When I was hastily planning out this first solo trip through Europe while wrapping up the school year, I wanted the very first stop to be a magical place. A place that was on the way to rest of Europe and fairly easy & cheap to get to from the US, but also has a unique and peaceful feel. Iceland fit that perfectly!
Yes … I know … this trip is starting to sound a lot more like “eat, pray, love” 😉
After a 5-hour overnight flight from Boston, I landed in Reykjavik at 4:30 am on Monday, May 29th 2017. I had heard about the country not having nights, but I was surprised to experience it myself. It was completely bright outside that early in the day! Apparently, the sun is technically down from 1 am – 4 am during this time of the year, but it never really gets dark!
I took the airport express bus directly to the Kex Hostel, got some rest, and started my 3 day-long adventure through the treasures of Iceland. A few things that I found fascinating on this trip so far:
1. The architecture
As someone who is super passionate about architecture and almost majored in it during college, I found the Scandinavian designs to be simple but powerful. There were a few iconic buildings in Reykjavik that captured the Icelandic & Nordic character perfectly through their sharp edges, tall & narrow structures, and white & grey shades.
2. The art
Aside from the few grand designs, majority of the residential and business buildings were more on the practical side of engineering. Among the white & grey shades, I found traces of color everywhere as street art during my usual walks through random streets of the city (especially back alleys that show the real life of the locals). The sculptures across the city also showed a level of the maturity and depth both in terms of artistic ability & meaning. However, this could be a wrong assessment as I am only an amateur artist 😉
3. The food
When traveling, I’m the type of person that loves walking around random streets and eating from food vendors. Yes, that has its risks (proven on my trip to Hanoi Vietnam in March 2017), but it never stops me. Trying the local food is as much of the experience as seeing the iconic sites.
4. Most importantly, the nature
It was definitely clear that people don’t come to Iceland for the cities. Even the capital city of Reykjavik took me only a full day of walking around to see everything that was worth seeing! Now, the main reason that Iceland attracts many tourists is its beautiful & unique nature around the island.
5. The hostel life
This is not specific to Iceland, but I wanted to call out the hostel life in traveling through Europe. I had never in my life stayed in hostels, especially by myself. Although I was initially hesitant, the experience is currently being found to be exhilarating!!!
I stayed at the Kex Hostel in Reykjavik. As an old biscuit factory (& named after the word biscuit), the Kex Hostel is one of the most popular places of stay in Reykjavik and it definitely did NOT disappoint me. With a beautiful view of the water from its common area, it’s situated right at the heart of area with the Reykjavik’s iconic places.
Thank you for reading my FIRST blog EVER!!! More pictures are coming for the rest of my adventures through Iceland (I’ll be visiting the Blue Lagoon & going through the Golden Circle) & other European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Saint Petersburg)!!! Stay tuned ❤