Iceland day 1: Reykjavik

Reykjavik
Sasha Ashall/Staff

Not to be disgustingly braggy, but I’ve traveled a lot. My mom’s job requires her to go to week-long meetings all over the world for free and, often, me and my sister will tag along. So my family has been all over Europe, and my mom and sister have traveled throughout Asia, Africa and Australia, but we all agree that Iceland is like no place we’ve ever visited.

There’s something about the terrain, weather, people and food that make Iceland uniquely strange and foreign to almost any visitor. Glancing in any direction at any location on this island, pristine, still lakes peek through rolling hills covered in bright green grass and waterfalls crash down abundantly among the snowy peaks of very active volcanoes. In fact, Iceland experiences a volcanic eruption every three to four years.

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Sasha Ashall/Staff

The terrain ranges from the most beautiful, lush hillscapes to severe, jet black lava fields. The sun shone down on us in Reykjavik as a moderate wind whipped through our hair, while several miles inland we wore windbreakers and woolly hats as tiny rain droplets pricked our skin all in the same day. In fact, the sun never actually went away. Arriving just a week after the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, we experienced what Icelanders called 21 hours of daylight, but the three hours of darkness were really more like dusk.

mama in chainmail

Sasha Ashall/Staff

The people are of hearty Viking (see above) stock clad with enviable, thick blonde and ginger beards, the women tall and graceful with gorgeous blonde locks, so I fit right in *finger guns*.

Beyond the ridiculously, unbelievably gorgeous landscape and humans, the food was the biggest surprise. We all expected super fresh fish and happy lambs and we weren’t disappointed, but never in my wildest dreams did I suppose I’d see puffin, minke whale and horse steaks on every single menu. Is it even legal to eat puffins? Does anyone else remember that whole IKEA horsemeat scandal from a few years ago? We all freaked out because horse meat was detected in some meatballs, but these guys eat literal horse steaks on the regular.

But let’s get to the real meat of it *wink* what was Reykjavik actually like? The wide, clean streets and colorful houses compelled me to recall those of Copenhagen, a city I love very dearly. We aimlessly roamed the cobbled streets in search of thick lambswool sweaters, fresh fish and the simple beauty of experiencing a new place. We passed new buildings and old, traditional cafes serving fish soup and American-themed bars and many, many cold-wear outfitters.

Reykjavik

Sasha Ashall/Staff

The sun was shining and the views were incredible. We stood on the edge of the feisty, glittering sea and peered upon the clouds shrouding the tips of the distant hills as we fully and utterly embraced our awe and wonderment at being in this unassuming, but breathtakingly beautiful 800,000-year-old island.

Reykjavik was just the beginning of our tour of the southwestern region of Iceland. Keep your browser open and your mouse at the ready, for next week I shall show you geysers, waterfalls and Game of Thrones filming locations.

Sasha Ashall is the blog editor. Contact Sasha Ashall at [email protected].