03 January 2014

Reykjavik Day 1

Yesterday was a fun first day in Iceland! So first impressions based on one day: Iceland does have quite a bit of ice, on the roads and sidewalks, and it really should be renamed Windland because it is so windy! The cold wouldn't be so bad if the wind wasn't so biting. And it's really dark - the sun doesn't rise until 11am and it sets at 4pm; I definitely couldn't live here, I need sunshine! And things are really expensive here...which is something I knew, but didn't just realize how expensive until I started spending money.

I arrived at the hostel at about 8:30am, so too early to check in, and too early to do anything, so I read for a bit until 10am when stores and museums start to open. I had three things I wanted to see, and ended up only seeing one! The first museum was closed...and the second was a bit of a walk, and I definitely wasn't feeling up to trying the buses - the words here are too hard to even try to pronounce, by the end of yesterday I was saying 'the L word street' and 'oh that one that starts with S.'

The hostel is on one of the main streets (it starts with an L) so I just started wandering down it, popping into little shops along the way. I made my way to the Reykjavik City Library, where I stopped and browsed for a bit and learned that Icelandic authors are shelved alphabetically by first name, not last! It had a great children's area, with a lot of kids using it. And since I'm not blogging for a library class, I'll stop talking library stuff! 

My favorite part of the day occurred when it finally got light enough, and I peered down a side street to see this view:

I tried to get closer, but a wicked wind was blowing in from the water and after taking shelter behind a building, I stopped trying. It's just amazing to be in a city center and then suddenly have that view! 

One of the most recognizable sights in Iceland is this church: 

I know if I try to spell it out, I'll get it wrong, so its a long word that begins with H. You can take an elevator to the top, to see a view of the city, but I chose to just look inside, which was free. It's a very sparse, modern church:

By now it was 3pm so I headed back to the hostel to check in, and then just read in the lounge a bit. I attempted to book a Northern Lights tour at night, but the company I wanted to go with cancelled the tours due to the cloud cover, so no aurora yet. Still have three more tries to see it! Back in the room to bundle up for dinner, I met one of the roommates, Thijs from the Netherlands :) We went out to search for dinner and I got to play tour guide, since it was the same street I wandered through earlier in the day! If anyone wants a guide to show them the main streets of Reykjavik, pointing out the puffin shop and the polar bear shop, I'm available! So I'm not mentioning that while we both got burgers, his was a minke whale burger...which apparantly is not endangered and is available also in steak form! After dinner we walked down to the harbor, and saw big fishing vessels unloaded their catch and also saw all the Christmas lights decorating everything. I absolutely love lights, and they certainly need something to brighten up the darkness. We popped into a sports bar (which was showing football and bull riding!) where I had a delicious hot cocoa and then wandered back to the hostel, taking a scenic route, even though it was a bit chilly. 

The best part about travelling alone is getting the chance to meet someone really nice, who if you were travelling with someone you probably wouldn't have talked to, and then getting to have a fun time, when if I had been by myself I'm pretty sure I would've just gone straight to bed! Worst part about making travel friends is that you each end up going your separate ways...I'm off on the glacier tour tomorrow, and he's going whale watching and then driving to where orcas feed during the winter - that would be wicked cool to see orcas!

1 comment:

  1. It' interesting to learn how limited their daylight hours are - what is their summer like? Don't get blown away! Love ya, Mom and Dad