Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekend in Reykjavik - The Highlights

My crazy spring of travel finally ended a little over a week ago. Husband J and I headed to Iceland for a long weekend.

Now before you think I've gone a little crazy, let me tell you that Iceland isn't as far away as you think, especially for those of you living in the Northeast United States and Europe. A little over 5 hours going west from New York City, and you're in Los Angeles or San Francisco. You go 5 hours in the opposite direction, and you're in Reykjavik, Iceland. :) This was Husband J's idea and not mine. When HE says, "Hey, let's go somewhere!", what am I supposed to say? No? BWWAHAHAHA. Not happening.

I know he really enjoyed our trip there, and I think a little peek at Iceland made me realize that I miss traveling in Europe. HOWEVER, it also made me realize that I don't miss the EXPENSE of traveling in Europe. Since it's a far from tropical island nation of about 320,000 people, Iceland imports many goods, and food prices are not cheap.

That being said, I will say that Iceland is a beautiful place and a really pleasant travel destination. Its great roads, natural beauty, art scene (which I didn't really take advantage of), geothermal spas, nightlife (we old folks missed that, too), and wonderful food offerings really make for a cool place for a quick visit. Plus, with a language that I was going to butcher anyway (and most times didn't even both to try to pronounce), many, many people I came into contact with spoke accent-less English. I found out most kids there learn four languages simultaneously.
You could easily spend over a week making a circle around the country (the interior is pretty desolate), but even 4 days will give you a nice introduction to it. Here's a little of our experience in Reykjavik and the parts of the countryside close by that we visited. No Bjork sightings though (Actually she lives a few minutes away from us in Brooklyn).

The interior of Hallgrimskirkja Church in downtown Reykjavik. The exterior is even cooler. 

A Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog. One of the most famous restaurants in Iceland is a hot dog stand. I'm not even kidding. 

Iceland is literally a hotbed of geothermal energy (no pun intended). One of the hot springs at Geysir

Hiking Esja, 15 minutes from downtown Reykjavik. It's a long way up, but the views are worth it. 

A statue of Ingolfur Arnarson, Iceland's first resident, in downtown Reykjavik 

Icelandic food is about fresh seafood (and lamb). Cod and grilled lobster from Sjavargrillid (Seafood Grill)

Husband J says to me last night, "No more trips for awhile, right?" I'll have to think about it, dear. :) Just kidding...well, not really.

Any Iceland lovers out there? If you were to go to Iceland, what would you want to see or do? Glaciers, wildlife, shopping, going out 'til dawn.....? 


Tony Van Helsing said...

I would love to go to Iceland although I've heard the cost of things out there is expensive.

Melinda said...

Iceland is on my short list of places I'd love to go. Now being on the west coast, I'm trying to focus on Pac Rim and Asia dream locations, but if I ever make it back to the East, Iceland will take priority!

Desiree Lowe said...

Wow! I never thought of visiting Iceland before but you do make it look quite interesting. I think I would like Icelandic food, especially the lamb part! Was that hotdog good?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

@ Tony - Yes. It's definitely not cheap. We were shocked by the prices.

@Melinda - I totally understand. I am jealous of the West Coast's proximity to Asia. Many of the places I'd like to go next are there.

@Desiree - It wasn't at the top of my list, but I'm really glad we went. The hot dog was so good that we ate there twice. :)

Nellie said...

Wow that looks like an amazing trip!!

Bonnie Joy said...

That looks incredible! And I am so glad I found your blog today because my husband and I are in the very early stages of planning a round the world trip and Iceland is the first place we want to go! May I ask where you stayed on your visit?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

@ Nellie - Thanks! It was lots of fun.

@Bonnie Joy - Bonnie, we stayed at the Hotel Holt. While not in the thick of things, it's a 5 minutes walk to most places you'd want to go to in downtown Reykjavik. The hotel has small, simple rooms and very nice public spaces. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about my trip. Feel free to e-mail me. :)

chibiwow said...

Great shots! Got this amazing place on my to visit list. Got my eye on your blog now.

Greg said...

Reykjavik is so high on my list to go to!!! I was there once, but that was on a layover between NYC and Israel back in 1993. Didn't really have time to do it justice :)

The hot springs remind me of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in the USA. Did you see any eruptions while you were there?

Also, lets talk cold.... how bad was it?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

@Chibiwow - Welcome!

@Greg - Yes! I did see eruptions. I'll definitely blog about that. Iceland is COLD. We are friends with a local family and they said that it does get into the 60's and maybe even low 70sF. I don't believe them. It was like the cold went right through you.


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