These days, when one wants to leave Iceland by plane, it usually means getting up in the middle of the night. That is because most flights leaving the island are scheduled for the early mornings. I really don’t like this...
That’s why I had to get up around 4 am yesterday to make my way to Keflavík International Airport.
Somehow it is a nice kind of routine, though: going to BSÍ bus terminal and riding on the Flybus for about 45 minutes to the airport.
The bus leaves the bus station in the center of the capital and makes its way south through the municipalities of Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður and then goes on further south to Keflavík.
The bus ride itself is actually quite pretty as it follows the shoreline of Reykjanes peninsula and one can enjoy the view of the sea and lava fields on the ride.
Usually the bus is quite full of passengers, all beaming with pleasant anticipation for the imminent journey.
After checking yourself and your luggage in at the airport one needs to go through security. To me, it is curious to watch people taking of their shoes and belts in a rush and others being thoroughly searching by security personnel. For this one moment, we passengers are all equal, no matter if you are flying business class or economy class.
After the security check everybody rushes to gather their belongings together and put on their shoes.
Most people then tend do some duty-free shopping at the airport as there is usually some time to kill before boarding.
I, for instance, am always on the lookout for my favorite perfume or the fabulous hand cream from the Blue Lagoon store because it is a must-have gift for my mother. And since it is holiday season it is the perfect (and probably last) opportunity to buy some Icelandic Christmas presents for your loved ones.
And if you are a smoker you might want to seize this last chance for having a cigarette before being up in the air for a couple of hours.
If you are hungry and thirsty and have a bit of time, you can choose between a variety of cafés and restaurants. My favorite is café Kaffitár; that is where I spend most of the time waiting at the airport because they make excellent coffee.
I always enjoying watching my fellow travelers. It is an interesting mix of characters, there are well dressed businessmen and -women (usually traveling very light), loud and chaotic families with nagging and/crying children and the occasional Icelandic hipster. And there is a huge number of rosy-cheeked, nature loving tourists wearing sturdy hiking shoes and weather-proof windbreakers. They all display the same sparkle in their eyes and seem to be slightly lost in reverie, reminiscing their wonderful holiday experience in the Icelandic nature with all its breathtaking, rough beauty.
And as usual, I meet someone I know while awaiting my flight. As someone living in Iceland, it is very likely you meet relatives or friends at the airport. I love these coincidences! It is terribly nice to have a coffee and a chat with a good, old friend you certainly didn’t expect to meet.
Actually, I had expected more of a chaos and rush at the airport due to the Christmas season and the high number of travelers, but everyone seemed to be in a cheerful mood and not too stressed. That’s the spirit!
And when it’s time to go and you make your way on board of your plane, you secretly hope you won’t get the screaming baby or elderly lady that showered in perfume on the seat next to you.
Bon voyage to everyone traveling somewhere these days and merry Christmas!
Katharina Hauptmann - firstname.lastname@example.org