Saturday, October 1, 2016

ICELAND: Exploring Reykjavik - The Smoky Bay

We flew into Iceland overnight (and with a 4-hour time change) it was around 7 am when we landed. After going through customs and picking up our rental car we were on our journey through what seemed like a pre-historic wonderland on an overcast day. Our first day was to be spent in Reykjavik exploring what the city has to offer. The city, which is home to 2/3 of the islands population is located 40 minutes from the airport. We got there early enough to get a great parking spot next to our first location, Hallgrímskirkja.

Hallgrímskirkja is the center point of the city and an amazing piece of architecture that is hard to miss. It was opened in 1986 as a Lutheran Parish church and is the tallest structure in Iceland. The architecture of the building was inspired by the basalt formations which can be found in other parts of the island. After paying a small fee for a ticket, we were able to use the small elevator to visit the top floor. The top of the church provides the best view of the city below, and is a great stop for photos or to see the colorful rooftops of the city.

Sun Voyager statue 
The Sun Voyager Statue is a stainless steel structure near the ocean. The steel reflects the sky's colors, providing an excellent focal point for sunset photos (although we stopped by while it was quite overcast). 

The main shopping street of downtown Reykjavik is located within a short walk from Hallgrímskirkja. The street is also home to most of the bars and nightlife of the city. While we don't typically do much shopping while traveling, one of the best parts of wandering through Reykjavik is spotting all of the great street art along the way (and the local cats!).

Harpa is the concert hall, and is recognizable due to the geometric glass designs that texture the entire building like a beehive. Harpa is hard to miss, and inside you can find some info on display about Iceland. 

Food & Drink
In Iceland, it is a little difficult to find affordable food. We ended up eating at The Noodle Station, and having a drink at the Lebowski Bar - a Big Lebowski themed bar with craft beer and a menu full of white Russians. Due to the cost, we didn't eat much local food within the city, and we only went out that first night. 

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