Reykjavik and Glasgow

Travel Blog – Day 1

The last 20 hours have been a sleep deprived whirl, but exciting none-the-less. I failed to get sleep on the flights which made for a lot of walking around Glasgow to stay awake until check-in time. But that turned out to be the perfect way to spend the day getting to know my surroundings. Without time or the mental power to research the city before or during my walk, I discovered places the old-fashioned way – by stumbling upon them.

But let’s back up. Icelandair flies direct from Denver to Reykjavik. So in less than 7 hours you can leave the middle of the United States and arrive on a snow-covered airfield that reminded me of landing in Alaska. We arrived at 5am in Iceland, but you wouldn’t have known it was the crack of dawn with the soothing yet bustling terminal building. One could tell it is predominantly a stopover location due to the vast differences in passenger outfits. As snow fell outside, travelers in shorts paced the terminal along with those more appropriately dressed. They won me over immediately with their Scandinavian style and TLC’s “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” over the terminal speakers.

The only design flaw a few fellow passengers and I discovered was in the bathroom when the combination of shallow sinks with Dyson’s Airblade Tap (which integrates the powerful Dyson airblade with the sink faucet) results in blowing the foamy soap off your hands and all over the room. We all laughed together, but my former life in Airport design made me think the maintenance staff are likely not so tickled by this reality.

We deplaned and boarded on the airfield. I found this thoroughly enjoyable (I felt like a Beatle), although a few of my fellow passengers were less sure footed on the stairs. Fortunately my winter walking skills are still fresh since Colorado hasn’t quite decided if it is ready to fully embrace spring. It seems Reykjavik is having similar thoughts. It was beautiful though and I am looking forward to my stopover on the way back. Icelandair has a finely tuned marketing game. They make it less expensive to have a one-night stopover than to keep on going, to encourage you to keep more of your tourist dollars there. I can’t wait!

Glasgow was just a two and a half hour flight from Iceland. After a nice quick pass through customs, I was on the curbside waiting to jump on the airport express to downtown Glasgow. For 12 pounds you can get an open-ended round trip ticket on the bus (8 pounds one way) and not have to concern yourself with navigating the opposite side of the car/road or figure out where to park it. In my sleep deprived state, when the bus driver started off, it did take some effort to not yell out “wait wrong way!”. Silly American!

Fortunately my hotel took my bags off my hands as I arrived in downtown around noon. Glasgow was bustling and it seems the George Square area is their shopping district…pre-trip research likely would have told me this, but I find this way more fun. I stumbled upon two different multi-story malls (at first I wasn’t sure if it was just one mall that I found from different sides) with some of the typical stores found in US malls. But I also found a couple very cool historic arcades. Like this one that appeared to be their jewelry district. I saw signs for fully furnished apartments above, but I promised my family and partners that I would return from this trip.

True to my characteristics I took many a picture of old buildings. From an uninformed look at Glasgow, they appear to be facing similar deterioration struggles that we see in Colorado, only with significantly more moisture and vegetation growth. They also seem to have a fair amount of demolition occurring, which surprised me, and it looks like there is clean-up underway from a recent fire.

I scouted out some future stops, but decided I just had to keep moving to make it to nap time. I walked into the hotel at 2:56pm (I may have been circling the blocks nearby at the end there). As much as I was hoping to just sleep until tomorrow, I read several jet lag articles that recommended the best way to adjust to a new time zone is to take a short nap if absolutely needed and then get back up to finish out the daylight (a better way would have been to sleep on the flights…don’t do what I do!). I hope you enjoy the photos – now off to plan my adventures for tomorrow!

By Natalie Lord

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