Iceland Virtual Tourist Meet, day one
24.05.2018 - 24.05.2018
VT group on Reynisfjara beach
Setting off for Euromeet
Well, Virtual Tourist the website was killed off over a year ago, but Virtual Tourist the community is alive and kicking! And that means that May = Euromeet month.
This year’s meeting was in Iceland, so to Iceland I went. I was last there six years ago, in February 2012, in an abortive attempt to see the Northern Lights (we succeeded the following year, in Norway, but that’s another story). I loved the country then, especially the magical landscapes, so was keen to see it at a different time of year, as well (of course) to meet up again with all my VT friends.
One of those friends, Lorraine from Australia, had been visiting cousins in London prior to the meeting and I had arranged to travel with her. She stayed the night before our departure with me and my husband, as we live pretty close to Heathrow Airport, and after breakfast this morning we were on our way, taking the Tube to the airport. We were there early but passed the time with chatting, shopping and an early lunch. Our Icelandair flight left a bit late but other than that the journey was without incident.
Arrival in Iceland
We landed at Keflavik Airport in the rain, collected our bags and found the FlyBus that was to take us to Reykjavik. The journey was rather slow as traffic was heavy, and the rain meant that the views outside were a bit obscured, but I was still excited to be back here.
Road to Reykjavik from the airport
At the bus station we transferred to a small minibus which delivered us almost to the door of the block where we were both renting a (separate) studio apartment, the Stay Apartments Einholt. We let ourselves in with the code we had been sent and found the keys to our apartments without any bother. Mine was a good size but I was disappointed to be right by the lobby and on the road, so I feared it could be noisy.
There was time to unpack and settle in before setting out to the restaurant Regina had booked for our first dinner together, the Roadhouse. The meeting would start properly tomorrow but with so many of us already in town this was a good opportunity to see each other and start to catch up with old friends - and to make new ones.
The rain was pouring down as Lorraine and I walked to the restaurant just a few blocks away and we arrived very wet and chilly, but to a warm welcome. Soon we were caught up in the usual friendly spirit of a VT meet, with lots of chatting and laughter. We ordered food (most had burgers, mine was delicious) and drinks (I had a small beer).
More people arrived and the expected 20 became 40, with the restaurant staff coping admirably with the swelling numbers. I really enjoyed catching up with many of the people I had met at previous meets and also meeting Sylvia and her husband Rick for the first time, after several years of chatting and sharing travel stories online.
At the Roadhouse - Jon, Regina, Sonja, Christian
Lorraine and Marit
Sylvia and Rick
Photographer and co-host Jon
Long spring nights in Reykjavik
I didn’t stay too late however as it had been a long day. When I left I was thrilled to see that the improving weather during the evening had revealed the snow-clad mountains across the bay, so with Lorraine and Marit I took a walk down to the water’s edge to admire the views and take some photos. By now it was around 9.45 but still broad daylight - brighter and warmer in fact than at 6.30 when we had walked to the Roadhouse! I was to get used to these light nights over the course of my visit but this evening it was a real novelty to take these photos.
Evening by the waterfront
Rainstorm across the bay
On the way back to the apartments we popped into a gift shop where I bought a couple of postcards (partly in order to get change for the bus tomorrow) and into a supermarket to buy yoghurt for breakfast. Then it was time to head for my room, to sort photos, send goodnight messages to friends and to Chris at home, and to catch up on my journal before turning in for the night.