Jetlag was one thing ahead of the trip I probably discounted. Because we did smaller jumps during our RTW trip, we didn't have many instances of trying to re-adjust our bodies to a big time change. But as we sat on the plane and I watched the flight timer countdown, I realized that making it through a seven-hour flight with the kids was one thing; arriving in the morning with little sleep and navigating a new town with the kids was another.
The flight went better than expected. I was cautiously optimistic since we'd flown to Hawaii with the kids, but we lucked out when the Iceland Air people saw we were hoping to take our carseats on board for the kids to sleep in and were able to seat us across a row by ourselves--six seats for four people? Not too shabby. And I was feeling pretty good about our pre-flight experience--free snacks in the Alaska Boardroom, playtime in the airport play area, lots of time to stretch legs and snack-pre-flight. And it wasn't until we boarded that I realized I hadn't felt quite this kind of excitement--the feeling of taking off for an adventure in new, foreign lands--in quite a long time.
|About to board!|
|Flying over the far north of Canada|
It's an interesting thing to realize as adults we all the time have to sublimate our own desires and natural tendencies when we're hungry or tired or cranky. Kids? Not so much. So as we got off the plane, with about two hours of sleep a person, and with understandably cranky children in the cold, grey of morning, it was definitely "soldier through" time.
And soldier on we did. We even took the bus into town and did the 900 meter walk from the bus station to our apartment for the week. Speaking of which, I've been feeling quite pleased with our packing so far. We used our RTW backpacks, so we can wear those and brought the carseats, which we can attach to nifty wheelie things, so we can push or pull the kids if they don't want to walk. With my purse and two smaller carry-on bags, I'm sure we were quite a sight, but we were able to get about reasonably easy. (We actually had one local dropping off someone at the bus station ask if he could take our picture since he liked to travel with his young kids.)
After settling in to our cozy apartment, we realized that we were all hungry. Iceland Air was comfortable and pleasant, but they were a bit stingy on the food service. So we decided to head out to a bakery, hoping some fresh air would clear our heads. Our other goals for the day were pretty minimal--getting some groceries, maybe finding a park. And take a nap.
|First jaunt out to the bakery on a beautiful, brisk but sunny morning|
A few notable moments in the day (which, not surprisingly, is a bit of haze): Tyler getting mistaken for a local about three times. The sun shining and lots of people out and about enjoying it, especially tons of parents with babies in prams (Reykjavik seems to be very family-friendly; I also suspect our first day was like my first day ever in Seattle, where everyone is happy because the sun is out--apparently it was snowing even last week). Going for our first swim at our neighborhood public pool, which has geothermal hot tubs.
|Post-nap walk--but my yawn gives away my true state....|
|Stella and Otto in front of the big church in Reykjavik--relatively close to our apartment and a good landmark for getting our bearings|
Sure, there were few meltdowns from usually calm and collected Otto, but overall the kids seem to be taking it in stride. I might jinx myself this early in the game, but Stella seems to be a natural traveler. And we're trying to keep our expectations low about what we'll do and see. If nothing else, even in these first couple days it has been a treat to really just get to be a family altogether, not juggling work and errands and home responsibilities. And it's been very sweet to see Stella being a concerned big sister, watching over Otto bit, rather than competing with him for attention.
Final thought for this entry: it's been interesting to find that my mind so quickly has gone to trying to compare and categorize Iceland to other places I know (Alaska, Tasmania, New Zealand, Easter Island, even) rather than just taking it in for itself. The little but we've seen also make me think that it seems very Scandinavian, though my main point of Scandinavian aesthetic is Ikea... Looking forward to continuing to get to know Iceland on its own terms over the rest of this week!
|A well-deserved (and extremely expensive) beer with dinner|