12 August 2013

On the Road - Reykjavik, Iceland

Hotel room view. Not too very bad.
City Center Square, Reykjavik, Iceland
Things were looking good when I was met at the airport with a gentleman holding up my name. That is such a treat when you arrive in a new and unfamiliar city at 6 a.m. My taxi driver gave me a good overview of Reykjavik on our drive into town and when he learned what I did for a living he added on a detour through the hospital area and named all of the buildings. A former fisherman, he was incredibly proud of his hometown and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I asked what he did during the long, cold winters and he said he liked to head to the beaches of Spain.

The entire population of Iceland is 320,000 and 200,000 of them live in or around Reykjavik. Happily my hotel room was ready for me at that early hour and I was able to freshen up, check out the buffet and head out into the crisp, fresh air to explore. The Fosshotel Baron was conveniently close to the harbor, downtown and main shopping district and I was determined to make the most of my only day in town even if I hadn't slept.

Reykjavik Harbor

Yep. I tracked down the murals
There are hardly any tree, but oddly the largest trees grew from the center of each tomb
Corrugated tin sided buildings. Why don't we do that?
Colorful bike gates swing out to close traffic for street events
The artist was putting the finishing touches on his mural
I have never been in such a clean, safe, efficient and yet creative and cultured place. I never changed money since they use bank cards for everything. Everyone seemed to speak English as well as Icelandic and most menus were printed with both languages. Natural geothermal water provides hot water and heat for almost all the buildings in the country and natural hot springs for soaking in and fresh water springs provide the drinking water. We were told we'd be silly to buy any water in Iceland. 

It was impossible to get lost since Hallgrim's Church is the landmark overlooking the city and can be seen from every direction. I headed back to my all white room with it's white fluffy duvet to freshen up before I met the rest of my group at 6 p.m. to check out my traveling companions. There were sixteen of us altogether and it seemed a mix of Australian, English, Swedish, Israeli, Canadian, two couples from New York and myself. Hardly anyone lived in their country of birth. The Canadian lived in Switzerland, the Isreali gentleman lived in Russia, the English lady came from Norway etc. We were a mixed up lot! 

I need to get to bed, kids. I start back to reality tomorrow with all day meetings. To learn more about Reykjavik visit my friend's Pat & Kathie's description of their trip.