The Anonymous Widower

Is It Really Necessary To Send Out One Of These With Every Holiday?

I got this from the holiday company who arranged my trip to Iceland.

I have loads, so if anybody wants it, just send me your address and I’ll put it in the post.

No wonder holidays are expensive, if agents sent this sort of junk every time.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Would I Go Back To Iceland?

I think I will go again, as Iceland is a country that appeals to my mind.

But if I do go again, it will be with someone else, as my trip would have been so much better with a companion!

I still want to go over a geothermal power station!

And it would be wonderful to ride one of the sturdy Icelandic horses in some of the amazing countryside.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Roll On Crossrail

I’ve recently been to Iceland for a few days holiday, which meant a trip to and from Heathrow.

For people like me in East London just to the North of the City, it is a boring and tedious journey.

Going out, I took the easy route for me, which is to take a 141 bus from virtually outside my house to Manor House station and then got the Piccadilly Line all the way to Heathrow. It gets you there but around thirty stops on the Underground isn’t quick at around an hour and a half.

Coming back, the flight was in a bit late and I decided to use Heathrow Express. My ticket cost me £13.80 with a Senior Railcard and is timed at 21:09, which as the Heathrow Express I got left Heathrow at 22:18 and arrived at Paddington at 22:36, says a lot for the speed of the Border Agency and the baggage handlers at the airport. From Paddington, I decided that as I was hungry and there is no good gluten-free restaurant at Paddington, that I would get a taxi. I got home just after 23:00, as although there were lots of taxis, the self loading cargo couldn’t get itself organised. As the taxi cost me £26, and although it might have been slightly quicker by about twenty minutes or so, each minute saved cost me a couple of pounds.

Next time, I’ll take the Underground.

In a few years time, I’ll probably use Crossrail. Heathrow to Whitechapel will take about 37 minutes according to their web site and from there to home is probably about 15 minutes now. So Crossrail should deliver a time of under an hour for a lot less money. Hopefully, it will be free as reports say that Freedom Passes will be able to be used to the Airport.

So on a brief look, it would appear that everybody in the City and East London will probably use Crossrail to get to Heathrow. Who in their right mind, would struggle to get to Paddington to get the Heathrow Express?

Incidentally, my taxi driver last night thought that Crossrail would be good for black cabs, as more people would use the train to get into London.

The one problem is that Terminal 5 at Heathrow is not on Crossrail. But looking at the various trains that are either are or will be connected to Heathrow and their routes, I would suspect that this will be rectified a few years after Crossrail opens.

There are various proposals that help to link Heathrow to the rail network.

The one that probably stands the highest chance of being built, is to link Terminal 5 to Reading to give rail access to the airport from the West of England and Wales. The BBC talks about it here.

If this one gets built would some Crossrail trains just go underneath Heathrow stopping at Heathrow Central, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 in order before carrying on to Reading on the other side of the airport. At Reading, it could be a cross-platform interchange to fast trains to the west. Reading to Cardiff now takes just under a hundred minutes. When electrified and with new Class 801 trains, this could be reduced by about fifteen minutes or so.  So if you add the short hop from Reading to Heathrow, the journey to Heathrow from Cardiff could be well under two hours. If the Class 801 could get to Heathrow, obviously the journey would be quicker too!

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

This Icelandic Crossing Has A Secret Button

As I can’t drive because I have a slight eyesight problem to the left, I always look to see how the countries I visit cater for the blind at road crossings. In the UK, we increasingly find secret buttons under the controls, as described here on the BBC web site.

I must admit that I was surprised to find this crossing control in Iceland.

This Icelandic Crossing Has A Secret Button

This Icelandic Crossing Has A Secret Button

It certainly is a little development, that I’d like to see everywhere.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

The Icelandic National Museum

The Icelandic National Museum was worth a visit. It is a modern building above the city and the displays are well laid out and highly informative with copious notes.

Note the picture of the curious three-seater seat, which could be mistaken for a luxury three-hole commode. There were several like these and the slots in the sides hold descriptions of the exhibits around you. This was a clever idea, that other galleries and museums could borrow.

There is also an excellent cafe with free wi-fi and perhaps more importantly for some, proper teapots.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

My Tired Hotel

If there was one thing that spoilt my holiday to Iceland it was the hotel.

This picture sums up the hotel.

My Tired Hotel

My Tired Hotel

It was tired and in need of a stiff makeover.

But there were some faults you just can’t excuse.

1. The shower was stuck on hot and unusable.

2. The gluten-free bread they produced was frozen and inedible.

3. They had a glut of Earl Grey teabags, so that was what you got in the room. I hate the stuff.

4. I had a top floor room, which suffered from top-floor-too-hot syndrome. They kept the fire escape open to try to cool the top floor.

But the biggest problem was that it wasn’t the city centre hotel I asked for and it was claimed to be ten minutes walk away. You might have been able to walk it to the centre in just over that, but walking back up the hill would have been a lot more for me.

If I’d have donre my research better, I wouldn’t have booked it, as some entries on Trip Advisor said that all was not well!

 

July 15, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Fish Market Restaurant, Reykjavik

I went here for dinner, as I really didn’t think I could stand the hotel food.

They had a gluten-free menu and I had some excellent lamb.

But why was it served on a plate like a piece of guttering?

Incidentally, the restaurant had whale on the gluten-free menu. I didn’t partake!

One thing that can be said for Rejkjavik is that there is no problem finding a restaurant if you’re coeliac

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Crazy Hot Water Pipes

On the way back to Reykjavik, the road was lined with these large pipes for quite a way.

They carry the hot water that is used to heat the city from the various geothermal sources.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Gulfoss

Gulfoss is an impressive waterfall in Iceland.

It is a very popular tourist in the country.

I also took this video.

The trip wasn’t spoilt by the rain for me, but others might have been a bit miffed.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

On The Langjökull Glacier

These pictures were taken on the Langjökull glacier.

It’s one of those places, where you probably need to have a guide.

Note the cracks across the ice. The surface was what we would call a bit slushy and some of the ice was black, as it was covered in volcanic ash.

Although there were lots of parked snowmobiles, we didn’t actually see one being used.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment