Travel Diary: Iceland, December 2010

thingvellir national park iceland

30.12.2010 First impressions

The night was already a black kind of dark when my flight arrived at Keflavik airport at 4pm. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising since they have about 4 hours of daylight here in the winter.

My first impression of Iceland after all the darkness was a surreal ride across a barren volcanic desert. When I finally reached Reykjavik, the small town feel of the city felt soothing and safe.

The first thing I wanted to do was take a quick shower to freshen up after traveling all day. Apparently they warm their water with geothermal energy and apparently this energy also happens to be sulfuric, so now I smell like a three-day old egg. I guess I can get used to showering in this smell, but I think I’m gonna brush my teeth with bottled water.

reykjavik

reykjavik iceland

reykjavik iceland

reykjavik iceland

31.12.2010 Happy City

Even the traffic lights are happy here. I can’t help smiling either, everyone just seems so positive and excited, running around with their wool sweaters and blonde hair. The lines to the liquor store have gone around the block all day, though, and that doesn’t make me happy. I need to stock up for New Year’s!

I climbed to the top of the Hallgrimkirkja church tower today and got a magnificent view of the entire city and the surrounding mountains, as well as some glaciers off in the distance. So far there’s actually been a lot less ice in Iceland than I expected.

I also had whale sushi at Fiskmarkadurinn restaurant. I don’t advocate eating animals that are more intelligent than most people, but it was an experience.

 

new year's eve in reykjavikNew Year’s Eve in Reykjavik

Reykjavik’s main street Laugavegur is full of small bars and pubs and I think I’ve had a drink in each of them tonight. Some girl told me the best place to see the fireworks at midnight is at the Hallgrimkirkja, so that’s where I’m headed again.

The fireworks in Reykjavik are really extravagant and they go on for about the first hour of the new year. My ears are still ringing.

The party seems to go on all around town until sunrise, maybe even later. Sadly I’m back in my room at 3am, because I have to get at least a few hours of sleep for tomorrow – I’m going to spend January 1st on a 12 hour tour of Iceland, hiking in national parks. It’s gonna be the best day ever!

gulfoss waterfall iceland

1.1.2011 Hungover hiking is surprisingly not a good idea

This is the worst day ever. I have the worst hangover ever and I’ve been walking and walking and walking out in the cold for hours. I’m hungry, I’m sleepy and I’m cranky and I have a mysterious cut on my face from last night. I might have been hit by fireworks.

drekkingarhylur iceland

thingvellir iceland

geysir icelandAfter taking a nap on the bus I feel somewhat better. Not good, but not quite as bad as before.

I’m at Thingvellir National Park. This uniquely beautiful country just keeps getting better and better. I’ve seen waterfalls and caves and icy ponds that open up to massive underwater cave systems with naturally filtered glacial water that’s drinkable. I also got to walk between continental plates. The European and American continental plates actually have a small road in between them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just got to see some real Icelandic geysirs. These things shoot out steaming hot water high up into the air every few minutes. The pillars of boiling water actually make the surrounding air really warm. I can’t believe I’m in Iceland in January and I don’t really even need a jacket.

2.1.2011

Slept all day, don’t care.

3.1.2011

I’ve been stocking up on souvenirs. I bought a really cool fur hat, so I guess I’ll be looking like a Russian millionaire from now on. I also bought a bottle of Icelandik Reyka vodka and like ten huge bags of this incredibly tasty salty licorice they have here. I’m hooked.

I’m still here and already I’m dreaming of my next trip to Iceland.

iceland

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6 comments

  1. Janice

    Amazing pictures, Iceland looks so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go and this just made me want it even more 🙂

    Like

  2. Mira

    Such a fun story, and those traffic lighta are too cute 😀

    Like

  3. I love Iceland! Great post! I am going back for a third time this year, but this time in the summer! 🙂

    Like

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