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.
I am in one of the public group rooms at the hostel, since I was tired of being in the dorm room and besides, the older German man decided to watch his TV in the nude in his bunk across from mine. He was covered by a blanket, but it was still more than I was comfortable being around.
All told, I think I slept about fourteen hours yesterday, although I kept waking up at night – if you can call it night. The hours between 11 pm and 3 am exist in a gray twilight, making it impossible to tell the passage of time.
I woke up at 8:30, got dressed and walked to the market nearby… I don’t feel hunger, per se, but I know I should eat. At home, I’ve never seen a grocery store open after 7 am. I got to this market at 8:58, and waited for two minutes for the doors to unlock.
Icelanders run on a much more laid-back schedule than Americans, it would seem. I like it.
I’m scheduled to go to Akranes [Ah-kren-aes] tomorrow, and now my struggles lie in finding transportation. If I’m not mistaken, several city buses go to Akranes, but my anxiety is holding me back from finding the right one because, what if it’s the wrong one?And then there’s the matter of booking the tours I want, and how to find those buses, and all in all it’s really more stressful than it should be.
After all, I got this.
When my phone is charged, I’m going to find my way downtown.
I’m at a cafe called C is for Cookie, waiting for Patty, an Instagram acquaintance from Ra.
I spent a couple hours wandering downtown – which was only a twenty-five minute walk from the hostel, as it turned out. I found Laugavegur [Lau-hga-vey-hgur, the Gs are almost not pronounced], the main shopping street. It seemed like typical tourist fare, although I did find a secondhand shop with some sweaters that I want. But I’ll be back, with a better idea of how much money I have.
I also want to see the art exhibit of Icelandic drawings; I don’t recall the exact name, but it’s in the Harpa Concert Hall, a giant black stained-glass building, elegant among the concrete mass that is Reykjavik.
It’s worth mentioning that downtown houses are much more colorful buildings than the first ones I saw yesterday.
The air, like the water, is so clean here. I wish I had a way to record the clean smell of the ocean, or how every deep breath tastes faintly of rain.
It’s pretty easy to tell who lives here and who is a tourist. The blonde hair and blue eyes could come from any Scandinavian country, but the rosy apple cheeks on the women and the angle of the men’s jaws give clear indications of shared heritage.
So far my bright red hair has been a dead giveaway that I’m not a local. That, and the bewildered look I get when they speak to me in Icelandic.
I’m just relieved nearly all of the locals speak English.
Oh, today has been a whirlwind.
I met with Patty and her coworker at the cafe. We chatted, then we went to see the lighthouse on Reykjavik Harbor and had a photo session there. Afterwards, we went back downtown, took pictures of the Hallgrimskirjka [Hallt-hgreems-kirkya], the cathedral that can be seen from almost any given point in the city.
The two of them went gift shopping, since they only had one day left in Iceland. I found some souvenier ideas, which I’ll pick up when I’m back in the city.
We had dinner at Fish & More, where I had a fish soup with bread and butter. The soup consisted of coconut milk, curry, lemongrass, and the most delicate cod I have ever encountered, along with some other seasonings.
For now my plans are to shower and call it a night. I have to check out at ten tomorrow, then hop on a bus to Akranes. There’s a black sand beach I want to check out, as well as the mountain Akrafjall, that I plan on hiking this week. Of course, that means actually getting on a bus…