I crossed off a bucket list item. I’ve been wanting to see the sites in Iceland for over 15 years. It’s become very popular now to say that you’ve been to Iceland. The people there openly state that tourism has now become their number one source of income, but the growth has been overwhelming. One tour guide stated that last year was the first year she worked year round. The FlyBus schedule seems to operate pretty much on time, there’s some confusion to drop off / pick up / change to a smaller bus, but they do their best to communicate everything to you.
Being in Reykjavik during the summer is quite extraordinary. The sun does not set. I could see the midnight sun from my airplane window. The sun hits the horizon, lingers there for an hour, then begins to rise. At one in the morning, it’s perfectly acceptable to be walking around town. And on the weekends, the bars (and loud dance clubs) stay open until 4:30 a.m. A good portion of the buildings are covered in what looks like large scale graffiti. It was done intentionally, by artists, as part of a huge music festival in 2011. Each building represents lyrics to a song.
Shopping is interesting. Each store seemed to be catering to my age group (34-46 hehe) by blasting 80s music. They’re really big on Hall and Oats. Why? That’s a mystery I didn’t solve. If you are looking for wool, you’ll find it here. Wool hats, mittens, capes, socks, and underwear.
Everyone was walking around in light winter jackets, boots or sneakers. I did not see one opened toed shoe for days. I wore flip flops to the hotel buffet breakfast one morning, and my feet got stares. Toe shaming?? Is that…possible?
Food is expensive, lunch easily ran $25.00 and dinner $40.00 for one person. I was not prepared for that. I even tried to eat on the cheap — fries were $6.00 and a simple egg salad sandwich was about $12.00
I bumped into some great people while dining. A group of four women from Sweden who were celebrating their 40th anniversary of first meeting in Iceland during a back packing trip; a Turkish couple who exchanged heart felt sympathies about bombings and terrorism and wondered my opinions of it (at the end of the conversation we were all saying “One life lost is too many”); an autistic boy and his parents – who were there to see galleries and opera, while the son explained to me in detail ball lightning, and when I showed him my photograph of the lightning storm in The Netherlands he asked his parents if that’s where they could go next.
The tourists were polite. And the locals welcoming.
If I go again, I would rent a car and see the sites on my own terms / pace. The bus tours were good, but didn’t allow for much time to be spent in one place. Being a photographer, I like to wait, spend time with an area, see the changes the light makes to the mountains, etc. Instead, I had to make do with the weather and light that happened. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I would have preferred more time.
(Taken out the window of a bus, we didn’t stop, we were hurrying to get to the next location…)