"ICELAND: Land of Sagas" Iceland by starship

Iceland Travel Guide: 5,676 reviews and 17,043 photos

Reykjavik - "Smoke Bay"

Over twenty years ago (1983), I was on my way to Europe for the very first time with my husband. The best deal going was on Iceland Air, and we got a free stopover in Iceland as part of the bargain. It was a long night on a stretch DC-9 and we felt like crumpled laundry when we arrived in Keflavik (the main airport) in the wee, dark hours of the morning.
Riding a bus into Reykjavik seemed like a very long and dark journey, and it was a long time before we saw the first glimmers of daylight. The Icelandic landscape would still be a mystery to us for several hours. Still we were sure that we had made a wise decision by deciding to take advantage of the free stopover! I don't know why but it felt like we were supposed to be there.

I'm sure things must have changed alot in 20 + years and other people who've been there more recently can give a more timely view of the country. But when we went in 1983, I'd never met anyone else who'd been to Iceland before and we felt privileged to be able to visit this unique country! So I hope that you can enjoy this page on its historical merits!

Not All Ice and Snow

While it was a little overcast, what we saw of Reykjavik and Iceland was certainly not what it's name might imply! Even though it was very early spring, there was still a certain vibrancy about the place. I was really impressed with the colorful buildings and the sturdy-looking architecture around town. It was quite a different sight for me since this was my first time traveling out of North America. Those jewel-tone color painted buildings would most certainly lift my spirits during the short time daylight hours during the Winter months. The almost 24-hour darkness during winter would be something I don't think I could never get use to.

Taking a dip in those natural thermal springs near town would definitely be something I'd like to try. It was amazing to see people enjoying swimming in the naturally heated water while the outside air temperature was very chilly! This was something I'd only heard about before coming to Iceland. Although the thermal springs must be great, the friendliness and warm welcome given to visitors was what most certainly warmed my heart!!

Iceland has many amazing natural features which I wish we could have had time to explore and I hope to return there some day, hopefully during the summer months!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Friendly people, an interesting culture and landscape.
  • Cons:Nearly 24 hrs. of darkness in Winter!
  • In a nutshell:Great place to visit.
  • Last visit to Iceland: Mar 1983
  • Intro Updated May 20, 2008
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Reviews (5)

Comments (25)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Even if you didn't see much of Iceland the stop-over was a great opportunity to at least get a glimps of it. I would very much like to visit Iceland one day.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    The tour of Reykjavik was a great idea. Probably saw more than you would have on your own.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Love the idea of free thermal heated places to swim at! Nice little page

  • csordila's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    I passed Iceland many times by, but never landed. Once I will do it, sure. Thanks for visiting my Cairo. Best. L.

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Apr 13, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    Hi Sylvia, hope you had a good Easter too. I have pictures of here, just need the time to scan them! All the best.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2009 at 8:09 AM

    Iceland certainly is wise in using thermal heat to warm their snug homes....and a swim in the middle of winter sounds intriguing!

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2008 at 7:48 AM

    You'll have to go back one day and see how things are now. It sounds like the perfect little layover. leyle

  • Jun 16, 2008 at 5:22 AM

    Great information!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    What a refreshing thought to swim in the pools fed by hot springs :) Your hotel seems ideal!!

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2008 at 11:41 AM

    Thinking back to what Reykjavík looked like back in 1983 it is like another city. Now we have malls, a City Hall, a new airport, the army has gone, the city has expanded and there were hardly any foreigners here back then, now Iceland is multi-cultural.

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