We groggily step off the plane, staggering into chilly weather and blue skies. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and today it is autumn in Iceland. There is a nip in the air. We can see our breath as we exhale. The sun warms our faces and I am so happy to be here. It's 7am, 2am at home, so we are delirious and everything seems more difficult. Someone says "Góðan daginn" (good day) to me and I become flustered. I realize I didn't learn any Icelandic. I avert my eyes and try to mimic his greeting, sounding more like a Neanderthal than a tourist.
We head to Reykjavik in our tiny four wheel drive and dip into the first cafe we can find. I instantly fall in love with it. Restaurant by day, dive bar by night , straight out of the 50's, complete with Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong playing on the bartenders I-pod. We order breakfast and some of the strongest, blackest coffee I've ever tasted. After phoning our reserved apartment, our hopes of checking in early are dashed. We've got 7 hours to kill. Severely sleep deprived, we wander the streets ogling the Scandavian architecture, dreaming of how we can incorporate it into our new home; taking occasional coffee breaks in the street side cafes. Our final stop is at one of the public swimming areas, Laugardalslaug. A dip in the geothemally heated hot tub and pool is followed by a legendary Icelandic hot dog. They are not part of my normal everyday diet, but after just one I will have to make an exception, hopefully eating my weight in processed pig parts over the next two weeks.
Exhausted, we check into our cozy studio apartment that closely resembles an Ikea show room, open up our first local beers and hunker down for the night.