Reykjavik is not just Iceland's capital and by-far its biggest city, it is also a gateway to the island. For me, it was a place to get adjusted, if not to Icelandic ways then to the local time, +7 hours from California, and late spring temperatures in single digits Celsius, colder than most days in the Bay Area in winter.
Flying cross-country from SFO to JFK felt a bit like a trip down the memory lane as I watched from above the landscapes of Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota that I had not visited in some time. When clouds finally blocked the view down somewhere above Iowa, I turned to planning my itinerary in Iceland, in particular two days that I would spend by myself. Without enough time for an adventure away from the car, I opted for a road trip to what seemed like the most appealing destination based on both an Internet page with great photography, and Lonely Planet's description as a place that few tourists reach. I was going to the Westfjords.
|Great Salt Lake||Ogden, Utah||Salt ponds||Irrigation patterns||Cloud trains||Dusk above the clouds|
|Long Island impression||Landing in Iceland||Landing in Iceland|
A red-eye flight from NYC seemed much too short to get any decent sleep. As the plane came in for a landing, a view of a glacier-capped volcano to the north reminded us this was really Iceland. Snaefellsjokull was the entrance into the Earth from Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and must have been seen by travelers to Reykjavik for centuries. Back then, they would arrive by sea. Our entry was much quicker and the updated Keflavik airport does not show much of its legacy - it was originally built by the US military during the Second World War and for many years was a part of a US military base.
The time difference of seven hours tooks its toll and made the morning feel like a middle of the night. Even after a short nap, I still felt like a zombie, and we spent the rest of the day leisurely touring sights around the city, including its impressive and unique cathedral, built in 1900s. The view from its tower is surely worth the admission fee. The statue in front the cathedral is of Leif Eriksson, an Icelandic discover and one of the first man in European recorded history to reach North American shores, some five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. The Vikings did not have an empire or an extensive power structure behind them and that is probably why their colonization in the distant continent failed, and remained virtually unknown to the rest of Europe. They are not alone, history is dotted with discoverers, artists, and scientists laboring in virtual anonymity...
|Reykjavik suburbia||Graffiti||Hallgrimskirkja||Leif Eriksson and Hallgrimskirkja||view NE||View north|
|View SW||View SW and Perlan||Clock view||Patriotic brownies||Penis Museum|
|Solfarid||Sun Voyager||Irina and the Sun Voyager||Solfarid||Boats and Harpa Concert Hall||Harpa Conference Center|
|Small lighthouse||Grotta Island Lighthouse||Ducks||Irina in Reykjavik||Grotta Island Lighthouse||Harbor|
|Building size art|