Iceland: The One Where Everything Makes Sense


So you've been in Iceland for two full days. You like it: it's nice, it's clean. But you don't quite entirely get it. So many people rave about Iceland, how much they enjoy their time there (your own parents included). And, again, while you've seen some gorgeous sights, you're still a little on the fence. Is Iceland really that much more memorable than any other European country? Unbeknownst to you, everything will make sense in the next two days.

You spend the first day of your revelation-to-be on another tour. Despite the fact that you haven't seen beyond the fourth season, you choose the Game of Thrones tour with Gray Line. But, it's a Golden Circle tour without being a Golden Circle tour. An alternative Golden Circle tour. It's cold, bitterly cold. It's rainy and cloudy and gray. But the more stops you make, the more you understand why people do the Golden Circle tours.

You see beautiful mountains and rivers. Powerful waterfalls and fields of moss-covered lava are all around you.

Laxá í Kjós

Þórufoss
Not only do you see the division between the North American and Eurasian continents, you get to walk through its path. You wander through a valley filled with water and trees and fall colours.

Þingvellir National Park. Here you can see the rift valley that sits between the North American and Eurasian continents.

That one time I  walked between continents.

Gjáin
And suddenly the sun comes out and you see a beautiful sod house and chapel.

Þjóðveldisbærinn. This is a replica of a sod-style chapel. Because of the environment of Iceland, there aren't any remaining structures from settlement era, so replicas have been built based on foundations of otherwise destroyed buildings.
By the time you get back to the hostel you understand why the Golden Circle tours are so popular, you understand why so many people choose to travel the Ring Road. The beautiful sights and landscape as your drive through the country, the power of nature at work, and flocks of sheep and fields of horses really set Iceland apart from anything you've ever seen. And the next day has even more ready for you.

Only, you don't know that yet. So far, of Reykjavik, you've mostly only seen the harbour and Laugavegur. And they're nice, definitely! Laugavegur has so many interesting sights and shops, from a gate topped with found gloves and mittens to goofy tourist shops called Woolcano and cozy corner restaurants. But, you still don't really get the allure of Reykjavik. Still, you head out from your hostel on your last full day in Iceland and head to Lake Tjörnin for a stroll around the lake.

And, suddenly, you understand Reykjavik as well.

Mere steps away from where you had ventured only a few days before lies such a lovely downtown area.

On a sweet lake filled with ducks and geese sits the Reykjavik City Hall, and as you stroll around the lake's perimetre you find yourself with a view of the gorgeous city: mountains in the background one way, churches in another, and homes all around. The city begins to feel like a place in which people live.






Beyond the lake, you find even more evidence of Reykjavik's downtown beauty. Cobblestone roads and cute seating areas, lovely sculptures and plaques and symbols dedicated to Iceland's diverse history. You can see yourself living here.





By the end of the day, you realise that you're going to miss this city. Despite not really getting it, you understand how special Iceland really is. Iceland is filled with spaces you won't see other places, waterfalls, lava fields, areas completely destroyed by volcanoes contrasted by beautiful valleys. Reykjavik is such a different European city, filled with modernity without being filled with skyscrapers. It's an island filled with culture and history, and it's one that you finally completely understand.

7 comments:

  1. Iceland is such a beautiful place! Thanks for the blog post :D I would definitely want to visit there if I have the chance in the future!

    Z E N G T E C K | Lifestyle, Tips & Thoughts

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  2. Oh my! Iceland is making its way to my heart now. It sounds so incredibly amazing and looks very beautiful and unique from yours photos, Erin. Love to visit for sure one day. x

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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  3. I think the reason why Iceland is so beautiful is because it is so different from anything we get here in Europe! The sights, the atmosphere, even the architecture. There is something very soothing and stoic about it. That little old-style chapel caught my eye immediately, it's so unusual and like something straight out of a fantasy film! x x I've never been to Iceland but would definitely like to see it one day. It seems so beautiful! Thank you for sharing these lovely travel posts with us, they have been such joy to read and to look at! Hope you're having a fab weekend. <3

    Kay
    http://www.shoesandglitter.com/

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  4. These are such gorgeous photos! A few friends of ours have visited Iceland and LOVED IT, and I can so see why (By the way, I love the title of this post. It reminds me of Friends :)

    -Lor
    acozyspace.org

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  5. Iceland may be in Europe, but it is so foreign! I want to go there again soon, my last visit has been far too long ago. It is a magical place.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  6. Iceland is beautiful and you captured it with your photos perfectly! I would love to visit someday if I get a chance.
    Reine | Sincerely Reine

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