Iceland – the first weekend

After landing in Reykjavik and getting through the border control process (which was very smooth), I boarded the Fly bus to my hostel Hlemmur Square. The total journey lasted 45 minutes and I reached the hostel around 1:30am. A quick check-in and then I crashed. I had the weekend to look forward to and needed the rest.

After a good night’s sleep and a late start, I walked out of the hostel intending to cover many sights as possible (I knew the city is small so when I started I felt a day was enough). While the sun god was still smiling, I quickly took a lot of pictures of the snowy mountains and the long shoreline – it  was beautiful. It reminded me of New Zealand especially the snowy mountains. I walked slowly along the shore towards old town. On my left were these high rises (indicative of the modernity of this city) and to my right, the vast ocean. Eventually, I crossed a Viking ship and reached the old harbour.

I love water bodies and ships (though I prefer train journeys) and therefore I felt a sense of calm and serenity as I absorbed what was in front of me. The sea was calm, the place quiet and it reminded me of a the philosophical need to find calm waters in a sea of chaos.

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I continue walking and to some extend a bit aimlessly to “find” new places. I did find a lot of street art. I love street art – it brings about the personality of a city.

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Then finally I reached Hallgrímskirkja. I paid 900 kronas to take the lift up for the panoramic views of the city (on a nice bright day, I think it it worth paying especially if you are into photography). The church itself is very elegant.

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In between these sights, I continued to walk around the streets especially the main street Laugavegur lined with its shops and bars – just like any other city: nothing special.

So what stood out in this city? Nothing spectacular, in my opinion, in terms of sights. However  on Sunday I had fish and chips in a local restaurant and this is what stood out. The fish (cod) was fresh – the fish melted in my mouth. I am used to fish and chips in the UK. However more often than not, the fish isn’t fresh. Here it was and it was the best fish and chips I have had in a long long time.

Reykjavik is also known for its coffee culture and I went to Reykjavik Roasters and had one of the best coffees I have tasted. The coffee was rich, strong and left a strong after taste – just the way I liked it. It hit my senses with the first sip and the taste lingered long after I finished the sip. I loved it.

On Sunday evening, I went for a tour: Taste of Saga. My friends can vouch for me: I love drinking and I absolutely love beer. The Taste of Saga (http://grayline.is/tours/reykjavik/taste-the-saga-brewery-tour-8706_12) is a 2 hour tour where there are 2 objectives: you learn as much as you can about the history of alcohol (did you know that beer was banned for a long time and pilsner with 2.5% alcohol isn’t considered alcoholic!) and you drink a lot. I tried (and I mean half a can/pint each) atleast 5 types of beer , beer substitute (with a nasty liquor called brennevin) and twice filtered beer (this brewery filters thrice so this beer was quite cloudy but surprisingly tasty).

It was a good start to my trip. I hadnt done the main museums yet and I planned to cover those during the week. I had the Golden Circle to look forward to on Monday.

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