Iceland, Day 1


Iceland was amazing. It’s hard to describe. It’s like a fishing village on the moon. It’s not exactly European, but it’s certainly not North America. It is wholly unique and unlike any place I have ever visited.

The first day is mostly a haze. Our fight was a redeye which left JFK at 9:00 pm and arrived in Keflavik at 6:15 a.m. Wanting to make the most of our time, we dropped our bags at our guesthouse and headed out to explore.

Our first stop was Grái Kötturinn (The Grey Cat) for coffee and pancakes. This is one of the few places in Reykjavik that is open so early and the pancakes and coffee hit the spot. After that, we headed to Austurvöllur, the square at the center of the town, to find a tourist information center where we bought day passes that pretty much gave us admission to everything in the city.

After that, we spent the day getting lost. The biggest challenge was Reykjavik’s size. The problem wasn’t that it was too big, but that it was too small. As far as national capitals go, Reykjavik, with its 120,00 residents, is tiny! We kept overestimating how far we had to walk to get places. It didn’t help that the streets and buildings were not well marked. And that we were operating almost no sleep. Eventually, we gave up trying to find specific things and just wandered, venturing into museums as we stumbled upon them.

On our first day we visited:

  • 871±2 Setlement Museum
  • Hólavallagarður Cemetery
  • Tjörnin (pond in the center of the city)
  • National Museum & National Gallery of Photography
  • Dómkirkjan (City Cathedral)
  • Harpa
  • Harbor
  • Reykjavik Museum of Photography
  • Hafnarhús (Harbor House Museum)

As far as museums go, we aren’t talking the Smithsonian or the Met. With the exception of the National Museum, they were all pretty small and it didn’t take long to see all there was to see. Even so, the exhibits were interesting and it was a great way to start the trip given that neither of us knew much about Icelandic history and culture.

By 5:00 p.m. or so, we were tired, cold and hungry. It didn’t help that it was completely dark at this point. We settled on the first restaurant we found – Café Paris – and enjoyed giant bowls of seafood bisque. Then we headed back to our guest house and promptly fell asleep.


12 November 2012. Tags: , , , . Photography, Travel.

One Comment

  1. 2013 « Pray. Eat. Run. Write. replied:

    […] I vacationed in Iceland. […]

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