It’s not you. It’s us. Your architectural beauty and culinary splendor were lost on us. We allowed your charm and excitement to be overshadowed by Iceland’s natural wonders, but we know that others will appreciate you for all that you are – the perfect complement to the rest of Iceland’s stark beauty.
You may be able to tell by now that we prefer rural over city, trees over buildings, nature walks over shopping, beach bonfires over nights out. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be seen in a city. Reykjavik, for example is in a league of its own. Although one of the smallest capital cities in the world, it claims a distinction above the rest thanks to its location and personality. The pedestrian-friendly city center is flanked by restaurants and shops and is decorated with art installations purposeful and accidental.
Since we made our trip to Iceland in May, the sun practically never set, which made Reykjavik a city that never slept. It was clear that all the shops and restaurants in the city center could attract lively crowds on a night out, but since our visit was on a Wednesday evening, the placed kind of looked a bit more eerie than lively.
As we wandered around, we stopped at the Harpa concert hall, a cultural and social center right on the coast. It is a marvel. From the outside, the windows remindwd me of long honey combs on one side and then flat mosaic mirrors on another. Inside, the structure hosts classical concerts, comedy shows, and tours. The café has a special flair thanks to the natural light that pours in from the window walls.
In our preparation for Iceland, I researched ‘must-dos’ and one that I added to our list was a coastal restaurant called Saegreifinn – The Sea Baron. Apparently, it had the best lobster soup... in the world. Being a connoisseur, I had to test that out for myself. The restaurant has stranger-friendly seating downstairs i.e. long tables with cushioned barrel-like seats, and additional seating upstairs. The soup was definitely a nice warm treat on a cold windy night and had good flavor, but to tell you the truth, it fell short on the creamy and chunky factors, so I’ll give it a 6/10. Maybe next time!
Our hotel was in Reykjavik but about 30 minutes from the city center. Just far enough to be affordable. The black-out curtains were vital and much appreciated as was the kitchenette outfitted with a stove, sink, fridge and microwave. These were essential since we decided to make our own meals instead of buying out. Food can be quite expensive, so we tried to be smart about things. We stocked up at the Bonús across the street and lived off of salami sandwiches, spaghetti made with hamburger meat, oatmeal and blueberries. Overall, I’d say we were pretty balanced.