I was going to try a different style of blogging where I focused on the main highlights of the trip, but I found everytime I tried to write entries for it I was mentally blocked. So let's try it the old way but with a different organizational system. Feel free to comment if you have preferences, readers.
Unofficial day 1 saw us landing in Iceland with half an hour to spare to midnight. All of us from London flew from Heathrow on the same flight, with American J coming in several days before to go on a photography tour.
Let's just say a group this big moves slowly. Thus was once again proved in getting off the plane, waiting for people's checked luggage to come in, then picking up the rental car. We'd gotten a 7-seating Mitsubishi Pajero (otherwise renamed "Partyero"). It served our purposes very well, though it was incredibly expensive because we insured it like crazy. Never can tell in close-to-freezing weather like this...the roads were icy and the wind extremely fierce. I am happy with our decision.
We then checked into the apartment that American J had checked in for us (and booked). A gorgeous 3 bedroom apartment right off of the main shopping drag in Reykjavik. It was the most awesome apartment I've stayed in...possibly ever:
Our stuff is strewn everywhere by the time I got around to taking pictures, but it was beautifully furnished with everything you would need: couch, fridge, dining table, fully equipped bathroom...even came with glasses, cutlery, cooking pots and pans, knives, dishware. A really functional apartment.
And it fit our group perfectly, as we'd planned ahead and bought duty-free booze in anticipation of Iceland's expensive food prices (just like the rest of Scandinavia).
We divided easily into friendly pairs - Two and Olive together, Actor and NonSequitor (who are roommates in real life), and American J and I.
There was more than enough space for everyone to feel comfortable and separate from the rest. We spent the most time here of all our accommodations, and I was glad it was so awesome.
It also gave us the perfect venue for our late night games playing, which ramped up the next night. NonSequitor and I had both brought normal playing cards, but the clear winner in group games play was Cards Against Humanity.
Actor had brought his own set, printed from the free PDF online and then handcut. They were a bit shoddy on quality (as far as the cards being the same size and whatnot), but they were perfect for our travels.
We also took full advantage of the complete kitchen, which included making breakfasts two mornings in a row - first it was scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, and toast...the second day was the remaining sausages, hashbrowns, and toast. We also made sandwiches with ham and cheese for some of our longer driving days.
The kitchen was also fully stocked - two types of tea, coffee and filters for the coffee machine, dish washer, cold cereal, plus all the milk and orange juice you could drink (we drank it all...).
I'd have to say all around this was one of the best places we could have rented for our group. Multifunctional and also aesthetically beautiful at the same time.
Even the kitchen appliances were hilarious. Yellow! Like a hilarious bird that electric kettle!
There was even a familiar site - my own nightstand transported to my Reykjavik bedside. Hilarious. Clearly the place was furnished by Ikea. But it did a great job.
They also provided us with little hotel-sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. Man oh man did our group pillage this supply. We were warned to take conditioner for the Blue Lagoon (later part of our trip), so we took our stock from here. It ended up not being necessary though as the Blue Lagoon had its own supply (I'll get to that later).
All in all really satisfied. If you're keen on seeking this place out yourself, it's called Reykjavik Residence. Here is the website.
Anyway, that first night we finally arrived to meet American J around 2am. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from the airport to Reykjavik and Olive needed to practice driving on the right side of the road (literally...since Australia drives on the other side...like the UK).
We arrived hungry but happy to be there, so a group went out for groceries, the groceries we later made breakfast and sandwiches from. Good purchase.
And that was our start into Iceland. No aurora sightings yet, but we were hopeful.