Arrivals. London.

A quick three hours from Iceland and I was stepping out at Heathrow to a giant, yet unusually quiet airport. The group of us made it to the border check with our customs forms. I was approaching anxiously, recalling horror stories about getting through immigration. I’ll never know if those accounts are accurate though because when I stepped up to a station the guard was clearly in a great mood,  laughing with a coworker. He asked where I was coming from in the US and when I answered he promptly made a Frasier reference and we got on talking about American TV. A minute later my passport was stamped, he never asked me any other questions, we laughed and it was over. 

Nearly an hour delayed to meet my friend at the entrance I hurried through baggage claim. What a nice thing to see her waiting with a smile and a dance. I’ve always wanted my own “Welcome to Britain Jaida! ” sign as well. : D

She was so helpful in getting me familiar with the transport systems.  I secured a pass and we hopped on the line towards town. Talk about thoughtful, there were snacks, a water bottle, and a sim card for my phone waiting for me in her bag too! Next we found my hostel, got checked in,  and went for lunch at the corner pub- The Princess Victoria. This place was the perfect introduction to the English gastropub experience.  Good cider and a rich meal combined with the beautiful old building made it just right. We wandered around the nearest giant shopping center, found a place to top-up my sim card and picked up some food from the M&S before calling it a day. 

I think I’ve over-prepared myself mentally for my first London exposure however. No moment of shock and awe when I arrived. I felt adjusted right away. It sort of just feels like any other city. There are busy streets, lots of people, lights, loud noises. So, historical significance aside – if you’ve spent time in a large city, you’ll manage fine. All of the same music you hear in the US is playing on the radio here. The atmosphere is familiar.

What is quite different is hearing at least ten languages being spoken around you constantly, and that part is just awesome.  A reminder that the world is a massive place and we’re all here living our days for similar purposes. Also I have an even greater desire to be fluent in something other than English.

The ancient architecture and many museums are also outstanding and upon experiencing them I finally registered that I was in a very different place. That bit comes next so stay tuned!

Arrivals. Keflavik/Reykjavik.

I finally was able to get a couple hours of sleep after testing all of the possible positions I could manage in my seat. So as I lifted my head from the tray table in front of me, I noticed first that my arms were numb from supporting my head, and then realized that our flight was 9 minutes from landing. Just minutes left of the 7 hour trip. So I tidied up and waited. Just another landing, “it’ll be fine” I thought. But when i saw all of the beautiful lights waiting I felt out of place… these certainly aren’t Medford or Spokane lights, and they aren’t even Seattle or Portland sights… this is Reykjavik guys! So it finally clicked and I’ve accepted my situation. ; )

It’s 6:30am in Iceland (8 hour difference) and here I am! It’s still very dark during the majority of the day this far North but I see the snow falling and the lights and I can’t wait to explore this place in the spring.

Oh and by the way… their retail shop here is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. Photos, pottery, sweets, spirits, and a whole stunning display of Icelandic wool (both yarn and knit items) at its entrance. Absolutely gorgeous. Small but impressive seems to be the theme of the services in Iceland. The flight was comfortable even for economy seating, the crew was lovely and this airport is super (…duper…) sweet.

LONDON up next…

Go! Do!

A slight nod to a fantastic artist who’s country I head to next… Iceland! Land of raw beauty, including: geothermal spas, colorful towns, and lots of Icelandic sheep… Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a couple of months for the full report, as this is only a layover on my way to the UK!

All of it’s incredibly exciting and I’m feeling pretty crazy right now. So much to look forward to and an abundance of things to be really grateful for today.

There are some technical details to get sorted regarding photos and the blog but I’m working to figure it out. Mobile photos will do for now…

Looking forward to updating you from afar!

image