Let’s be honest, I could never be a travel blogger because I suck at timing. In almost everything, timing is not my thing. My jokes are typically ill-timed in a moment where people in the conversation have stepped back through the window of their own thoughts and are looking around. I respond to emails with the same attitude they’re written to me and as soon as I see them (and I get them to my phone so that can create huge lessons in autocorrect and bluntness). This can be particularly nasty when you spend most of your day with fifteen year olds. But in blogging and most other small persuasion business endevors it’s all about timing and thus, my foray into travel blogging is short-lived. Actually it’s exactly like four more posts.
I also always open these blogs with nothing about the actual blog and I think travel bloggers just get right to it. In order to prove this point, here are some bloggers that have gone to Iceland that I really used while I was there.
- The Young Adventuress
- The Wanderlust Blog
- The Blonde Abroad
- Nomadic Matt
- Life with a View
- Roadtrip Through Iceland
- Fathom Away
The second day we went to a blogger recommended spot for breakfast. We discovered that the Icelandic on the door meant The Gray Cat which is perfect for two full-blown cat ladies. The breakfast was one of only two very American things that I ate in Iceland. The plate was FULL of eggs and salsa covered potatoes and The Gray Cat was stocked with books; Icelandic and English.
I had a Swiss Mocha which is when I discovered that Icelanders serve hot cocoa in a glass with a straw. There were TWO people working, literally. What I imagine is a very quaint kitchen in the back with the sounds of spoon against skillet and a little blonde woman in an apron is the definition of this cafe. At this spot is when I really put the pieces together that Icelanders are a blunt, straightforward bunch. What I would normally recognize as a general coldness is really just a people that probably don’t have time for frills.
Christine and I thought that maybe because we’re American and we believe that we can conquer anything, move mountains, move West, strike gold, we don’t understand our own smallness in the world. Our own unique thumbprint on the shape of it is more important than the vastness of nature and the things that are truly so much bigger than us and have lasted longer, out-stood our careless misadventures and innovations and just stood. The way that I don’t believe I’m capable of, just yet.
(This is obviously my take and no Icelanders were harmed in the making of this blog because they were truly lovely to us all the time. In fact, in my next blog, you’ll learn about the box truck man that we want to find to thank again who moved our car out of a dire parallel parking situation and then just waved goodbye).
I was going to write about our exact misadventures on day two, but I feel like this post is leading me more towards talking about the city of Reykjavik (which I can now actually spell without looking, but still probably don’t say properly). I loved and hated parts of this city. It’s a hodgepodge of homes, colors, graffiti, and true backyard fairy gardens. We barely tapped the tourist section of the city because we knew it would be far too expensive, but we did walk around the backstreets. We even saw an Obama head in a basement apartment window. The murals on the sides of buildings were dreamy and thoughtful. It was never just an image, but something greater, some tall story that said something across languages. Several times, I turned to Christine and said, “I want to show my students this one.”
We had a wifi hotspot from Route 1 car rental, so we could easily navigate with maps, but by the fourth day we kind of had it figured out. We knew which fence patterns to turn at, how many streets up from Snorrabraut was the cafe that we loved. Everything in it would be completely tacky alone, but when it was all together, it was an assortment of the coolest hipster and your grandmother, Cafe Babalou.
We also could navigate straight from any parking spot to Joylato, a gluten free everything, ice cream place that made the ice cream in Kitchen Aid mixers right in front of you. (I recommend the salted caramel with peanut butter crumbles).
Joylato was also one of the first places that I really witnessed the gender neutrality of Iceland. When you imagine going to a country of Vikings, you think that there will be a clear divide between the feminine and masculine. In Joylato, two men always served us and the shop is inspired by a spiritualist. So much so, that there were about seven pictures of him hanging in a row with one picture of Jesus. I googled him to figure out who he was, but still am a little unsure so I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to accidentally shame someone’s values. I’m not sure why I didn’t think two men could own an ice cream shop, because obviously they can, but I just don’t think that would be as widely seen in America. We put men on television when they make cakes, (Hey, Cake Boss), so it was interesting for me to see that Iceland welcomed any gender, anything.
There were so many reasons to love Reykjavik. It has a woodsy charm as if the city hadn’t actually taken over the environment, but they were living dual harmony. It was expensive though. EX-PEN-SIVE. We couldn’t really ever eat for less than $25 at every meal. Our breakfast at The Gray Cat was upwards of $30-$35. At one point, the last day, on a road trip, we stopped at a convenient store and got a bag of fries, a BAG OF FRIES , for $7 though. I thought I asked for a medium, but I got a bag and attempted to fill the bag with ketchup. It ended up ripping and spilling fries all over me at a toll with a nice gentlemen who gave us a toilet paper bag. There were so many things to love in Reykjavik that weren’t monetary though. The line of mountains in the distance, the quotes and city lights, the fact that you always felt safe because Iceland has very little crime, but also there was a clear lack of tension in Reykjavik. In America, you can almost feel the heat off of people. We are anxious (particularly with the election) and worried and we have just so much to do, that didn’t exist in Iceland.
Here’s a list of places we ate at, not mentioned in this article, but photographed above:
- Glo (vegan and gluten free options)
- Reykjavik Roasters (THE coffees spot in Reykjavik).
- Pilsa Pulsa (where we ate Thanksgiving Dinner)
- The Dillon (you HAVE to hit up their Happy Hour every afternoon).
- The Gray Cat (Cute, expensive)
- Cafe Babalou (FAVORITE)
- Fridheimar Tomato Farm (not in Reykjavik, but the most delicious meal we ate, easily. I will write about this one in a later blog).
- The Big Lebowski (American cheeseburger when you need one).
I guess it’s true what they say, “You’re a dipstick if you don’t visit Reykjavik.”
*No one says that.
Next up, Pingvellir pronounced Thing-val-eer