March 7/8: Day 2 of 12:
We departed at 5:00pm from Denver International Airport for a non-stop international flight to Iceland. 7 hours later, we started our first day at 6:45am. Seeing as we planned to drive around the entire island, our first order of business was to rent a car. Personally, I would advise to NEVER use sixt rental; biggest mistake of our trip. However, it's all we had to work with and what we ended up with was little storage space and even less foot room. At 8 am, we got our car and were on our way to our first hostel in downtown Reykjavik.
The drive to the hostel was serene. Everything was so empty and vast. We hooked up our phones to the car speakers and let our well-thought-out playlist narrate our drive. We were incredibly excited. Exhausted, yes. But in disbelief that we were finally here.
We arrived early at our hostel, and passed out until 3pm. Jet lag is fo real.
At 3, we decided to get up and explore the city. There was a charming lake right across the road and we got to experience Icelanders up close and personal. The lake was filled with swans and ducks that were so used to people that you could walk right up to them and get in their face. As for the reykjavikians (?) they literally bring GIANT trash bags just full of bread crumbs, to feed all the birds. And it's not just one person. there are a LOT of people doing this. We saw many examples throughout our trip of how generous Icelanders are, even to pesky birds. It's almost unsettling.
From there we just trotted around the city; posed in front of fun murals, stopped to pet cats and explored a plethora of cathedrals and churches.
This one church in particular; was very quiet. Speaking, or any sound-making for that matter, was completely unacceptable. We were even self-conscious about the shutter sounds of our cameras; so I chose to video instead of shoot. As I was maneuvering my camera, I accidentally clicked the shutter and just that tiny noise echoed through the cathedral. My natural reflex was to mutter "Shit." You can guess which one echoed louder. Carissa and I were in pain trying to muffle our laughter. As our friend Austin would say "Smooth as sandpaper."
My overall feel of Reykjavik is that it is a developing city. As tourism to Iceland increases, the capitol grows. Shops pop up, people multiply and Art starts to cover old buildings. It was smaller than expected, but surprisingly homey and pleasant.