Planning? What planning?
While Iceland had been on my long travel list for a while, the decision to go there in October 2023 and on my own came rather spontaneous. In September, my whole focus was to finish and submit the dissertation for my master’s, which left me very limited time and headspace to actually plan anything. All I did was book a cheap flight and affordable accommodation in Reykjavík for a week. I quickly compared the cost of transport from and to the airport to the city and renting a car and decided that for a little more money, I’d get a lot more freedom, so I booked a small 4×4. Oh yes, and a “Northern Lights Tour with professional photos” for the second night. That was it. I’d figure the rest out as I went.
They all need around 45 minutes and start from £23/€27 one way, dropping visitors off at bus stations around Reykjavík. Since I had booked a car, all I needed was to walk to the clearly marked meeting point near the airport exit and wait for a friendly guy holding up a sign with the logo of my rental company. Luckily, I had added extra cover via booking.com, so I didn’t need to choose any of their additional coverage upon pick-up, which came a lot cheaper. After taking pictures of some marks and damages on the car as proof it wasn’t me, I set off in a Dacia Duster, which, to my delight, had navigation. If you plan to drive in Iceland, check out this valuable guide.
The roads were easy to navigate, as they went on mostly straight and were comfortably wide. After only a few turns in Reykjavík, I parked the car behind Hostel B47 on one of the free spots dedicated to their guests. It was way too early for check-in, but the friendly staff allowed me to leave my luggage and locked it in a room while I wandered around in the city until it was time for check-in. The name of the Hostel B47 is linked to its location on Barónsstígur 47 (Baron’s Path). As mentioned earlier, it is located just behind the prominent church on the hill (Hallgrímskirkja) and offers free parking. I noticed that many of them spoke Spanish, which I found curious. Naïvely, I wondered why Iceland was such a popular destination for people from much warmer countries.
The check-in was quick. Within minutes, I followed a team member with my luggage, showing me around. The hostel featured a tea/coffee kitchen with a fridge/freezer and microwave on each floor and a larger one with cooking facilities on the ground floor. My all-female dorm room of six was on the first floor, not far from some common areas. Like the night entrance, the dorm door was secured by a pin for safety. Several beds were freshly made, and he said I could choose any of those. Decidedly, I went for the only bottom bed available. After getting settled, I laid down for a nap. Shortly after, I woke up as someone entered the room – a fellow roommate, but she didn’t look happy when I greeted her. Instead, she asked me who had allowed me to choose this bed, which was hers. Still half-asleep, I explained. I pointed to some upper beds and said they were available. I felt sorry for her, but not enough to give up my bed. Plus, I had already laid on it, so what could I do? I figured she hadn’t left anything on her bed when the cleaners came in, so they thought she had checked out and changed the bedding. That was something I planned to remember to avoid.
During the day, the room was often empty which allowed me to plan my activities. There was a myriad of flyers and maps available in the hostel, offering loads of options.