For my wife’s fortieth I organised a trip to see the Northern Lights; something she’d always wanted to do. I got quite a way into booking a trip to Iceland but I noticed that there was loads of things to do there the children would love so I shelved Iceland and looked elsewhere.
A few years later, we’re off! Off course, we started our trip by playing The Immigrant Song…
The flight we booked with Icelandic Air was great; no problems at all and nice and comfortable for the three hours of the flight. That was just long enough for me to get into and screw up my Classic Ironman game of XCOM : Enemy Within but I don’t think it’s entirely fair to blame the staff for that. I suggested they include guides on dealing with Thin Men within the in-flight literature which I’m sure they took very seriously.
We were met after customs by a friendly woman from Adventure Car Rentals and she whisked us away and drove us to get our car. We wanted a 4 by 4 (due to the weather) but also one with a big boot (due to my family) so we ended up with a car that dwarfed my car back home. After I got used to the vertigo it was brilliant, getting us (with the Sat-Nav and my wife’s uber directions) to our hotel in Reykjavik.
We all shared a great suite in the hotel which had all the necessities (bed; shower; free WI-FI). Everyone in the hotel were very friendly and helpful and went out of their way to make up for our tourist newbism.
We grabbed a quick burger at an American themed restaurant; later on we found out we weren’t culturally copping out and that Iceland’s culture had been strongly influenced by the US over the years. A US naval base had been there until very recently and the first TV the Icelanders had received had been American from the bases. A lot of their TV and music is still from America too.
When we had checked in the concierge had mentioned The Eurovision Song contest as being on that evening; this was apparently quite a big deal in Iceland (though apparently many people faked a hipster-like disinterest). The girls had never seen it before so we thought it was an excellent idea to introduce them to this representation of the pinnacle of Europe’s music.
The broadcast was in Icelandic which actually didn’t interfere with appreciating the contest at all. I introduced Britain’s entry as our presentation of the best of the UK’s musical talent and the kids watched it in stunned disbelief.
In fact, confusion was a pretty common reaction with my eldest’s most common comments were “this makes no sense”, or “I don’t understand this” or just a simple “huh?”. We tried to explain that it wasn’t supposed to make sense and that letting it wash over you like a wave helped but I’m not sure that convinced them.
Sweden’s animation was awesome though and it turns out they won. So that was pretty cool.
We were all tired so bedtime came soon after. It was still light out; apparently it got dark at midnight!
XCOM Update : Had to start again after a disaster while playing on the plane. 2 groups of 3 Thin-Men shredded my green team early in the second month. New game looking good though.