13 September 2017

My Scandinavian Adventure: Reykjavik

I have few frames of reference for Iceland. Arriving at Keflavik Airport and driving the 40 or so miles into the capital city, you drive through vast lava fields that are reminiscent of the Big Island Hawai'i. Except, of course, for the weather. Though it was early August, the temperature was in the 50s Fahrenheit, rainy, and foggy. It felt auspicious, but of my 14 days in Iceland, only three were similarly inclement. The weather was mostly mid-50s to mid-60s and partly sunny during the days and mid-40s at night. If you go, bring ~4 layers!

Reykjavik itself, or at least the area where our AirBnB was located in the heart of the downtown, reminded me of nothing more than Park City, Utah, a sort of resort area with lots of touristy shops, pubs, and nice restaurants. Others of our group stayed in a lovely residential area about a 15 minute walk away, near the university.

Iceland in general is expensive—more than say Honolulu or NYC, but there are ways to control costs. For example, our flat had a kitchen, and we ate breakfasts there and found neat, inexpensive ramen shops. We shopped at the local supermarkets as well. When we ate in restaurants, we were surprised to find items such as whale, reindeer, and puffin on the menu. Iceland is one of only three countries allowed to hunt and butcher whales legally—Norway and Japan being the other two. Fish and lamb are the main protein staples. But seriously folks, you don't go to Iceland for gourmet dining (though you can find it there).

The city itself is, like the other Scandinavian cities I visited, tidy and clean. The air was incredibly fresh and the water, pumped in untreated from the glaciers, tasty, though when you first turned on a faucet that had been unused for sometime, you got a whiff of sulfur from the underground volcanic activity.

The family converged on Reykjavik from three separate directions, so we spent three nights here getting our bearings and adjusting to the time difference (10 hours for the Hawai'i crew) and the midnight sun. We rented a car for the time in the city, and I made the Golden Circle trip twice with two separate crews (more about that in the next post). (As always, click pics to embiggen.)

Statue of founder Leif Erikson (donated by the US in recognition of Viking discovery of North America) in front of Reykjavik's iconic cathedral.
Reykjavik Performing Arts Center
Woo-hoo! Did not expect that!
Exploring Reykjavik's walkable downtown.
You guys go on ahead, I'll be in here for awhile.
Pretty much says it all.
Reykjavik from the top of the cathedral. 
Reykjavik street troll and some costumed stuffed dummy.


Mongo, At The Moment said...

The parents of my Godchildren (and the Kinder) did two weeks in Iceland last fall; they found it an incredible place, full of desolate beauty (one of them nearly took what would've been a fatal fall out in the hinterlands) and interesting, hidden cultural things.

Smut Clyde said...

Gonna get there one day.