Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Out of Iceland and into Dubai

Once again we woke up to sun and warm weather in Akureyri. I've been watching for a few weeks and it seems to be consistently warmer up here than in Reykjavik which seems very odd. We needed to check out by 11 so we just went downtown to sight see. 

We ate our picnic in a parking lot with a view of a massive cruise ship that has somehow entered the tiny harbour. 

After lunch we dropped Barton and Nikolai off at the local airport for their quick flight to Grimsey Island (see previous post) where they got to cross the Arctic Circle. We spent a couple of hours checking out different neighbourhoods and enjoying a snack at a book store/coffee shop. 

We had a long layover there, about 5 hours, but just getting from one terminal to the other and through customs and security etc took a good long time. I was happy I hadn't taken the risk in booking the flight to Dubai with only a 2.5 hour layover! They have a great family lounge with a play area and game room - excellent way to spend the time. 

We picked them up at 3:30 and headed back down to Reykjavik, this time taking the island highway down the west coast. If you had more time, you could stop frequently to have a quick dip in a thermal bath as there are signs all along the highway letting you know where they are.Just before Reykjavik you enter a 6km tunnel to save yourself a 45 minute drive around. We couldn't hold our breath the whole time...

Getting up the next morning was a bit rough as we tried to get out the door by 5:30. We were once again on Icelandair for the easy flight of 2.5 hours into Heathrow. It was pretty darn exciting to be there for the first time!! Riley was excited to get a shot of Buckingham Palace from the air! 

This flight stretch is the longest of our summer journey. The ticket said it would be 7 hours, but the passenger announcement said it would be 6:20, which is always a fun surprise! 

This was also the most exciting because we got to fly the Emirates Airbus 380 - the largest passenger plane in the world. It's a double decker and rumour has it that the first class suites have couches and showers... Though we wouldn't know (and never will). It was pretty awesome though. We were row 65 and not even close to the back. The attendants were so friendly (one was from Vancouver??) and the service was amazing. First off, at your seat you have a pillow, blanket and a new headset. Before take off they bring you a towel (cold on the first flight, hot on the second) and a menu for the flight's meal and let me tell you - it's no rubber chicken. Then they come by to all the kids and they get a fun pack. The first leg it was a lunch kit type with a Dr Seuss mini book, deck of cards, Quicksilver game cards and some snacks and a sleeping eye mask (with winkie eyes drawn on). The second time (out of Dubai on the 777) it was a cross shoulder pack with a different Dr Seuss book, more snacks, another mask and a Quicksilver travel journal. Once you're flying you get your first drink service and a snack. Partway in they bring the meal and a drink service with compliment bar drink. Before landing its another drink and snack. On the 777 she came by with a Polaroid camera, took our family pic (missing 2) and put in on a certificate for flying. Even though the second one was only 4:20 we got three drinks and a meal and all those other extras. 

I'm actually serious. 

Anywho... It didn't feel too terribly long and because we left in the afternoon and jumped ahead 4 hours we only felt like it was about 11 pm when we landed. We definitely felt tired but the movie options were endless so we were all occupied!!! 

We were safely in Dubai and on our third continent of the week!

As of about a week before we left home, Canadians no longer need visas to enter Dubai for up to 30 days. So we were stamped and through customs no problem. 

We picked up our luggage and stepped out into serious and glorious HEAT. We found a cab big enough for us all and were on our way. 

Unfortunately with a 3 am arrival it was necessary to book a hotel from the night before because where else would we go??? We arrived at the hotel around 4 getting a tiny glimpse of the city as we drove through. They had two rooms pretty close to each other for us so the big kids went in one and us with Mattea in the other. We crashed like no one has crashed before. 

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