Okay, let’s get these out of the way:
No, it wasn’t that cold. It was about 40 degrees.
No, everything wasn’t super cheap because of economic collapse. Food and transportation were still major expenses.
They speak Icelandic and yes, most people speak English.
Everyone is very friendly.
No we didn’t see Bjork.
Reykjavik felt more like a suburb, like a far less dense and congested Queens, moreso than a major city. At times we found ourselves walking alone on streets that were lined with single family dwellings. Even within the town center there were moments when we were alone. Though it was the Easter holiday time, think about how often that happens in Times Square. Mmm… never? With less than 400,000 residents you’ve got a lot of elbow room in Iceland. I loved that part.
The ambulatory of Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s tallest building and most visible city landmark looks quite, hmm, boob-like? to me. Unfortunately the church’s tower has been under restoration since October 2008, so we only have scaffolding shots of the front. When we entered we were in time to hear a chorus rehearsing in the cathedral’s empy halls. With only 4 other people in the church, it was almost like they were singing just for us.
The city unfolds into view from the top of the tower observation room:
The “FussMops”t. Kenny needs to work on his backwards writing.
When you’re walking around the pavered streets you have an awareness of the mountains and the water from seemingly everywhere.
City Center (Centrum) where all of the motorcyclists congregated.
Reykjavik Cetrum Hotel where we stayed.
Hotdogs are really popular in town. They’re called pylsur. This stand always had a line.
When I let the cat out of the bag that our little family would be spending our spring break vacation by taking a trip to Iceland, I was more than once met with one word. Why?
I found it more than a little odd that such a fascinating and unique environment would garner such simple, closed reaction. Now that I’ve gone and returned my hunch that the only people that ask why, know what amounts to zero about Iceland was correct. Not that I am any sort of expert or even what would be considered knowledgeable about the subject but all along I’ve thought the correct question should have really been Why Not?
What I knew of Iceland before I left was that it was a naturally rugged and raw, beautiful place. For about a year now it has been dancing on my subconscious as place I must visit soon. Life has a funny habit of passing you by in a blink so when opportunity knocked on my email box this past March I thought it best to take the leap. And with that, off we went in to the red sunrise…
On our drive from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik the landscape rolled out in very lunar-like crumbly chunks of rock that wore moss sweaters covered in a dusting of powdered sugar. On one side sat the ocean while the other perimeter was surrounded by mountains.
The combination of the natural excitement you feel when you find yourself in a new and faraway place coupled with the unique view everything presented under the orange glow of the morning sun awakened a boiling excitement that this was going to be a great trip. Off we went to Reykjavik…
Þingvellir National Park
The drowning pool where sinful women were put to death.
Lots of wishes there…
Icelandic Ground Heart
I was surprised to see a very large population of motorcycle riders around Reykjavik. It really drove home the idea that people are the same everywhere. Squids, crusty old pirates, adventure guys… all the usual suspects, just waaaaaaay up north.
The Reykjavik police have it good, wouldn’t you say? Check out one of their FJRs:
We just returned from our vacation in Iceland last night. Pics and words to follow soon. Stay tuned!