Iceland has always been one of my most dreamed about travel destinations – well, since High School anyway. This year I finally did it! I flew out alone (smack in the middle of another cross-country move back to DC: a blog for another day), spent my first day solo in Reykjavik, then dark and early the next morning headed back to the airport to pick up my three travel companions for our 12 days in Iceland: Felix, Jerry, and Risa.
But first! Before I get to the Reykjavik portion of the trip… On my flight to Iceland, I was so very lucky to see the Aurora Borealis (aka the Northern Lights) swirl past us in the plane. The photo is crappy: moving plane, and no tripod, and I partially took it to make sure I was ACTUALLY seeing the Northern Lights, and not imagining things. But still – it was a pretty amazing start to this phenomenal trip.
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland, and the northern-most capital in the world. But despite this, and the fact about 2/3 of the population of Iceland live in Reykjavik, it’s still pretty much just a small town. Reykjavik has a European feel to it, while still having a lot of purely Icelandic qualities to it, like the colourful roofs. Going there in winter and right before Xmas meant that the sun didn’t rise until around 10am and set by 4pm (and that’s being generous). To make up for the darkness, people cover the cities and their homes in glowing holiday lights. The low sun and extended twilight also created this other-worldly and stunningly beautiful quality of light that literally took my breath away.
*Right photo by Jerry Neeko K
*Photo by Jerry Neeko K
I mostly walked around on my first day, visiting the free Museum of Photography, and stopping by at the Harpa concert hall (co-designed by one of my favourite artists: Olafur Eliasson). Once the rest of the group arrived and had been fed we went to Hallgrímskirkja for the best view of the city, then paid a visit to the Phallological Museum. We ended the night jetlagged in the cozy Kex Hostel.