Sep 2, 2010

A Cold, Wet Beginning

Iceland looks like the moon.

My opinion of Iceland, based on my very brief visit, can be summed up with...... a tough bunch of people live here.   It's cold and wet with an inhospitable landscape.  We had a layover on the way to Europe from 6am until 4pm. I bought bus tickets for the 45 minute ride into Reykjavik and researched a few things for us to do in our short time there. Breakfast, shopping, big old famous church.  I even mapped it all out ahead of time. I was prepared. 

We started with breakfast at “The Grey Cat”. This restaurant was billed as the local favorite place to be “seen” eating breakfast. It was a cramped, musty basement with pretentious, bohemian art on the walls. I think it should be required to cook your eggs special order if you bill them as part of an “American Breakfast”. The Grey Cat served them one way, sunny side up with snotty, runny whites.  Blech.

On to the shopping.  Store after store offered the same things, souvenirs (viking stuff, lava rocks, volcanic ash in bottles, keychains and flags) and overpriced sweaters.  Oh, and they really have a thing for puffins.  I would love to have seen some puffins but we were in the desolate, lunar region of Iceland, not the cool, puffin region.  I had to take it on faith that somewhere they have puffins.

This has to be fake.

We visited this concrete church called Hallgr√≠mskirkja.  In front was a statue of Leif Eriksson that was a gift from the egocentric US to Iceland.  Sort of a thanks for heading out on the open ocean and discovering America.


It was cold and wet and I was miserable because, once again, I had the wrong shoes on.  Will I never learn?

Here are my three favorite things we saw in Iceland:

This backyard fence made of stones.  Truly a work of art.

The roofs covered in grass (common in Norway too.)

These flowers that look like feathers.  (Click to enlarge and see how beautiful and unique these flowers are).

Cool facts about Iceland.  Founded in the 9th century by Vikings.  All native Icelanders can trace their origins back to the original settlers.  They speak Icelandic which is the same language spoken by the Vikings.  Population of about 400,000 and most of them live in or near Reykjavik.

The return layover was also 10 hours but it was from midnight to 10am so all we did was sleep on the cold concrete floor of the ticketing terminal.  Well, loving husband slept on the floor, he gave me the bench, but it was hard and cold too.



  1. How cool! I have always been curious about Iceland, but your description bumps it way down on my bucket list of places to see. There are some pretty spots even there though.

  2. Yikes, it sounds like it wasn't such a good start to your trip! But glad you did see some beauty in it anyway--those flowers are cool! :)

    Oh, and welcome back! :) :)

  3. The church looks kind of cool. The rock fence is awesome. The thought of runny egg whites made me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth. I used to know a girl from Iceland, she said their food sucked compared to everywhere else. I don't think I'm ever going to go there...
    Despite all that, thanks for the photo tour and narratives. My favorite kind of blog post!

  4. Yup, Iceland checked off my list too. Are Icelanders the people that love to tango...????? The feather flower is stunning.

  5. Mom - I saw pictures all around of other areas that were beautiful. They have a lot of natural spring spas too. Don't think I'll go back though.

    MHP - Thanks - good to be home again. The flowers seemed like they were from another planet.

    Pat - Nowhere near as good as your pics but they will serve to bring back memories of this God foresaken place ;-)

    Rosemary - I know Norway is on your list. I'll post pics from there next. It was the most beautiful place I've ever been.

  6. I guess you pretty much know what to expect when you visit a place called 'Iceland'..Sorta like planning a trip to Death Valley,you probably shouldn't get your hopes up.
    Those flowers,however,are wondermous!

  7. Sling - I was told as a child, don't remember by whom, that Iceland had named itself "Ice"land and they had named Greenland as "Green"land to confuse would be settlers into moving on to Greenland and that, in fact, Iceland was the more welcoming of the two islands. This is either a total fabrication or Greenland is one horrific place.

  8. Greenland used to be green - had grass and could be farmed at certain times of the year - now its anything but green - not too sure about this Global warming thing - we had the coldest winter...I think it goes in cycles

    I loved the pictures - and that flower is something