Posted by: jeanne | February 10, 2016

hypothetical stopover in iceland

so, the good news is that we’re going back to venice next year.  for how long, and when, is not yet determined.

but i’m determined to show jim iceland, so i’m thinking a 10-day stopover, and rent a camper.

airfare is cheaper this year, about 950 (atl-rek, not atl-vce), but a camper that will fit connor (unless he can sleep in the front seat…) will run 1700 bucks.  plus gas and food.  otoh, 3 bus passes ($900) and 10 nights in hostels/b&b/homeshares isn’t cheap, either. and restaurant food all the time. lots of airbnbs. not really much in the difference.  otooh, a 4×4 with all the trimmings can run a thousand bucks for those ten days, and then airbnbs and hostels per night add up to about a thousand.  plus gas and food.

basically transportation and housing is $2000, without gas and food.  airfare is almost $3000 round trip to iceland for three.

going wow air from baltimore to rek to fco is 600.  going any other airline seems to be impossible, because i’m getting quotes of 5000 each hahaha.

more later.

so the side trip from venice isn’t going to happen.  but what i can safely propose is a long residency in iceland with connor, during which i can get jim to come join us for ten days, and go around the country with the both of them.  and that’ll cost the above.  say 3000 bucks.  owie.  i need to sell some paintings.

the residency where i stayed in iceland is starting up a new program.  alice liu calls it host-residency, and it offers another dimension to the experience of an artist residency.

it’s longer, for one.  most residencies i’ve been on have been for a month, a very few have been shorter, and a couple longer.  but a month is the basic length i need to get work done.  it takes two weeks for me to hit my stride, and then i run to the very end of the residency term trying to finish the work i’ve started, still starting new work to take back home to finish.

this host-residency is for three months, minimum.  it can go as long as six months.

as host artist, i get to be responsible for the greeting party for new residents, where everybody gets over being stiff and timid around everybody else, and also the end of residency party, the last fling and artshow for the dear friends who may never see each other again but who have shared an incredible creative period with fellow artist that will touch them forever.  other responsibilities i can envision include being there with a list of phone numbers when things go wrong in teh middle of the night.

the real opportunity is the chance to have a themed residency,

okay, weeks later.

we’re getting close to setting our residency dates in venice.  it might be jan 28 2017-apr 15, which is only 2.5 months.  but that gives me 15 days to go around iceland with jim and the baby in late april, which is not a bad time.  it’s spring, kind of, and the temperatures are above freezing, mostly, and really it’s no colder than it is in venice and atlanta during the winter, so we’re already dressed for it.

so i’m thinking screw getting a camper when it gets below freezing every night, let’s rent a car for that time and stay in airbnb or hostels or whatever.  it’s the low season.  things will be cheap.

it’s $200 a night to stay anywhere outside of the capital area.

i investigated snaefellsness thru airbnb,, and vrbo/homestay, and the differences are similar.  i think mostly they are summer cottages for the owners – what else would they be?

we could go around from snaefellsness down to vik, and all around, renting a different place every night.

but it occurs to me that we could also settle down for awhile in reykjavik and do all the tourist sights on the tourist buses; get a city bus pass, walk a lot.  and then late in the day rent a car and go down to vik, which is the closest really cool place i’ve been to (tho in that direction, it only gets cooler the farther east you go).

so a car for 15 days, or 4 days.  i checked budget; everybody says it’s the cheapest.  1000 bucks for a hyundai mini, 1500 for a skoda station wagon.  how about 4 days (gulp)… 270 and 450, so okay not so bad.  the mini is if we leave most of the luggage in storage at the airport, the skoda is if we take it with us.

what’s 11 days in a cute little place in hafnarfjordur?  750 for this one cute little place in someone’s backyard, and 1000 for this other cute place with a hot tub.

what’s 3 nights in vik?  a great place just under the unpronounceable volcano for 1000, a cute place in vik for 650.  from there we can explore the south coast and the glaciers.

so what does that add up to?  that’s $1800 (rounded up) without counting gas or food.

otoh, using a combination of easyjet and wow airlines saves entire bunches of money and might as well cover our excursion.  let me see.

easyjet from venice to gatwick is 180 euros for 3, and to iceland 250 euros, and to baltimore 500 euros.  we can spend another 300 bucks getting home from there.  so that’s 1200 bucks for three tickets.  which is one third the cost of going straight home via delta.


the trip pays for itself.

what really pisses me off is that one way tickets are twice the price of roundtrip.  going from home to venice is 1800 one way, the cheapest airline, and rountrip, i can get a ticket for 1270.  why is that?

so now to find cheap oneway fares to europe.

and never mind that, wow will take us all from baltimore to london with a 15 day stopover in iceland, for 1200, for three tickets.  another low cost airline will get us from here to baltimore, and from london to venice, but damn.


so a few days in hafnarfjordur in an airbnb, then rent a car for the last day and do the golden circle on our own. check out, put out luggage in storage at the airport, and drive southeast to jokulsarlon.  and skaftafell.  and kirkjubaejarklaustur.  and vik.  stay for like 4 days, and then go to the airport.  the blue lagoon or not?  and why not?  it’s only outrageously expensive and crowded, tho maybe not in april…

but where to stay?  we’re talking about 200 a night for airbnb properties.  there are two hostels in vik.  searching various websites –, tripadvisor, airbnb, – there’s little choice.  looking at the satellite map says why – it’s all sandur, outflow plains from the glaciers, nothing but black braided streams for many  many miles.  there’s kirkjubaejarklaustur, and then there’s skaftafell, and just past skaftafell there’s jokulsarlon.  if we stay in vik for 4 days then we have to cover the same ground a whole lot.  if we go from hafnarfjordur to skaftafell (four hours and change, driving straight, which we won’t do by any measure), and stay in the hotel for a night, see the glacial tongue and then go hang out at jokulsarlon for the afternoon, and drive the hour and a half to kirkjubaejarklaustur to stay at a place there for a night, do the cool stuff that’s to do there, and then spend the night in vik, and hang out in vik all day, i guess spending a second night in vik, and then going to the blue lagoon on the way to the airport.  seems like quite a rush, doesn’t it?

maybe if we make it to vik, then drive to skaftafell and stay a night, go to jokulsarlon, then a night in klaustur, and a final night in vik. that seems better.  or, not vik, there’s a place on a horse farm in hvolsvollur.  that’s an hour and a half from klaustur, and itself is an hour and a half from keflavik.

god, that’s about perfect.

when does the plane for bwi take off?  ah. 3:30. that’s not great.  we really do have to be there hours early, and it gets really cramped in the waiting room (so maybe we should get there close to departure time…..?).  hour and a half to drive, that’s 1.  two hours in the blue lagoon, that’s 11. breakfast and messing with the guy’s horses, that’s 2 hours, that’s 9. stopping along the way, that’s the other 2 hours, and we’re pushing all the way.  maybe we should only be half an hour from the airport, go the extra 2 hours and skip messing with horses.  then we could spend three hours at the blue lagoon and actually eat something.

anyway, that’s iteration one. let’s see what else comes up in the year and a half until this happens…

and by the time i came to publish this, version one is already out of date.  now i’m looking to go in summer for a few days with the boys, rent a camper, and travel around south iceland.

more later.



  1. Glad you have so much energy. Maybe it is because I have been sick for a week but these plans make me tired. Anyway glad you are enjoying life!


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