In the first part of the Icelandic Calling our guest writer Feather wrote about her first impressions of Iceland. In the second part she continues her story, telling about Reykjavík and how she had heard for the first time about this icy island.
What brought you here?
Reykjavik – where should I start? I don’t think there are so many people who can spell the name right if they don’t have a tiny little bit of an obsession with that outer-space-like city. And for those who can, they must have their little story of their own. Now I will tell you mine.
The first time I heard about this city was back when I was a first year student at university. We had 4 girls sharing a dormitory and one of them brought a huge World Map. One day she pointed at this little island up in the north and said the magic word – “Reykjavik”. I remember it took me several times to catch it correctly. She told me that would be the place for her and her boyfriend’s honey moon trip. At that time, both marriage and Iceland sounded really really far away from all of us.
But with a blink of one eye, I’m here, in Reykjavik and she, the one who planted the seed of Iceland in my mind ended up in a marriage with not even the same boyfriend. So of course, Reykjavik won’t be the honeymoon destination this time. I couldn’t express how lucky I felt knowing that I was in Reykjavik at that moment, and not in a marriage. However I was really grateful that she had planted that word in my mind. After 7 years, I can still remember the first time I heard her pronounce that city.
On the first day when we took a walk around the city, it was still covered by snow. With the cloudy and gloomy sky, you can get easily confused as it seems like winter. However, the second day we had a total change of season. That’s how Icelandic weather could be, full of surprises. And I was sure that people living there were already used to it. Soon after the sun was out, everyone was outside. I didn’t even know there were so many people in the city when we went for a walk around downtown the first day.
With a population of around 120,000, Reykjavik is not a big city but still the world northernmost capital. It’s like a sparrow, a pocket-sized city center but fully equipped. There were many nice restaurants, shops and bars. Only one day after the snow, there were already people wearing t-shirts, drinking beer, and sun-bathing under the sky.
Reykjavik city center doesn’t differ much from any other tourist city – it is packed with tourists. We were lucky to go there before the real tourist season starts around mid June because then everything would get way more expensive. Also you will start to realize how small the city center actually is when you start bumping into familiar faces after staying 3 days in town. This is a very lovely experience though. You start to nod on the street to strangers with familiar faces. I guess that’s also why so many romances are happening in places so far away from the rest of the world where there is only such a small population.
If you want to know what else Feather discovered in Iceland, keep on reading part III.