Today was our second day on the island and it did not disappoint! We woke up this morning and had breakfast and was on a tour bus by 9:00. We took a bus tour around the outskirts of Reykjavik which was really great because it covered different parts of the city that we weren’t able to explore on foot yesterday. We started in the famous church Hallgrimskirkja which is a gothic looking sacred destination in Iceland. We were able to tour the inside and learn about the role of religion in Iceland. We then drove down the coast and ended up at the end of a peninsula with a lighthouse surrounded by mountains, water, and a view of the city. I honestly cannot describe this view in a way to do it justice because it was truly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Lucky for us, the clouds decided to clear right as we were at that stop and we were able to take some breathtaking pictures. Julie and I were freaking out, we could not stop taking pictures with our big lens cameras. There was also a local man sitting on the rocks with his feet in a hot spring. So casual. All I wanted to do was sit there with my feet in warm water! We got back on the bus and drove further around the peninsula and saw the “Hollywood” of Iceland where all of the richest people live and various swimming pools and sports arenas. Our last stop was at The Pearl which is a huge, round dome that you can climb to the top and have a high panoramic view of the ocean, mountains, and the city. Unbelievably gorgeous. The water and clouds were so blue I couldn’t take my eyes off of the ocean. This country is truly so unique and beautiful and I’m appreciating it more and more every new thing I experience here.
We got back downtown and had a chance to grab lunch. Julie and I went to a cafe and grabbed paninis but we spent some time talking to the bartender who was super friendly and speaks 4 languages. We are really fascinated by the worldliness of everyone on this island. After lunch we participated in a cultural parade through the city streets and got to talk to several people and see the mayor of Reykjavik. And then we had free time! Julie and I walked down to the harbor and stopped at a market along the way (hint hint souvenirs!). The market was really interesting, all local vendors and homemade stuff. The harbor was also cool, there were coast guard boats and other sailboats that were docked so we got some nice pictures there too.
Unfortunately it started raining pretty hard so we made our way back to the hostel and hung out in the lobby, a pretty popular area for young people to gather and talk. We got to talking to several guys from Norway, a guy from Ireland, and girls from Switzerland and Costa Rica. It was honestly so fun to just talk with them and get to know their lives. They kept making fun of our American accents and mannerisms and had us cracking up (“oh my god” in the valley girl voice with a hair flip is apparently typical American haha). And I learned that expression in Norwegian and displayed an admirable accent– success! We were told that people who are “lost in life” tend to wander to Ireland to figure it all out. Wink wink you know where I’ll be after graduation. Just kidding :). Time flew and we spent a good 2 hours just chatting with them. We then met up with our group for a mini “play” about the history of Iceland. It was a one woman show in a Viking themed bar and was really funny. We talked with her afterwards too and all in all I can conclude that these people are all so genuinely free spirited and happy. They want to have fun and live with no worries and it is so inspiring. This is definitely a life cleanse that has already been really useful for me.
After the play we grabbed some dinner (pizza duh) and crepes with Nutella and strawberries, delish. Somehow it’s already midnight and in Iceland the night is young. I’m still a little tired but powering through! I really don’t want to miss a thing and this trip has been proving to be absolutely fabulous. Tomorrow we get to leave the city and do a day trip to a famous national park area, can’t wait!