Destination: Reykjavik, Iceland (Part 1)

Iceland had on my bucket list of places to visit for some time, but I never had the money to go. It wasn’t until this year that I decided to really save up and *finally* book my flight to Reykjavik. With that, there was no turning back!

A week after the end of my semester of teaching, I bused myself to Paris where I then caught my flight out to Reykjavik. Journey time took about 3-1/2 hours, and soon enough I landed in Keflavik Airport around 20:00. After paying for the shuttle to Reykjavik city center, I hopped on the bus into town. It was still light out as we drove through the volcanic-based earth, both mountainous and mysterious, as if on a different planet.

Landing in Reykjavik.

I arrived at the shuttle’s terminus and headed over to my hostel about 15 minutes away. I would be staying there for two nights before moving to stay with a Couchsurfer in town for the remainder of my time in Reykjavik. I was much too tired to do anything that day besides check in, shower, have a drink at the hostel bar, and go to bed– after all, I would have the next day to explore town.

Heading out around 8:15 the following morning, I went into the city center, which was about a 15-minute walk. I started at the Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church that’s modeled after the coastal rock reliefs of the country. It wasn’t opened yet, so I checked out the Einar Jonsson Sculpture Garden just next to it, which was a small square with a few cool sculptures of Icelandic history to view– plus, it was free!

Hallgrimskirkja with Leif Erikson statue.

I then went down to Tjörnin, the city lake where the tourist office is located. Saw a bunch of ducks and other birds hanging about the shores, all the while getting a decent view of Reykjavik from the tourist office. I soon returned to Hallgrimskirkja once it opened, and checked out its interior. The inside is very much minimalist (as it’s a Protestant church), but I found the views from the top of its tower rewarding, as I could see the cute, colorful houses, i.e. the entire city, down below.

View from Hallgrimskirkja.

After my visit, I went down to the coast, strolling the seaside while passing by the Sólfarið (“Sun Voyager”), a boat statue meant to symbolize new discoveries, and the Harpa Concert Hall, whose glass architecture is dazzling to behold both inside and outside.

Harpa Concert Hall.
Inside the Harpa.

Getting rather hungry, I headed to Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a well-known food stand famous for its Icelandic hot dogs. While it doesn’t sound anything special, the Icelandic hot dog is a food staple in the country, known for being inexpensive at 5 euros and perfect as a snack or late-night bite. The fried onions on top are a life-changer, and despite it being small, it was worth a taste!

Icelandic hot dog.

More adventures in Iceland coming soon– stay tuned for Part 2!

— The Finicky Cynic

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