The last 12 plus hours have felt like a hazy dream. That could be because of the lack of sleep or the adrenaline from being in a new country for the first time. But how can you sleep with all the beauty in Reykjavík From the bus ride to the hotel Fosshotel Baron you see the beautiful Iceland moss covering the grounds and the mountains off in the distance. Once in Reykjavík the buildings and town give off a quaint feeling.
Walking along the shoreline, reminds you a bit of Chicago’s lake front, except in Iceland you see mountains in the background not just endless amounts of Lake Michigan water.
Touring the city of Reykjavík was like seeing something from a movie, it was hard to believe that this quaint city was gonna be crowded with people soon for Iceland Airwaves. We had the opportunity to talk with Heiðdís Einarsdóttir who is an International Relations and Marketing Manager for Visit Reykjavík. She was more than welcome to let us know anything we wanted to know about Iceland and the many festivals they plan, and what exactly goes into these festivals, giving us a major insight on what also goes on within Iceland and how close of a community they become with these festivals. We also were able to learn more about Icelandic history, especially on how they still keep with some viking tradition. She was even gracious enough to offer us coffee and cookies, which for a tired group of people was a great pick me up. Heiðdís Einarsdóttir gave us a little taste of what Visit Reykjavík was trying to do, to not only make visitors in Iceland feel more welcomed, but give Reykjavík its own brand with the line “Reykjavík Loves”. She gave us a few samples of this on that all said those same words but with what was represented inside them. Her welcoming personality, and the welcome everyone gave us at Reykjavik City Hall, they really want everyone who comes in to feel welcomed and to quote Ms. Einarsdóttir “not leave with a bad taste in their mouth.”
From then on we were able to change up walking miles upon miles, to getting the chance to put our feet in one of Iceland’s oldest indoor swimming pool called Sundhöllin. Which is interesting, because unlike pools in America, you must completely wet your hair, wash under your arms and feet, and your private parts before even getting into the water. Then after swimming you must shower again, but that’s due to their geothermal pools and making sure bacteria doesn’t get into the water. I would say smelling the water in the shower for the first time defiantly reminded me of rotten eggs. It was amazing though, the water didn’t burn if you ended up opening your eyes underwater, and you didn’t have that chlorine feeling afterwards. Not only did they have the indoor pool but had outdoor hot springs; which felt great when you were fully emerged in the water out of Iceland’s cold weather.
We had truly only eaten food in Reykjavik twice, once was these amazing Icelandic hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. If ever given the chance to try them, they are absolutely worth it. I wasn’t sure what was actually on it at first but it ended up tasting super delicious. Then after swimming and getting all settled in the hotel we went to Burger Joint which let me tell you, they have most amazing burgers. I’m not sure if it was because of how hungry I was but they should be added to the top of my list in the best burgers I’ve ever had.
Closing off the night was a surprise excursion, which we were almost fooled about it being a haunted tour, instead it was actually a northern lights tour. We were able to see the lights but not in the full dancing green that we had hoped. But we were able to see the beautiful stars in the sky before the clouds came in. Not only that but the tour guides were the best in trying to give us the chance to see the northern lights. Reykjavík Excursions took us to multiple stops in hopes that we would be able to see the lights elsewhere. The gesture was thoughtful and brought back the ideas that Heiðdís Einarsdóttir works to accomplish by having all those who visit Iceland to feel welcome and enjoy their time.