Why Iceland?! Well, Iceland and the Faroe Islands have been on Bobby’s bucket list for ages (some of his favorite bands are from these two places). And over the years, I’ve adopted the desire to visit as well being a sucker for Scandinavian decor and design. Last fall, there was a 1-day sale on flights and we were so fortunate to snag some great deals for our Spring Break. And trust me, you’ll want to get great travel deals getting to Iceland because once you’re there, don’t plan to get good deals on anything else!
Bobby’s cousin John met us in Reykjavik (having flown all the way from Oregon State), so we spent the first day laying low, exploring the city, and letting John get over some jet lag. Reykjavik was truly an amazing city with it’s vast harbor, volcanic/snowy/mountain backdrop, Scandinavian style architecture, colorful homes, beautiful graffiti art, and interesting and delicious cuisine!
The first thing we did was walk out and view the harbor… it was a gorgeous sunny day and we had to see a snowy mountain before anything else. This made me miss Boston’s seaport so much! Top left photo: This is “The Harpa” – Reykjavik’s state of the art concert / music hall. The glass panel windows light up with swirly blues and greens at night, a architectural tribute to Iceland’s incredible views of the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights). Top Right: unbelievably glassy water. Bottom Right: a boat. 🙂 Bottom Right: I took this shot right from The Harpa… not every city gets a backdrop like this!
Our next stop was Hallgrimskirkja (say that 5 times fast, or even once would be impressive). This is a modern Cathedral in Reykjavik which has the highest point in the city and the most incredible 360° views! The architects designed the cathedral to emulate lava flow (an apparent theme for Icelandic architecture to reflect nature). For €6 we went to the top and took photos of the rainbow city. So worth it! (Note bizarre modern organ that look like guns a’blazin).
In the afternoon, I had some time to peek around the town by myself and check out some of the shops. I’ve always been interested in the uniquely icelandic wool creations hand-spun by local artisans. Also, there is a vast supply of kitschy puffin souvenirs. I captured many of these things to remember… and for your enjoyment! Can they make that cute baby viking beanie in my size, please!? Also, I love the brilliant wool display with black and white photo on the right (…the things I notice).
Here are some up close shots of beautiful and colorful buildings of Reykjavik.
On our way back to the hotel, we weaved through a multiplying crowd at Austurvöllur (Parliament Square). The Icelanders were there to protest their own Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who had been hiding offshore accounts (recently leaked by Panama Papers). They wanted him to resign, which he did the following day! Read this to learn more. I didn’t take photos of the protest, but I took some screen shots of a video that John took.
Next Up… the rugged side of Iceland!