Oh, Hello Reykjavik
I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for AGES but that was because I’d seen photos of the mountains…
These were magnificent and I’ve eulogized about all of those things here in a different post. I hadn’t really given much thought to Reykjavik, its capital city however. I will hold my hands up and say that this was a big mistake on my part.
The city greets you with a bright combination of colours, set to a backdrop of stunning mountains and suddenly it had me thinking “Oh, hello Reykjavik. Where have you been all my life?”
Reykjavik is not a big city, why would it need to be any bigger considering the whole population of Iceland is the same as the population of Leicester? Everything is pretty much within walking distance and I would definitely say that that is the best way to get to know the place. Wander around. It will help you get to know its curves, edges and perfect imperfections in no time.
One of the buildings that won’t escape your notice is their impressive concert hall The Harper that sits proud, right next to the water.
Everything is a unique combination of bold and understated. Reykjavik is very confident in its own identity.
Wondering down the main shop street you will find quirky bars and plenty of shops selling icelandic jumpers. Icelandic vintage looks a little more woollen than you’ll find on Brick Lane.
Reykjavik struck me as quite a romantic place. Not romantic like Paris, its not cliche, its not overcrowded. You don’t go to Reykjavik to lock a padlock to a bridge. Reykjavik is romantic in an off beat kinda way. It’s understated and authentic.
We needed to grab a quick meal so ducked into The Laudromat Cafe.
I was immediately pleased with our choice as anywhere that has a colour coordinated bookshelf is good with me.
The decor was bright and bold, with large maps adorning the walls.
The food is not what I would call “traditionally Icelandic” but it was one of the best chocolate milkshakes I’ve ever had. This place’s real special touch however is not in the food. If you venture downstairs to the loos, you will in fact find a working laundromat complete with full children’s play areas where many parents could be found playing with their young children whilst they are waiting for their clothes.
There are not many capitals that you can stand in and look across the water and to see mountains lining the horizon. I really enjoyed walking around a city that is quietly confident about its own sense of self. That is my overwhelming sense from Iceland altogether. It knows its naturally phenomenal and therefore doesn’t need to try and over impress. It lets you see, try and fall in love all by yourself and this is the reason that Reykjavik has secured its place in my top 5 favourite cities.
This was my opportunity to say “hello Reykjavik” and it was definitely “Au Revoir” rather than “Goodbye”.