We didn’t mean to go to Iceland. When we were searching over the winter for airfares to Amsterdam, we realized it was half the price to stop over in Iceland. As we were about to buy those tickets, we wondered if maybe a three-day layover would be the same price as a five-hour layover…and it was. So with no further thoughts beyond “Iceland sounds cool,” we added three days in Iceland to our trip. And we’re very glad we did.
We were well warned before coming here that Iceland would be expensive. Sadly, coming from Brooklyn we aren’t that shocked at most of the prices. The gift stores seem standard tourist-expensive, and the restaurants are comparable to the pricier ones in Park Slope. Still though, we opted to grocery shop and cook at our airbnb rather than eat out. Brian’s Aunt Chris told him about a great fish market in town where they shopped for deliciousness, but given that neither of us really love the taste of fish, we’re sticking to the grocery store. Sorry Iceland, you are yet another country to be disappointed by our fish-avoiding taste buds.
The landscape driving to Reykjavik from the airport was beautiful – jagged rocks covered in moss, a muted purple sky instead of night, Ireland-green fields, and a surprisingly placid steel-gray ocean. In Reykjavik, everything from the architecture to jewelry to clothing to artwork feels reminiscent of that landscape, and it all somehow reminds you of a volcano or moss-covered rock or a piece of ice about to break into two.
We spent the first day in Reykjavik walking through the city and getting a feel for the area. Here are some pictures from our exploring.
Harpa Concert Hall – Open but still a work in progress so it smells like salt air and new construction and looks like a block of ice.
Solfar (The Sun Voyager) – a skeleton of a viking ship always almost about to launch off to sea.
Hallgrimskirkja (or what we call the really really big church). This guy is a few blocks from our airbnb and was one of the first sights we saw after getting off the bus. Well done, Iceland.
Leif Erikson Statue in front. Iceland is very insistent that he actually discovered America way before Columbus but just forgot to tell anyone.
Inside – A whole lotta organ.
AND a keyboard with a rear view mirror – something I often wanted as a kid…
The jewelry in Iceland is after my heart – huge asymmetrical chunky pieces of silver and gold wrapped around broken pieces of lava, rings that stand two inches off your skin… I could do some damage here.
Despite the gray sky and gray ocean, Reykjavik is vivid and colorful thanks to the vibrant buildings and street art.
…and the green grass (here in front of the Stjórnarráðið building)…
…and the colorful bikes that denote pedestrian-only streets.
Excess geothermal energy = heating coils under the streets so the ice melts. Smart.
And, of course, street trolls.