I felt an odd hollowness once all our belongings were cleared out. It was sad to say goodbye to the place we lived for five years, and even harder to say goodbye to friends. It felt really terrible to be throwing that all away. At the same time, it was liberating and good to clear the brain by having little possessions to possess you, and it felt awfully brave to have nothing on your keychain. We didn't have so much pressing us to Paris where we couldn't take a few days for ourselves. I had an odd urge to see Iceland. icelandair has a brilliant deal where you can fly to europe and take an extended layover for free, all in the name of tourism and commerce.
Iceland is one of the wealthiest and most developed country in the world. They have no military, but a huge solical welfare system. While it was a pain in the ass to have to pack for a week of sub-arctic exploration while we were on our way to temperate Paris, it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up.
While landing in Reykivik at a really brightly lit 5:30 in the morning was a bit disoreientating, it was an easy 5 hour flight from New York. We found the names of places almost impossible to pronounce, but we didnt encounter too many people that didn't speak perfect English.
We spent a day exploring Reykivik, the small but mighty Capitol. The whole of Iceland has a little over 300,000 people, and most of them are in this area.
It's tidy and neat and an easy city to get around. We were instantly drawn to Hallgrímskirkja, the immense church. It was beautiful and sparsely Scandinavian in design.
It was a bit of a dreary day, but you could see Esja could be glimpsed in the cloud cover.
We decided to best wait out the rain at Loki cafe across the street, where we had a lovely simple lunch of fish and soup, and Bryan found out that he loved the putrid fermented shark they serve.
The landscape around was devastatingly beautiful. Lots of mysterious and angry looking steam vents letting you know that the earth beneath your feet is very much alive.
Kind of sad, but Iceland does take whales from their sea.
You can get minke whale steaks and sashimi and kebabs at a lot of places. I refused to try it. It felt too wrong. It was also a bit disturbing that the whaling ships and the whale watching ships dock in the same harbor. Let's hope they coordinate, lest some tourist will end up taking home some gruesome photographs.
We stayed in a tiny guesthouse in Seltjarnarnes, right on the sea.
They had a rug that used to be a pony. For real. I still don't know what took make of that.
Watching the sun set at 10 pm really makes your jetlag a little more perplexing than usual. Having blackout shades in your hotel is pretty important, as it stayed dusk until midnight and the sun was up again at 4:30. It was fantastic as long as you remember to have dinner, and we were clued into a local hot pot and swimming pool that really revived us. Soaking in the hot springs is a local pastime that I wish more cultures would adapt.