We started Thursday separately – I took a red-eye flight from Detroit and landed at about 11 AM in Iceland, and Leigh was to join me a few hours later. Given a rental car and a bit of time to explore, I took off to see the Reyjanes peninsula, which is the part of Iceland closest to the airport. But first, I found out what airplanes hatch from:
The weather was grey and rainy, and that wouldn’t change for the duration of the trip, but the scenery was unreal. The southwest corner of Iceland is basically one big lava flow, and every time I got out of the car it felt like I had another planet to myself.
One of the sights you can see in this part of the world is the place where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge comes ashore. The Ridge is the place where two tectonic plates are separating, and most of the time it has the common decency to stay underwater where you can’t see it. But not in Iceland. Oh no. Not only is their plate separation flagrantly above ground where everyone can see it, they’ve even built a bridge over it.
That’s Europe on your left and North America on your right, for those keeping score at home.
Once again, Leigh and I had decided that it would be a great idea for the pair of us to arrive at a location in a foreign country where our phones didn’t work by separate routes. After all, it wasn’t at all terrifying the last time. However, in this case, the location in question was an airport, my rental car did not get stuck behind a flock of goats, and we reunited without a hitch.
From the airport, it’s about a 40 minute drive into Reykjavik proper, where Leigh had found us an adorable little AirBnB right next to the most famous building in the city, the Hallgrímskirkja. (And if you think I’m not cutting and pasting all of these Iceland words into the blog, you’re nuts.) Since we each took a picture of it, I’ll let you, the reader, decide which one you liked better.
I’m not, of course, going to tell you who took which one, because then I’d have to admit that I took the one with the trash can in it.
To finish our first day in the land of Ice, we took a restaurant recommendation from a good friend of ours who knows from food. We did an 8 course tasting menu at Nostra, which is a restaurant much too hip to have allowed us in. There must have been a mistake somewhere.
Still, the food was amazing. I don’t recall everything, but we had pressed lamb with tomatoes four ways and salmon roe, celeriac combined with celeriac puree and beef, arctic char with parsnip two ways, and a bunch of other things that were all too amazing to mention. Leigh and I don’t go to fine dining restaurants that often, because we live in a mitten, but if we could go places like this more often, we’d have no money left at all.
One more peculiarity of this trip – since we were there right around the solstice, it never got dark. Reyjavik is below the arctic circle, so the middle of the sun went below the horizon, but the whole thing never entirely set. Walking home at 10 at night looked just like noon the same day.
Bonus Iceland Picture: