Reykjavik -Friday 2/24/12

Let's backtrack a bit. I was originally going to take this trip alone. I thought it would be a great way to decompress and start 30. That said before I went to actually book I decided to invite my parents and brother.They did a great job raising me, so I thought they might want to celebrate 30 in this way with me. My brother unfortunately had other obligations and could not make it. My parents didn't blink and said yes. So every time I say in a post about this trip to Iceland, that is who I mean.

After the dark drive in from the airport, we got to the hotel, checked in, regrouped, and set off to explore Reykjavik. The city only looks big for a second and then you realize it is rather small. The city/ greater Rekyavik area is home to about 200,000 people in a country with a total population of about 320,000. The church on the hill called Hallgrimskirkja, can be seen from everywhere in the city. It was our first stop.

It is a truly unique building, like something out of lord of the rings. It has a main spire and on either side this stone curtain looking thing creating a wide front facade. The inside is pretty plain but in a beautiful way. The arches and organ are huge. The sun just happened to come out and shine through the back windows when we were in there.

No trip to this church is complete without a trip up the clock tower. You buy a ticket and take an elevator up. It hands down has the best view of the surrounding city. Take note of the time because if the bell goes off when you are up there it is pretty loud. The views are fantastic. You can see all of the colorful houses and roofs that Rekyavik is famous for. You get a perfect view of the bay and surrounding mountains. I love a birds eye view of any place I visit because it helps me orient directionally speaking and this was perfect for that. Even on a cloudy day I think it is worth it to go up. The weather changes so quickly here it might have changed by the time you get to the top.

Just down from the church is the main shopping street, Laugavegur. We just took a quick walk and didn't really shop, maybe on Monday. However, we did stop in a noodle shop for a quick lunch. I didn't have much, my stomach was more jet lagged than the rest of me. After our bite, we headed down to the bay where the much undersold (by every tour book and website) harbor/bay walking trail is. We started on one of the more eastern sections of it casually strolling and taking pictures. Again the sun randomly came out for a bit before it started to drizzle again. The views during this walk are beautiful. You can see the mountains across the bay and the water that rushes up to meet them. This trail as we later found out via car runs the entire length of the bay to Grotta Point where there is a lighthouse. The trail then continues all the way around the backside of the peninsula through Seltjarnarnes. I assume in the summer it is filled with walkers, runners and bikers.

The rest of the late afternoon/evening was some variation of the following. Look for a miscellaneous place on the map, say the town hall, find it, take a picture, walk around a bit, marvel at how we could swear the sun was in the exact same spot as two hours ago and then move on. We saw pretty much the whole city that afternoon.

For dinner, we revisited Laugavegur street. We ate at this yellow German looking house that was a restaurant. Let's face it with this language if I didn't write down the name I am never going to remember it. It had a big number on the front of it, something like 1849 or something, but who really knows at that point I was barely awake while eating. Good meal though, I liked mine.