Traveling to Iceland can be a long flight from Seattle to Reykjavik (8-10 hours). The Icelandair cabin crew are helpful and very nice. They usually say, “Hallo,” (Hi/Hah), “Takk” (Tah-k) when they say hello and goodbye to most of the customers. It is a pretty easy way to say a couple of small Icelandic words to give it a shot to sound friendly.
When I am setting up my Icelandair flight I do it online and then I order a few extra things for the trip. 1: I am tall (6’6″) so I get a seat with a little extra space. 2: I pick my food for the flight. If you order the food ahead, it will arrive first. 3. I order my bus trip from Keflevek to Reykjavik in my hotel. I make sure the bus will take me back to Keflevek after my days in Reykjavik. I double check all of my orders and I then I hit the buttons to be sure I haven’t done something stupid. (Yes, I have made mistakes on Icelandair before, but I was able to call Icelandair and fixed my mistakes. I do say, “I have a disability, a brain injury. Sometimes I might say the wrong word or unto understand what you might say.” ) They were very helpful.
The Blue Lagoon is a great place to stop between Keflevek and Reykjavik, but it can be a little expensive if you only want to stop in for and hour. Stay for four or five hours and eat some food for lunch. Once I fell asleep for an hour in a seating area of the Blue Lagoon. I was not stolen and shoved into a car, I just woke up seeing new people next to my seat.
- Reykjavik was the easiest for me to start. There’s not a lot to learn; you land in Keflevek you take a bus you have to pay for the bus to Reykjavík to your hotel. Some people rent a car, but I have never done that in Iceland. If you get a car make sure you figure out how to pay for gasoline with your credit card.
- What’s great about Iceland and Reykjavík for someone with a TBI is that you don’t have to think about much. Limit yourself to one thing a day and that’s OK.
- In spring/summer the sun will never go away. It can be windy and cold, but it is more like San Fransisco in the summer. You could walk around most of the tourism locations in Reykjavik.
For TBI in Iceland:
The Main Street can be challenging if you have problems with vision and stepping. I usually walk with my wife and we hold hands like old people who look like they are still in love. I also turn my head as I walk. I had some difficultly seeing things on my low right vision, so that is why I double check to make sure I’m seeing things.
Loud rooms can be difficult with TBI people. Some rooms sound like a like a rolling cement truck. Large cities with multiple sounds can cause headaches. Iceland is very quiet compared to London or Paris.
Ordering food can be really hard for TBI people. Some of us can’t smell or taste anything which can be a bummer when eating in a restaurant. (Yes, I can’t smell anything, and I can taste salt and sweet.) I usually try to pick an easy thing to order and then I try to limit the questions. (I also have Aphasia which makes it hard to say words and read words. I have improved a lot.) When ordering things like soup be careful you don’t drink hot food too fast. (No smell, no taste…burning your mouth.)
I always take a nap during the day. Yes, I pretend that I am Spanish. Therefore a nap is great in Europe. An hour each day is a good way to relax and take a break. Your travel should not be a contest to see everything, just be happy that you are taking a trip. Avoid headaches by realizing that you are getting worn out. (My ears start to feel like they are going to pop with pressure. No, they don’t pop, but I can tell that things are heading toward a headache.)
A museum, a park, a church, and a quiet restaurant can be a great place to relax. I usually am trying to look like I’m doing something interesting. Usually I’m just taking a long break.
Going to a grocery store is a great place to pick some lunch food and using your credit card. People won’t say too much to you. They will say some words that I may not know and I just pay my credit card and I fill my bag. Then I walk to a park and use my matador pocket blanket and eat my lunch.
The Golden Circle Tour is a safe and easy way to see a chunk of Iceland for people with a TBI. If you’re in a group and people are talking, you can have your headset on and listen to music or you can listen to what the Director is telling about the places. It’s an amazing place because there’s only about ten trees outside of Reykjavík.
Things to include in Reykjavik: Pay two dollars to take the elevator to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja. Get a hotdog at https://bbp.is Since you’re near getting a hotdog walk over to the penis museum.
Spend some time in Iceland and wear a rain jacket. Don’t bring an umbrella to Iceland…unless you want to fly like Mary Poppins and find a hospital.
Bad Ideas in Iceland