Christopher H. from California was the winner of the Propeller experience to "Explore Iceland's Beauty and Attend Reykjavik's Biggest Party!" that took place in November 2023. Below are some of Christopher's highlights from the experience.
Iceland is a magical place. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. In August, I get a notification that Propeller had a sweepstakes for the Iceland Airwaves festival. I love festivals and I love Iceland so of course I enter. I didn't know anything about the festival but I figured why not, it doesn't hurt to try. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
You never think you're going to win a sweepstakes. The odds are not in your favor but on this one, it just felt different. I was hesitant to commit to events I was invited to the same weekend as the festival, since I wouldn't be able to go if I won this sweepstakes. The drawing date 10/5, came to a close and I told my wife, "I don't think we won the sweepstakes. I know it was a long shot, but I was really hoping to win." The next morning, just after starting my workday, I see an email land in my inbox from Propeller. I scan the contents of the email and can't believe my eyes. "I'm writing to let you know you're the winner of the Explore Iceland's Beauty and Attend Reykjavik's Biggest Party experience on Propeller!"
I don't think I have ever been so surprised by something. These are the types of things you always see people winning, and you wonder if they are real, but you never actually win, or even know anyone who has won. And so the planning began.
We left Wednesday, November 1st from Sacramento to Seattle. Seattle is a massive airport and we had to change terminals. We had plenty of time and I have lounge/perk access so we grabbed some food and relaxed while we waited for it to get closer to boarding.
We landed in Iceland around 6am, which was close to midnight back home. We were quite tired but still had a bit to go. We waited for our 2 checked bags, only to find that our 2nd bag never left Seattle. The airline gave us some paperwork, took our hotel name, told us a place that we could rent jackets at no charge, and gave us 2 travel pouches with some essentials like toothbrushes. We left to find our private shuttle Propeller had reserved for us.
Our driver dropped us in front of our hotel, Center Hotels - Laugavegur. The hotel is in a great location on a main street with lots of shops.They had a little gift bag with some chocolate, a 66 north beanie (very nice), some incense, and a couple postcards. Our room was gorgeous and the bathroom felt like a spa.
We went to sleep for a few hours and woke up around 2pm. We had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. We got ready and went to pick up the rental jackets and some thermals. We grabbed our festival wristbands and headed back to the hotel to get ready and eat some dinner. We decided to grab dinner at "LÓA Restaurant". We are big on food so we ordered some appetizers and entrees. All the food was amazing.
Then, despite the jetlag, we decided to pick one venue and head there for the night. We chose Kex, a hostel that was a quick walk away and had stages on the 1st and 2nd floors. There were several artists there we wanted to see. The setting at Kex was very intimate, with only 30-40 people and we were right in front of the stage. It was an amazing experience.
The first band we saw was Haley Blais. They are a band from Canada. They were great. I highly recommend. After the band played, we talked to the band for a few minutes, bought a vinyl and the whole band signed it. Truly a priceless moment.
Later, we got front stage downstairs at for Marianna Winter. We stayed through half the set and left early to move upstairs, where a norweigan band named Skaar pronounced closer to the word "score" in English). Skaar hands down had the best performance of the whole weekend. It was their first time in Iceland and I think their music touched my soul. From the singer, to the drummer to the guy on guitar to the pianist they are just phenomenally talented.
After their set, we went back to the hotel to relax. We tried to keep with our timezone at home so we stayed up pretty late and woke up later. The hotel had free breakfast each morning, which was delicious and had plenty of options to choose from. Our bags arrived in the morning which was such a relief.
After breakfast, we went to several different Iceland Airwaves Festival venues. We saw Skaar a second time at one of the bigger venues and I was also able to grab a setlist from the stage after Metilda Lyn played, which she signed for me after the show. Metilda just released her first album and this was her first performance ever.
My 2nd favorite artist from the weekend, Goldielocks, is very new. She only has a handful of tracks out and hadn't even released her first EP yet. Her set was short (because she only had a few songs) but her voice and stage presence was amazing.
Propeller had included 2 tickets and a shuttle to the Blue Lagoon which is a spa/hotspring that attracts a lot of tourists. I was glad it was included in the sweepstakes so we got to experience it. We lucked out too because a few days after we left Iceland they had to shut down the hotsprings due to earthquake activity.
We used our rideshare credit to rent a car for two days and hunt for the northern lights. We didn't really get to capture them, but we did see them briefly from the car while driving. There was just too much cloud cover in the areas we were at.
When it was time to fly home, we grabbed a quick lunch from SKÁL! We ate our last meal with Icelandic lamb, drank our last Icelandic beer, and then grabbed our shuttle to the airport.
- Christopher H.