Travel to Iceland

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<p><strong><em>My wife and I would love to travel to Iceland and spend 2 to 3 weeks traveling the newly finished Ring Road in a rental car.&nbsp; My wife has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and is concerned about potential bad air and breathing problems because of the volcano activity.&nbsp; Will she have problems in parts of Iceland?&nbsp; We would like to plan a trip to visit next year.&nbsp; Any advice on places to stay and things to see would be appreciated. &nbsp;</em></strong></p>

Hi:    these are some notes I made for a friend driving around iceland.  I apologize for the formatting, but even though I wrote in paragraphs, this site doesn't recognize it.          Hilton Nordica Hotel  in Reykjavik-- I loved this hotel for its location, its breakfast and its views. Be sure to arrange for a view of the water -- it might cost a bit more, but would be better than looking at a parking lot.The buffet breakfast is outstanding.  The best of my trip to Iceland    There are three areas with tables - usually the furthest in is the least crowded.  The Vox Restaurant in the hotel is considered one of the best in Reykjavik -- food is outstanding. The bar also has a happy hour.Wi fi is excellent and it free!       FLIGHT TO ICELAND  (Are you on Icelandair?)I was on  the  5 hour iceland Air flight from Boston to Iceland - no meal is served, though there is food for purchase.  I really didn’t like Iceland Air. Their boarding at Boston airport and in Reykjavik on the way home is  chaotic and unorganized. Their fares are not cheap, and they operate like a budget airlines.       GETTING AROUNDBus Passes --    the  Hilton hotel will loan you a bus pass -- it is good for 4 people!  You can take a bus in front of the hotel that takes you to the main bus station, then catch another bus to the downtown area.  Or you can take bus #11 around the corner to the hotel and it will take you to the center of town and the beginning of the shopping street.      I always took Bus #11 in; then any bus to the bus-station and transferred to one of the 4 lines that stops in front of the hotel.  I think the numbers were 2,15,17,18.Shopping street:I loved the 66˚ North stores for their extreme cold/rainy weather clothes.   They are not inexpensive, but if you life in an area with bad weather, you will appreciate their quality.   There are two 66˚ North stores  on the street-- with a full array of winter/rain gear. If you need any, this is the place. They will also give you a 10% discount, if you ask. And... guess what -- there is an outlet not far from the Hilton!It is at Faxafen 12, and is also attached to a a retail store.  They have a bargain rack with exceptionally good deals.    You can take the bus from the hotel, or (like a friend and I did, a taxi over and the bus back.   Cintamani is another Icelandic brand but not as high quality and the designs weren’t as good.The shopping street is very lively -- lots of street artists and performers.  you can spend an hour or two just walking up and down, also take the angle street toward the church) enjoying the street performers and window shopping.       THE BLUE LAGOONThis is a wonderful experience. Locals don’t go there as it costs about $40. a person.    I was glad I brought my water shoes as the ground is uneven and sometimes rocky.  I brought an old towel from home and threw it away afterwards.  You can also rent a robe, towel and slippers for about 1500kr.    The Hilton is not crazy about our taking their towels to the Blue Lagoon.At the lagoon, be sure to slather yourself with the mud, go under the waterfall (like a free massage) and go into the cave.   The waterfall and cave are by the bridge.  You can also make an appointment for an in-lagoon massage, but you should do this as soon as you arrive in Reykjavik.  Afterwards, be sure to visit the gift shop and use the testers. Their lotions  are wonderful .... and expensive.   If you want to buy anything, wait until you return to Keflavek Airport. After security there is an area with shops - including a Blue Lagoon store. Prices are a bit cheaper.We went early -- got there about 9am and were out by 11:30 - the lines to get in were getting long then. National Museum  in Reykjavik  is a beautiful museum. You can rent the audio-guide. I spent 2 hours there which was enough and there is good signage in English.       ON PRICESPrices are high -- and it takes a few days to get used to it.  But pretty soon, you won’t mind paying $10 for a beer and $5 for a cup of coffee.  Blame it on their 25% VAT tax.    If you see something you like, just slap down your credit card (make sure it doesn’t have a foreign currency conversion fee) and buy it.       MONEY -  99% of the places visited take credit cards.   I liked using cash for small things like cokes or cappuccinos.  But you really don’t need to change a lot of money if you want to use your credit card for everything.        ONE RESTAURANT I WOULD RECOMMENDIn Reykjavik, cross the street from the church on the hill (the one that looks like a rocket), there is a restaurant called Lodi that serves Icelandic food from authentic recipes.  We had the lamb soup, which is more like a stew -- it was wonderful.   There are two floors, and the views of the church from the second floor are very nice.     Just look at what others are eating and you will see the soup/stew. It is served with lava-bread -- bread that is baked on hot lava stones!Have a great time - Iceland is a wonderful destination!