19 October 2010


We survived the seven hour flight to Reykjavik, and landed just as the sun was beginning to give its first light. Going through customs was a breeze aside from the sly man who managed to weasel his family of four in front of us. Funny how little things like this seem to be a big deal when you have not slept all night. Since we were not given the option to take our suitcase on the flight, we had to check our luggage. It felt so odd not being heavy laiden with our luggage trying to disembark the aircraft, I was certain I had forgotten all of my belongings at home. Fortunately our luggage was spinning around the carousel waiting for us by the time we had made it through customs. What a relief!

Once we got our silver VW Polo we were headed downtown in search of our hotel. Our hotel was conveniently located right on the harbor, right off the main road. We were too early for check in, so we dropped off our bags and set out in search of some sustenance. We made our way to Sandholt bakery and ordered the most delicious items we could see. It was there we experienced the smallest bathroom I had ever been in. Not only was the doorway tiny, but the sink and toilet were equally small.

While we opt for neutral shades of brown and grey, they paint their homes in the most delicious shades of red, yellow, green and blue.

There is a fair amount of tagging and murals in the city, but this sign caught my eye.

Refueled we headed out for some sights, the first stop was Hallgrimskirkja, a church which took forty years to build. The church was first started by the father and then later completed by the son. The church is not only a landmark for negotiating the city, but provides a bird's eye view of the city from its clock tower.

The unadorned interior is simply breathtaking.

We spent the rest of the day walking our legs off and trying not to think about how long we had really been up. We had lunch at Cafe Paris, while everyone was relishing their Sunday breakfast, we opted for seafood soup. As we split our enormous bowl of soup, I not only reflected on how happy I was we were sharing, but mistook baby octopus for noodles. The soup was hearty, the bread was delicious and after sitting down we realized the key to staying awake was to keep moving.

We window shopped, visited Tjornin the town pond where locals bring their children to feed the birds and thoroughly enjoyed the blue sky and sunshine.

So far my impressions of Iceland are as follows (these are broad generalizations, of course)

1. People speak as little as necessary to you for one of the two reasons: they are not friendly or they know very little English.

2. Reykjavik is filled with tall, slim, beautiful people people with young equally attractive children.

3. People push large stylish buggy like strollers that are very expensive.

4. Food is extremely expensive, which encourages us to share or maybe is the key to everyone looking so slim.

We stayed at Centerhotel Arnarhvoll where our hotel room was small, but stylish. I loved the leather headboard with the serpentine reading lights.

At dinnertime we found ourselves down by the old harbor next to Bullan. Bullan is this little concrete hole in the wall that offers "the deal of the century". Those words alone were enough to lure us in. After eating our hamburgers we continued strolling past churches, enjoying the cityscape and fall foliage.

For being the largest city in Iceland, Reykjavik seemed quaint, charming and adorable enough to want to capture its cuteness and keep it snug in your pocket to cheer you up whenever you needed it.

The seamless blending of old with new is a repeating theme throughout the city.

Overall conclusion of the day: a sunny Sunday is the perfect example of a slice of everyday life in Reykjavik.

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