Dave's Iceland & Buffett in Paris

Dave & Harshal's Iceland & Buffett in Paris

September 22-28, 2011

I guess you could say seeing Jimmy Buffett in Paris was becoming a regular pilgremmege for my friends Rob, Mary, and I, having gone last year. Jimmy was good enough to give us plenty of notice this year announcing a 9/26 Paris show from in January! I had also been dragging my recently divorced buddy Harshal to Buffett shows all over the place, and he immediately signed on board.
So planning nine months out, I figured I would attach Iceland as the second part of this trip (did Morocco last year), which had been on my radar for several years.

1 euro = $1.38
$1 = .72 euro

1 ISK = .009 USD
116 ISK = 1 USD

Thursday 22nd

While I am certainly a planner, like Andy Roddick in a big match I made several uncharacteristic, unforced errors to add undue stress and expense on myself. After actually calling on customers that morning, I rushed to the airport to discover our jet was sitting here, but our departure was delayed due to all the U.N. stuff in NYC going on. Well, that allowed me to blow about $45 going back home and return since I realized I had forgotten my wallet in my work bag, which had my credit cards and ATM cards. Since I was traveling with Harshal I could have gotten away with it in a pinch without completely being screwed if I was by myself, but better to just suck it up.

OK, a cab ride later I realize I forgot to pack any jacket for what was expected to be 40 degree weather, and also my Blackberry charger which I thought I would need to use.
Oh yeah, and although the connection would be tight, I absent-mindedly checked my luggage instead of dealing with a carry on and they couldn't find it to pull it back out, so there was a very real possibility of not having my suitcase for most of Iceland. Oh well, I would have to adjust and manage.

We boarded in time for our now 2:40 departure, and I was thinking- hey, there could actually be time for me to transfer my suitcase. Well, we sat there for another hour not taking off until about 3:45.

JetBlue #1064 AUS 1:13pm to JFK 5:59pm $233-$30+$100 change fee voucher

Despite that massive delay, we actually got to the gate of our IcelandAir flight having only missed it by maybe 15 minutes.

Here we are getting rebooked for the next flight out, which would be 8:35pm FRIDAY night, so we would lose a day.
Honestly since it wasn't IcelandAir's fault that we had missed the connection, and the flight the next day was pretty full, things could have been much more complicated, so a little luck there at least.
While waiting there the ticket person pointed out Uma Thurman walking by, with a private escort to the first class area.

Again, being two people vs one makes a big difference when having to suck up unexpected situations like this. Since I had planned most of the trip, he was all over finding us a hotel, and of course we could split an otherwise expensive cab ride and room.

Here we are at The Benjamin- a fantastic place mid-town for only about $180 total.
#73 of 430 NYC hotels
This is also the exact area of NYC where I would stay with my high school friends living here in the mid-90s, so it was very comfortable for me.

On recommendation we would have dinner at The Stanton Social on the lower east side.

Accidentally doubled our drink order, so we got them for free...trip karma turning around.

Zucchini tempura

Kobe philly- truffle & goat cheese fondue

Potato & goat cheese pierogies- caramelized onions and truffle creme fraiche

Onion soup dumplings

Braised short rib soft tacos- a winner!

We hit the W mid-town, which was conveniently located right by our hotel.
And Harshal's frat brother Mark met us there to hang out.

Random girls Harshal insisted we talk to.

We close the night with 3am diner food.

I'm alway a fan of matzoh ball soup.

Friday 23rd

View from our room- pouring rain.

Lunch at an Italian place in our neighborhood with a local friend of Harshal's.

So the upside of a day's delay here was that it allowed me to make up for my mistakes, so to speak. I was able to claim my luggage the night before, pick up a very practical jacket from The Gap, and a USB cord.

Facade of our hotel.

Around 5pm we headed out back to JFK.

Dinner at inside the airport at Todd English's Bonfire- waiter was overwhelmed, but my Kobe beef hot dog actually was good, and the parmesan fries too.

Iceland Air 8:35pm to Reykjavik next day 6:20am $397

Saturday 24th

Click for Reykjavik, Iceland Forecast

Flybus + 4000 ISK

Hmmnn, like a colder New York...
For the record, they state Reykjavik is actually more temperate than NYC due to the Gulfstream.

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, 202 euro/night including taxes
#2 of 36

After dropping our stuff we immediately headed out to see the church, a symbol of Iceland.

When I would go home to work after Paris, Harshal was actually going on his own to Munich for Octoberfest.

I bought a sandwich to eat for breakfast at this convenience store. I thought this right at the check out was an interesting part of the culture- who doesn't often need on the fly your 30-pack of condoms or half-litre bottle of scented lube?

9am BSI bus to Blue Lagoon - then return, 6300 ISK

"The drive takes about 40 minutes from Reykjavik"

Bus Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik every 15min after the hour starting 11:15am.

Massage- 30min at noon, 6000 ISK

So there is a KFC here, but unfortunately I wouldn't get to it.

Upon our return our room is ready, although they were supposed to have split beds. I gave them my "barely restrained anger/very disappointed" look and they promised to fix it when we went out to dinner and I got us free WiFi for our stay.

View from window.

Dinner at Icelandic Fish & Chips, which was only about a 5min walk away.

It was pretty good, but not mind blowing.

So it was still pretty early, we heard people here don't go out until midnight. So I believe we napped, started in on the Icelandic vodka and mixers Harshal had purchased at Duty Free (everyone here is supposed to pre-party at their house because drinks are so expensive), and also watched a Laura Linney movie I hadn't seen before- I like her a lot, but the movie never quite got to that twist you hope for (unless it was at the VERY end, which we missed die to impatience).

(the weekend pub crawl)

So you are supposed to go from bar to bar. Considering our recent travel we did well and were out until about 4am I believe. From fellow travelers the reputation was that you would run into a ton of other Americans and Canadians- our experience was VERY few foreign tourists and almost all locals.

"The night’s not over yet.As 5am approaches the clubs begin to empty and the streets fill with the well-dressed and well-tipsy. Wander down near the harbor to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the most popular hot dog stand in town. Icelanders take their hot dogs seriously, making them with lamb and covering them with remoulade, ketchup, mustard, and raw and fried onions. Wait in the long but fast-moving line and then take your bounty back to the city’s main square to join the gathered crowd."

Everyone kept telling us how Bill Clinton had stopped here to eat on his visit to Iceland- you could tell they were proud of it and had the pic to prove it too.
More info

So like this lady that was smart enough to double dong it with her first order, we enjoyed the cultural experience in line and got a second one as well. Honestly they were fantastic, and a big reason I probably didn't feel too bad getting up a few hours later.

More Runtur info

Although it certainly would have been better to have three days here like I had planned in stead of two, essentially what we missed with that day was the Goecco free walking tour of Reykjavik which occured every day at 13:00, and this White Nights Hiking tour which was highly recommended by others on TripAdvisor.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones