THE LAND OF... INSTAGRAM YOU TRICKED ME!
When we arrived in Iceland we were greeted by a cold and harsh wind that made us laugh uncontrollably. We came from Stockholm where the weather status had just tuned in on summer ”heat” (let’s not exaggerate, heat is not often a word used in relation to the Swedish summer, but anyways it was at least warm), and we were totally chocked by the intense cold that hit us. We managed to bundle up in the very small car that we’d hired (perfectly suited for the rough and grainy landscape… yeah, right!), but it would do. We started our adventure, camera ready and eyes focused on the horizon, ready to explore the dramatic and changing landscape. It turned out that the landscape was super PLAIN and when we reached Reykjavik we were super disappointed! As naive members of the instagram society of today we'd totally believed all the wonderful photos of Iceland we’d seen and didn’t even think about the "behind-the-scenes" that were rocky, monotonous and quite frankly not very welcoming settings. The people we met were even stiffer than Swedish people, if that's even possible. The capital was worned-down and seemed desolate, because of the many windows that were covered and houses that needed to be renovated. And the harsh weather continued, maybe we just had a terrible bad luck this time, but the constant rain in our eyes, hailstorms and intense wind made any longer walk outdoors a terrible struggle. The earthy land turned into slippery slides of clay and regardless of the many layers of clothing, rain coats etc. the rain managed to drown us and got every bit of us (including our underwear) totally soaked! However, we laughed, sang and had a great time, it was so ironic, we had really dreamt about this trip and it was nothing like we’d ever imagined. We thanked our new subscription to an audio-book app and let one of Mr. Nick Hornby’s books guide us through the country. The book was maybe even more uneventful than the landscape itself but hey, we actually appreciated it. Just as we appreciated this disastrous journey as soon as we accepted it for what it was. We fought against the cold and saw all the things we wanted to see. In between the long parts of nothing, there really were magnificent things to see. Due to the disagreeing and continuous rain in my eyes I had quite a blurry sight all the time and I honestly think that my camera had a better view of the things that we saw than we did. I was quite stunned when I came home and looked at the pictures, such magnificent waterfalls and volcanos! (continues)
It was not all bad. The food in Iceland had an overall impressive standard. They make a delicious meat soup even in the more "touristy" places! But the best food was found at Foretta Barinn. A small restaurant with the right kind of atmosphere in Reykjavik. My husband claims that he ate the greatest carpaccio of his life there. That's a good reference since he has indulged in about a million different kinds of carpaccios in his life. It is his go-to for every occasion. Foretta Barinn delivered stunning courses, fabulous flavors and a nice setting. The winning burger though was the one we gobbled down two times on a four day trip at our second favorite place in Reyjkavik, a hot-spot called Kex. We also had high hopes for Resto but unfortunately we forgot to book a table in advance so we were turned down at the door. Well shame on us for that one.
The wholesome breakfast at Kex, where we stayed in a simple private room, was a delicious treat every morning. Kex was a really nice place with a busy bar, lovely food and it was a great hangout during the weekdays as well as on weekends (it got that perfect youth backpacker, industrial hipster vibe, which we normally wouldn’t go for, but this place was fabulous). If you're a light sleeper and sensitive to noise then you might wanna make sure to get the complimentary ear-plugs that is being offered. I for one actually love falling asleep to the sound of voices. I think it's the most calming thing! Let them speak louder, for all that I care. (continues)
If you ever go, doubtful after reading this review. No but seriously, it was worth the trip anyway. It was an experience that I will remember for a long time. The challenges of the land really brings a married couple even closer. Just make sure not to walk up a volcano in a full-blown storm. You see, we’re really stupid. And even if you do decide to walk up a volcano in a full blown storm, the hot springs are very rewarding and such a cool phenomenon! Call it magic. The sad, yet a little mysterious mood of the country is quite exciting as well. Despite the roughness of the city of Reykjavik they had really tried to spice things up a little with cool and funny, artsy grafitti, which was pretty enjoyable to watch! And when strolling down the main shopping street in Reykjavik (which is about the same length as the small path from our house to the local 7-eleven around the corner) make sure to buy a beautiful hand-knitted, fluffy Icelandic sweater, they’re super comfy and warm.
Well, I hope that if you go you’ll be more prepared than we were and I hope that you have better luck with the weather. Enjoy the "front-of-the-scene" images that I have posted and know that they’re not showing it all.