Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a tastefully-edited version of the journal I kept during the time I spent in Iceland. You can find all the entries and more on the “Iceland Transcribed” page.
And so it is that I find myself in a small bakery/sandwich shop in Reykjavik, devouring a cold sandwich at nine in the morning.
I’m not sure what my meal is comprised of. Ciabatta bread, some lettuce, cucumber, bacon, red bell pepper, and some cocktail sauce-like spread. It’s pretty good.
The flight was uneventful. I slept most of the way, and woke up to see the sun rise over the icy coast of Greenland.
Iceland is a desolate and wild place. The shuttle to my hostel passed through the lava fields. Black rock stretched to the mountains in the distance, covered sparsely by a stubborn moss-like grass. What few trees to be seen grew in clumps, and none of them were taller than eight feet.
Upon reaching the cities, buildings sprouted on the rocks. Perhaps it was the starkness of the empty lava fields that made the man-made structures to appear awkward and out of place, or maybe it was because I haven’t seen so many concrete buildings formed into modern architecture. But the residential areas have a quaint charm to them, with yards visible from the street and potted plants on almost every doorstep.
So far, everyone I’ve encountered (all three of them) speaks English. I had expected the Icelandic language to be guttural, as if the words were being choked on. Rather, it sounds as if everyone is speaking with marshmallows in their mouths. It’s like listening to clouds talk.
It’s funny, almost, that I expected to be in an entirely foreign place. As I sit in this bakery, I can see a sign for a Microsoft office, and on the way here I passed signs for HBO Ísland featuring Game of Thrones, and another for the Ellen Degeneres Show. No such thing as “truly foreign”.
The hostel won’t let me check in before 2pm, and it’s not even 9:30 yet. I think there’s a park nearby; I may go check that out. or I’ll keep meandering around. Who knows? After all, the world is my oyster.
After leaving the bakery I wandered in the direction of my hostel. According to my map, a botanical garden was nearby, so that’s where I headed.
The garden is a series of open fields, dotted with rocky spirals housing the native flora. One field is dedicated to the trees around the world (and some of them were taller than eight feet!). A small pond is home to six gray geese and a pair of mallards.
Exhausted from my travels, I napped fitfully on a bench. I was bundled up against the rain but paranoid enough that I woke up every time someone passed by.
It was an experience I do not wish to repeat.
I purchased a cup of tea for 450 Iclandic Krona (ISK) at the botanical cafe. When finished, I made my way back to the hostel where I checked in, made use of the facilities, and napped for four hours.
Reykjavik City Hostel is a three-story gray concrete thing, and behind it is a campground littered with tents. The guests are mostly in their late-20s, but I saw a family of four earlier, and am bunking with an older woman from Denmark.
Since hunger isn’t a pressing issue at this point, I will hold off on my downtown excursion until the morning. I need to find a plug adapter for my phone as well as some toothpaste, soap, and hair conditioner for the obvious reasons.
For now, I’m going back to sleep.