Day 1 – Reykjavik.
The first thing you will notice about Iceland is that almost everyone here speaks English. Whenever they gave us directions, they would write down the names of places on paper because they know we have no chance of pronouncing it right
We rented this little Volkswagen Polo at the airport and drove out of Keflavík. Reykjavík was only 48 km away, but we drove slowly because I was not used to driving from the left side of the car.
Finding our way around central Reykjavík was quite easy since the only tall building around was this church called Hallgrímskirkja (Khhaatl-creams-keer-kee-uh, if you want to try). Kirkja means church. The statue on the front is of Leifr Eirícsson, son of Eiríc the Red. Eiríc (or Eirík or Eric, depending on language and whom you ask) discovered Greenland while Leifr (/Leifur/Leif) discovered Vínland (Wineland) which is believed to be somewhere on the eastern shores of North America, several hundred years before Columbus.
Icelanders are very proud of Leifr because he was born in Iceland. Eiríc was Norwegian.
On the back, the monument reads “Leifr Eiricsson, son of Iceland, discoverer of Vinland. The United States of America to the people of Iceland on the one thousandth anniversary of the Althing A.D. 1930.”
I tried to commemorate my visit by climbing the monument. Not very successful, as you can see.
Inside the church, just above the main doorway, was this grand pipe organ that stretches up almost all the way up to the high ceiling.
We took the elevator towards the top floor of the church where the bell was. There were open windows all around, so you can get a good view of the city below, but the bell rang each hour and it was loud!
Here’s See Ming standing by one of the tower windows. She’s hugging herself because it gets quite windy up there.
The car rental guy at Keflavík recommended a restaurant called Rauðará in Reykjavík. See Ming had monk fish, which tasted like lobster. I had ‘Viking beef’. It wasn’t that great, but at 42 Euros, it’s the most expensive beef I’ll ever eat, so I took a photo of it.
Rauðará had a cozily decorated bar upstairs, but we were early and it was empty, so we just veged out for a bit.