Weird to have two days roll into one. Literally.
Braving the gray, rainy, windy entrance with frayed nerve endings (and CUSTOMS looming!) was no easy feat. Then, there was the dark, nagging voice, “What in the heck are we going to do for 8 hours before our apartment is ready?!”
Luckily, I had thought of that very problem and booked a walking tour at 1:30 through the main city of Reykjavik. That narrowed the long wait time by two hours. So by the time we (SOARED) through customs! yay! muddled through the ins and outs of our car rental, navigated through the mile long city street names, and successfully found the starting point of our tour, there were only 4 hours left to wait. And what do you do for 4 rain soaking hours? You sleep in your car, in the parking lot, and thank God for the 180 degree recline ability you prayed desperately for in the plane! And you sleep deep and hard. Out cold. and wake up groggy and hungry, but with two hours to grab some dinner, or is it breakfast? Oh what the heck, get lunch and call it good, ’cause you have no idea what’s going on timewise anyway!
So what we did next, I must admit I am not proud of, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was easy, we didn’t need a GPS (we’d seen it along the way) and it had to be done for sanity (and time’s) sake (not to mention a spousal abhorrence for lamb): we ate at Subway! Yep, that’s right, our first Icelandic meal was Subway! Ha!
But honestly, it was a great “scaffolding” course in meeting a new culture. Something familiar mixed with tons that is not! And all we had to do was smile and say hi, and the waitress changed from Icelandic to English without skipping a beat. But the poor girl who eventually made our sandwich, ran to a co-worker to figure out “Mayonnaise, please and vinegar.” She must have felt the same way I felt when they asked for 2,000 Krona! (about $20!) Worth every peacekeeping cent we paid! We took it back to our comfortable nap-yielding parking lot and finished it looking at this beauty:
And what better way to make a 6 inch slide down nicely than under Leif Erickson’s (Leifur Eiríksson) watchful eye.
Apparently, Norway and Iceland argue over who has the “rights” to Leif. But he was born in Iceland,
and birth has apparently earned the statue.
And though I’d like to take credit in knowing any of this beforehand, it was through our walking tour guide, Olof, tidbits of Iceland started coming alive.
In the 2 hours we moseyed through Reykjavik we learned bits of history, saw life through a local perspective, and caught ourselves looking for “elves.” In a small very eclectic group of 8, our trip to Iceland began.
There was no better way we could have found to kick jet lag out, and usher new culture in.
So now I can actually shut up a bit and let the pictures do most of the talking. (Finally!)
We stopped chasing the sun, and began to bask in it, instead. (Totally metaphorical, at that point we weren’t quite sure we’d ever see the sun again!…… but as you can see from a couple of the pics above, taken the following day, we found out the sun does shine in all its midnight glory!)
Titled: The prayer
Our first stop was the secret garden of Iceland’s famous sculptor
The Elves must have constructed this beauty
Painted in the shape of Iceland! (The eye is the volcano of 2010)
Mural art is all over.
Umm… I’ve come across lots of these incidental clicks!
This section of street seemed fairly typical. Although it was blocked by the cool bike gate below, most streets seem to be shared with walkers, bikers and cars!
These figurines are hidden throughout the city… changing locations. Mostly likely some elves up to their shenanigans!
How can you resist this kind of selfie!
I think Olof said this was a mural of some kind of music group??? I’m not sure. Cool, though, right?
My personal favorite.
And after our amazingly wonder tour with Olof (from a blog I’ve been following for a year now: I Heart Reykjavik – a MUST if you plan to go to Iceland, or like to to dream), we headed to our first Icelandic home (I’ll show those pics next entry.) and our first SLEEP in the land of the midnight sun !