Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital city

A big thank you to Diane for getting up unreasonably early to take us to Luton Airport for 5:15.

Flying into Keflavik Airport gave us some fantastic views of the Icelandic coastline which is very different from anything we’ve seen before. The volcanos dominate and are surrounded by flat lava fields with the occasional plume of steam rising from the ground.

Matt drove us into Reykjavik, his first experience of driving on the wrong side of the road, and we arrived at our apartment in under an hour. The roads were fairly quiet and the drive into the capital was easy, unsurprising for a country with a population of less than 500k.

Our home for the next few days is a lovely modern apartment about 20 minutes walk from the city centre along the main shopping street – Stakkur Apartments are recommended if anyone is planning a trip!

Our late breakfast tested out Reykjavik Roasters, voted best coffeehouse in Reykjavik 2017 and conveniently just across the road from us.

Next was a visit to Hallsgrimskirkja which is the largest church in Iceland and one of the biggest structures, constructed from white stone its designed to look like a volcano.

It is named after Poet Hallgrimur Petursson, a 17th century Icelandic poet and clergyman. It took over 40 years to build and was finished in 1986. We’re still not sure why it took 300 years to honour him!

The inside of this Lutheran church is beautifully simple and a calming place to be. The views from the top of the tower were fairly special too.

Next stop was a Citywalk walking tour led by Tomas, a local with an unusual accent courtesy of his Chicago born father.

We were treated to a whistle stop history of settlers in Iceland (Vikings in 870ish who probably landed here because they were poor navigators) and the story of independence from Denmark (Siggtryggur Jonasson led the dissent against the Danish in the mid 19th Century before Iceland finally declared their independence in 1944 while Denmark was distracted by Nazi occupation!) We also learned some Icelandic and it is the most complicated language ever.

We treated ourselves to a late lunch before heading back to the apartment for a rest before dinner and a trip up the coast to try and see the Northern Lights.

Can you tell which one is the troll?

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