 871±2, the settlement exibition or Saga Museum for tales from the country's first few centuries.

What is the plan for South Iceland?

We are aiming to arrive in Hella just after lunchtime on Friday. If we have the numbers  and can find a suitable and reasonable tour operator, we are hoping to do a few hours of exploring of the near-by Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

What is Hotel Ranga like?

Hotel Ranga is in a remote location in Southern Iceland, despite this it is a few hundred yards from the main ring road. It is in a rustic setting with a salmon river running alongside. It's location makes it ideal for viewing the Northern Lights, so fingers crossed! Don't worry about sleeping in and missing them, there's an alarm call (though not from Björk) if they are active.

Happy hour at their bar is 1630 - 1830 with selected beer and wine half price. The well-stocked bar also has plenty of whiskies and wines. Enjoy the crisps and nuts on the house!

Breakfast is included with the room and is buffet style. There's a full range of cereals, fruits, breads, cheeses and cold meats as well as full English breakfast options and even a waffle maker. For dinner, there is the fine dinning experience of the restaurant or the more reasonably priced bar food choices.

There are three outdoor hot-tubs mere steps from the rooms on the south side of the hotel which are open until late. A must do experience, hot enough to combat even the chilliest wind and ideal with a (plastic) glass of something fizzy.

Reception have over 40 DVDs for free hire to watch in the comfort of your room, there is also free wi-fi. The bathrooms have large bathtubs in all rooms, the deluxe rooms have the same with jacuzzi jets. 

There is also a games room, with a pool table, board games and a large TV.

What can we expect at Skógafoss for the ceremony?

A jaw-dropping, cascading waterfall, a gorgeous bride and a dashing groom.

Car park, ceremony on grass, standing, some chairs for those less inclined to stand, facilities (toilets, refreshments), footwear, We suggest that between pictures you have to hand appropriate clothing for the conditions.

What's happening on Sunday?

With most people flying back on Monday and the bar open until early on Sunday morning it'll be a great opportunity to head out to Blue Lagoon for a relax in the warm geothermal waters and soothe those sore heads. Price is £26 for the basic package. The next package up is £46 and that includes an alcoholic drink, use of a towel and bathrobe and a skin care pack. The resort is around 50 mins travel from Reykjavik. Again, we will look to reserve transport if there is enough interest.

Is this the end of all these questions now?