Icelandair Boeing 757-200 Economy from Iceland to Munich

Icelandair’s user friendly website allows you to purchase and book seats with a minimum of aggravation. They fly only one nonstop each day from Reykjavik to Munich, departing at 7:20a, arriving at 1:05p. All other flights make a stop. Grudgingly flying Icelandair, a non-Star Alliance partner, I must admit it is a very nice carrier, and they offer free stopovers when booking with them. Plan a stopover on your way to or from Europe for up to seven nights in either direction.

Icelandair flies nonstop to Reykjavik year-round from Boston, New York, Seattle, Denver and seasonal service from other cities and I think they are adding service to Chicago. Two women from New York on the L’Austral Iceland Cruise took advantage of this offer and flew to London for a four-night stay and then on to Reykjavik at no extra cost. Such a deal!

 

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Bright and Modern Keflavik International Airport

Marine Steve and I finished off a 7-day cruise around Iceland by flying to Munich for 10 days of hiking in Austria. Icelandair had the only direct flight to Munich from Reykjavik so kicking and screaming because Icelandair is not part of Star Alliance, we bought tickets.

Icelandair requires all but their Plus and Business Class passengers to check in at kiosks. Although a little nervous about using one, the kiosks are very user friendly. Follow directions on the screen and out spits baggage tags and boarding passes; don’t attempt to deal with the baggage tags instead turn around and walk a short distance to the Baggage Drop line where at least 10-15 employees at this counter will finish the process. When it is your turn, hand over passports or identity papers, boarding passes and baggage tags. They examine, attach, and passengers take the escalator to Departures, one level up.

 

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Review of Bed and Breakfast Keflavik Airport Hotel – Iceland

The Tauck Tours and Iceland cruise finished around 2:00p at Keflavik Airport, too late for Marine Steve and I to connect onwards to Munich on the same day and we had two choices: Stay at a hotel in Reykjavik overnight, or pick one of several places near the airport. Bed and Breakfast Keflavik Airport Hotel had the most reasonable rates, and staying here would avoid a roundtrip transportation cost into town. I couldn’t decide whether to call it a “B&B” or “Hotel” … Whatever, this little hotel is located in the former US Naval Air Station. The United States had a military presence in Iceland from 1941 until 2004 and the base acted as a platform for several operational capabilities throughout World War II, the Cold War and in modern times.

 

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A Cruise on L’Austral is All About the Food!

I travel for new experiences, destinations and as travelers often comment, a cruise is the easiest way to accomplish all this. Unpack once and enjoy. But…more than 50% of my “enjoyment” …okay, 90%…depends on the food quality. Marine Steve and I love food. Not gourmet cuisine or $150 per person degustations but a wide variety of food especially on a cruise when whatever you eat, or don’t eat is included. We have been known to order several starters or appetizers, a few entrees and many desserts just to cover all bases and then eat the best of what is served. After all, not every food is going to taste super luscious or be to your taste.

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Vikinggaheimer (Viking World) Museum Information – Iceland

Our very last tour in Iceland was to Viking World Museum located five minutes from Keflavik International Airport. Its highlight is an exact replica of an old Viking ship called the Gokstad excavated from an ancient burial mound in Norway in 1882. Gokstad was so well preserved that scientists were able to date it back to 870 AD when Iceland was settled. Replica Islendingur is a seaworthy vessel that sailed to North America in 2000 as part of the millennial celebration of Leifur Eiriksson’s journey to the new world. Leifur (Leif) was the son of Eric the Red. Islendingur is made of carefully selected pine and oak from Norway and Sweden while its sail was manufactured in Denmark.

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The Very Popular and Astonishing Blue Lagoon, Iceland

All visitors to Iceland either have heard in advance about the extremely popular Blue Lagoon or find out while there. The world famous Blue Lagoon is an aqua colored pool of mineral-rich geothermal seawater with a temperature between 98-102℉. Accidentally created in 1976 when a nearby geothermal power plant began operation, people began bathing in the water and applying silica mud to their skin, resulting in a dramatic improvement for those with psoriasis. The Blue Lagoon has since developed different spa services and products based on the silica mud and approximately 400,000 people a year come to bathe in its water.

 

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L’Austral Iceland Cruise Day 7: Disembarkation and Seltun-Krysuvik Hot Springs

The Iceland Cruise sailed a total of : 1,013.5 nautical miles or 1,877 kilometers or 1,166 miles around Iceland; not a complete circumnavigation. The total distance may not have been long but the amount of tours and sights passengers enjoyed on a one-week cruise was amazing. And now, the time is near, and as we face the final curtain…it was time to disembark in Hafnarjordour where the cruise began.

Tauck Tour guests were given color-coded baggage tags. Red for Grand Hotel guests, Blue for Hilton Nordica guests, and Purple for those going to the airport.We received purple tags. Our suitcases would go along with those flying out this afternoon and the B&B Keflavik Airport Hotel would pick us up from there. All suitcases with tags had to be outside cabins by 6:00a, and all passengers had to vacate cabins by 8:00a, no time for lolly-gagging around.

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L’Austral Iceland Cruise Day 6: Old Fishing Outpost of Osvor, Bolungarvik

The West Fjords or Westfjords were created when thick and heavy glaciers during the Ice Age crept over the lava surface to an even level. Isafjordur is the regional capital of the West Fjords and located by the shore of Harpoon Fjord whose name was derived from a local who found a harpoon on the shore (according to the Book of Settlements). Bolungarvík is situated on a cove and is the northernmost village in the Westfjords. A fishing port since settlement, its most popular tourist attraction is the Osvor Museum, a replica of an old fishing outpost.

In the old Icelandic society, there were no towns or villages: people lived on farms in the countryside. Fishing was most often done during autumn and winter and people would migrate from the farms to fishing stations by the sea where they spent weeks living in small huts, and fishing in open row boats during freezing weather. Fishing stations in Eighteenth to Nineteenth century Iceland were divided into four categories:

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L’Austral Iceland Cruise Day 6: A Tour of Isafjordur

Once off the boat from Vigur Island tank at Isafjordur, it was on a bus for another land tour which began just outside the village at a nine-hole golf course in Tunguskogur. Tunguskogur is a beautiful valley with many hiking/walking trails and I was itching to walk one…sigh, but the tour guide spent much time here insisting people taste the clear river water, sang to the group and then went into details about Swamp Soccer played by locals each year, us. Swamp soccer is a unique “sport” played by adventuresome people all over the world. I read there are swamp soccer events in Beijing, Istanbul, Mumbai, Belgium, Finland, and Sweden as well as Iceland, along with a World Championship every year.

A field is flooded and let the games begin. Visit the Swamp Soccer link for all the “swampy” details.

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L’Austral Iceland Cruise Day 6: Family Owned Vigur Island

L’Austral docked at the fishing town Isafjordur in the Westfjords which stands on a gravel spit in the fjord. Isafjordur is the largest town in the peninsula and conveniently located between five smaller villages with spectacular scenery. Although isolated from the rest of Iceland, Isafjordur has a rich cultural life, heritage of music and art and some of the oldest houses in Iceland, dating from the Eighteenth Century. Small corrugated houses line the streets (not that we’d have much time to wander around).

The morning Tauck Tour began early with a 35-minute boat ride to Vigur Island off the coast of Isafjordur, thankfully with inside seats. Vigur Island has been owned and operated by the same family for four  generations; all residents on Vigur are family. They have 25 sheep, earn money from Puffin hunting (awww…) and harvest eider down feathers for export.

 

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