Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exploring Reykjavik

One could spend 2 weeks sightseeing in Reykjavik, and there would still be 2 weeks worth of things to see. This having been our second trip to Iceland, many tourists we met asked what our "must-sees" are when visiting the country for the first time. Honestly, no matter where I travel, my favorite activity is exploring the sights and culture of the city in which we are staying. I love learning about how people live, as well as how they make the most of their climate/location.

When in Iceland, do as the Icelanders do.

Visiting Hallgrímskirkja

I'm a sucker for organs.

The front door of the church.

"Getting Lost" in the City

It's actually pretty hard to get lost in Reykjavik. At any given time you can do a 360 degree turn, find Hallgrímskirkja (the giant church), then know exactly where you are. The surrounding mountains are also helpful landmarks when navigating the city. If for some reason you do lose your way, the locals are friendly and speak very good English.

Iceland has very high building standards, and color standards too, I guess.

I've never seen so many tree houses!

Statues galore! There is a statue garden on the list of cool things to see in Reykjavik.

And here's a picture of the same place from October of 2011.

You know where to find me...

And one more from our previous trip to compare.

We found the local cemetary.

Biggest birdhouse I've ever seen.

If you are searching for a wool Icelandic sweater, your best bet would be to go to the Flea Market to find a local artisan. If there are none sold there, I suggest befriending a local to see if they have a contact. The price of the sweater will be high, but you will be getting high quality, 100% local Icelandic wool made fair trade by an artist. It takes an entire week for a professional to make a custom sweater that will last a lifetime. When you look at it this way, $200 really isn't too high a price. You can always impulse buy one at the airport on your way home, but to me this is not as special.

That's all for now. To fuel our long walk, we stopped at Cafe Loki for Swiss mochas (SO YUMMY!), and took a break at the book store Eymundsson, where we saw many locals enjoying coffee/tea and a quite place to read - this is also a cheap(er) place to find souvenirs.

P.S. The best souvenirs come in the form of Icelandic liquor. I'm not a fan on vodka, but I can drink Reyka vodka straight from the bottle. Birkir Liqueur is another delicious choice. Both of these options can be found at the Duty Free store on your way home. And for the cheapest drinking experience in Iceland, get a bottle when you come into the country and drink it at your hotel. Alcohol is expensive in Iceland, and one trip to a bar can set you back $75.00 (not including food).

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