The next group of posts are probably going to be the most difficult for me to write. How does one go about capturing with words the amazing sights of a place like Iceland (or anywhere for that matter). Even if I bombard you with picture after picture (which I will), it will only show you a glimpse of what it’s like to actually be in Iceland- wind and all. I suppose the easiest thing to do will be to tell you about what I saw each of the days I was there. I’ll do my best to be concise but also to give information that is important for anyone who may choose to visit Iceland in the future. These posts will also force me to look up the names of all of the places I went to since most of the time I just thought of them as “that waterfall” or “that geyser” or “some fishing village.” So without further ado…
Day 1 and Day 2 (August 10th & 11th, 2014)–Reykjavik
Weather: Partly Cloudy, fluctuating between jacket weather and t-shirt weather depending on when the sun was out
I arrived in Reykjavik at 10:00am, tired, jet-lagged and so-very-grateful that I only had to stand in-line for 10 minutes for passport-check (compared to it taking 40 minutes to get through customs/ the passport check-point in New York). I quickly bought a ticket for the Flybus Airport Shuttle. The ticket cost 1,950 ISK (~$16.50) which, when you think about it, isn’t too bad of a deal for a 45 minute bus ride into town. You have the option of buying a round-trip but that isn’t really necessary since they usually have multiple buses going to and from BSI, one of the bus terminals in Reykjavik. You can even pay extra for the Flybus to drop you off at your hotel. I chose to be dropped off at BSI since the mass accommodation where I would be staying wouldn’t be ready until 3:00pm (it was ~11:00am when I got to BSI).
I decided to head to the Old Harbor since it was a pretty straight path from BSI to there. On my way I found Tjörnin (which means “the lake” or the pond”). Here, the seagulls pose for tourists in hopes of getting a snack. I also walked by Iðnó, the beautiful venue where we had all but one of our dances while were in Reykjavik.
Once I reached the harbor I had the best hot dog I have ever had that I bought for less than 400 ISK. The hot dog sat on top of onions and bacon (apparently they love bacon in Iceland) and had some sort of delicious sauce on it. I then had my picture taken in front of a Landhelgisgæslan, (Coast Guard Ship), visted the Harpa, a concert hall that has only been open since 2011, attempted and failed to reach Þúfa, this random green hill that I guess is a work of art, and then walked back to BSI, at which point the adrenaline from being in Iceland had worn off and I had to rest several times beside Tjörnin.
The last thing of note that I saw that day was Hallgrimskirche, a giant church that became our landmark whenever we had to get to the city center of Reykjavik. According to Wikipedia, Hallgrimskirche is the largest church in Iceland and took 38 years to build!
Weather- Sunny, jacket weather in the morning, tank-top weather in the afternoon
For our second day in Iceland, most of us staying in the mass accommodations decided to visit Perlan (pearl), a restaurant/ observation deck that gives you a panoramic view of Iceland. I think almost all of us bought ice cream while we were there.
After Perlan, we headed to the Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach (it’s somewhere behind Reykjavik University in the picture below). There was a hot tub near the locker room and a semi-enclosed lagoon that was still too cold for me to go into.
After we had relaxed for a bit, Tale and I decided to strike out on our own, visiting Hallgrimskirche on our way to finding a place to eat lunch.
We found the lovely Cafe Babalu where we both ordered tea and Italian food (I got a ham and cheese panini and Tale got Lasagna). Several of the employees were American, perhaps taking a summer to mix work and travel abroad.
We wandered around for awhile, went to the Old Harbor where I showed Tale the Harpa and then caught a bus back to the mass accommodations where we rested until it was time to head out for dancing.