Going to Iceland was an adventure. Not only did I go to a cold place during a cold season, I went somewhere that no one I know has been. So, since I didn’t know a lot about the country, I took extra care to be observant. Here are a few of the most interesting things I noticed on my trip.
- Pedestrian City
- I walked ALL OVER the city and was so impressed by the super wide sidewalks! Often, there was a completely separate lane for bikers. I’ve been to very walkable cities before but this definitely topped the list.
- Check Out The Views
- The city wraps around a shoreline that looks out at the mountains. It’s also built so you can see the mountains from almost everywhere. I walked miles inland and there it still was, the scenic views you want to look at forever.
- No Head Nods
- I don’t know if it’s because I’m from the south or if it’s American or if it’s just Iceland but I noticed how unnoticed I was on the sidewalk. Between my brother and I, there was at least 100 people we passed on the sidewalks and not one acknowledged our existence, much less gave the “sup” head nod. I’m sure we looked like the goofy tourists smiling and nodding, occassionally saying, “Hi,” but that’s the thing to do where I’m from. This is coming from someone who is pretty antisocial, so I was out-socialed and that has never happened. Kudos, Iceland.
- Sulfur Showers
- I heard that the sulfur is noticeable in the tap water of Iceland before I headed that way. What I wasn’t prepared for was just HOW noticeable it was. When I was getting in the shower it hit me like a brick to the skull. “Woo,” I accidentally exclaimed loudly to the residents of the guesthouse. You could smell the sulfur all over the house after someone took a shower. On an interesting note, it made my skin smooth like I just put lotion on it. Who knew?
- Food Is Expensive
- It may be my American privilege but in my heart, I believed that I could find cheap food anywhere if I looked around. Then I went to Iceland. The first night, my brother and I had probably the cheapest idea of food, hot dogs and soda. It was right at $20. If I wanted a more quality (does quality factor in when discussing hot dogs?) option, I could pay less than half and get more with it. We also ate at a fast food burger restaurant and got 2 burgers, 1 fry, and 2 drinks and paid $32. We ate at several different places with several food options and the prices were substantially higher, even when buying groceries, than back home. Was not thoroughly prepared so I’m using this experience to enlighten travelers.
Here are a couple of bonus fun things, Reykjavik is home to the world’s only Phallological Museum, Yoko Ono has an “Imagine Peace” light dedicated to John Lennon on Viðey Island, and the Blue Lagoon is such a popular tourist destination that you can buy a package to pick you up during a layover so you can enjoy the water and they will bring you back to the airport.
All in all, this was a beautifully unique city that purposely has cheap airfare to entice adventurers into stopping by. If you have the opportunity, please take it up and enjoy!