We arrived in a gray Iceland around 9am, a bit sleepy after our second night flight in three days. Our rental car agency, Sixt, was not waiting when we arrived, creating a mild panic until a greeter showed up and minutes later we were heading into Reykjavik in a sporty white station wagon.
The approximate hour drive into the city was a nice introduction to the Icelandic landscape. Volcanic rock covered in luscious green moss blanketed the ground for miles on end. Once in the city it was easy to navigate to our first accommodation, an Airbnb apartment walking distance from the core of the city. We crashed for a few hours before setting off to explore Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland.
The cityscape reminded us immediately of Denmark, which is not surprising given that Iceland was part of the Kingdom of Denmark from 1814 to 1918, and in personal union with Denmark until 1944, at which time it became an independent nation.
We made our way to Tjornin, a small lake in the center of the capital that many call the world’s biggest bread soup in the world. Hundreds of seagulls and other species flock the touristy shoreline in search of handouts of bread, which are now apparently forbidden in an effort to clean up the area. Still, many were tossing crumbs and the bird mob scene made for some interesting photos!
A short walk from the lake we found the first eatery of our trip, Glo, an amazing vegan joint with delicious raw tacos and savory salads.
After lunch we ventured through the city streets, eventually ending up on the Atlantic shore, where surreal looking water, mountain and sky created the perfect backdrop for the stunning Harpa concert hall. Inside, we took in the breathtaking architecture designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen and artist Olafur Eliasson.
We then journeyed around the old harbor, eventually making our way back to our apartment for some rest. But it wasn’t long before our host’s sweet children (a twin boy and girl, age 8) came knocking on the door wanting to play with Trevor. He joined them outside in some fun and games, thoroughly enjoying his new Icelandic friends.
We ended our first day barely making it to Ristorante Curuso for dinner, an intimate candle-lit place where we enjoyed veggie pizza and pasta until close to 11pm. While guidebooks had suggested no one visits Iceland for the food, so far we have actually been quite impressed!