One of the reasons I started a blog was the chance to revisit trips I took long ago, some since before I created this digital space. Take Iceland, for example. It was one of my favorite vacations to date, and I haven’t so much as flipped through my photos since I got back from there in 2007. So here we go…
I guess I’d always wanted to go to Iceland for the intrigue factor alone, but it wasn’t until I was planning a trip back to Germany for Oktoberfest with my former classmates that I realized it was very much a reality. Reykjavik is a mere four-hour flight from New York, and if you book a round-trip flight to mainland Europe via IcelandAir, you can tack on a stay of up to seven nights in Iceland—for free. So I did just that.
But you could easily use up your time in a week by spending a couple days in Reykjavik, taking a trip out to the Golden Circle, one of Iceland’s most popular day tours, and meandering along the South Shore, stopping at scenic overlooks along the way. I quickly discovered a week would only allow you to scratch the surface in the land of fire and ice.
Still, I made the most of the time I did have. Back then, I was really into CouchSurfing, so I contacted a few surfers in Reykjavik, booked my first two nights at a hostel downtown, then wound up staying with Hanna and James—two of the loveliest “surfers” I’ve ever met—for the remainder of the time.
While they took me all over the country on their days off of work, I had one day to explore Reykjavik all on my own As always, I set out by foot, no plans, no clue of where I was going, and let my legs do the guiding.
The biting cold air was refreshing and clean, and there’s something simplistic and appealing about the clean lines of Scandinavian architecture. It’s what I loved so much about our quaint little town in Denmark and what made me fall in love with the Icelandic capital.
The same goes for the candy-colored buildings. You don’t find houses in such brilliant hues anywhere in the United States.
It was cold as the dickens while I was there, in September, the official start of winter. I packed all wrong for that trip and wound up wearing the same outfit—which consisted of piling all the clothes I packed on top of one another in warm layers—as I was heading to Munich, where it was a balmy 70 degrees, for a week after Reykjavik. But I was still grateful for a steady stream of blue-sky days; despite the ever-present scattering of clouds, rain during my time there was little.
Reykjavik is flanked by water from several sides, which makes it all the more photogenic. Add that to a constant light cloud cover, and you’ve got the perfect setting for taking pictures. I only traveled with a point-and-shoot at this period of my travels, so I really can’t wait to go back with my fancy DSLR gear!
The Old Town area is very walkable and compact, so I had seen much of it in a handful of hours. When James got off work, he picked me up in his car and drove me to the lighthouse on the outskirts of town. It was here where the views were the most magnificent.
Hands down, Reykajvik is one of the top five cities I’d like to take SVV to one day. I just hope that one day isn’t too far off.