Tag Archives: Reykjavik

Iceland, Day 11-13

Condensing the last few days I spent in Iceland into one post for the sake of brevity. Yes, I know it is over 3 months late. But I owe you nothing.

It was during these days that I met over half of the people I met during my whole travel in Iceland. At first I had thought that solo traveling was an oddly a unique thing to do in Iceland, but I was wrong. A lot of solo travelers come to Iceland. However, most tend to stay in the capital city of Reykjavik and make that their place of operations. So tour groups out and about to see the Golden Circle. Things like that. I have to admit that after seeing the South, some of the East, and some of the North-West I really didn’t care for the city all that much. I didn’t really explore it as much as I could have and I used the 2 days and 3 nights as time to wind down and relax myself before heading home again. When you get the chance to rest, you damn well take it. Having a chance to sleep in until 8am was amazing, never thought I’d consider that sleeping in.

Day 11 was spent going around and exploring the areas surrounding my hostel, buying food to cook with for the next few days, cooking that food, and checking out a little restaurant my hitchhiker friend suggested. We didn’t get a chance to try it out together because it was late, 11pm, when we got to the place and it was closed as a result.

Day 12 was spent watching the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey game despite telling myself I wouldn’t bother. Because Canadian. I did some more cooking in the hostel kitchen and ended up discussing and trip planning with three other guys who were thinking of driving the same direction I took. There was something about the planning that got me all excited. Conversation about world politics and life ensued as well.

This was followed by one of the more random things I’ve ever done. I walked up to a group of fellow travelers and asked them if I could join them because I was bored/lonely/looking for peeps to chat with. Something along the lines of that. The answer was: an exuberant yes. Turns out they were all exchange students studying in London, damn did that make me jealous! “I should have done an exchange” I thought amusingly. Good things sometimes follow each other and another great thing came to be. That night was another one of the stronger Auroras. One could see it very clearly from the balcony of the hostel, what a mesmerizing sight that was. At first it was a very pale green color about 3 bananas in width. Then it grew to be a very bright green colour. It then danced and curved across the sky over our heads. Did I mention it was mesmerizing? To be able to just chat and relax on a balcony while an aurora flows over you as if it was the most common thing to do in the world, I hope never to forget that.

Day 13

Final day: Grab breakfast, head to the airport, fly home, and contemplate life.

 

This is all to get the missing days out of the way for an upcoming trip!

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Iceland, Day 10

This day, I wake up and end up having a short, but interesting, conversation with a lady from Sweden who was originally from the United States. Long story short, she packed up her bags and moved to Sweden for neuroscience. She even made every effort to get her dog over there too! Obviously she loves that dog. From here, I’m off to the KEF airport area to drop off my rental car. But first, some more exploring of a place I had Googled a few nights prior. Really, all it was was a massive frozen lake and some geothermal spots. It wasn’t particularly interesting. The drive on the other hand I did enjoy. As a city boy there was something fascinating about driving on unpaved roads. Here are some more shots of the car:


I should consider shooting car ads. Yeah.

My last stop was the Blue Lagoon. It seems like something everyone who visits Iceland should do so I told myself I’d shell out the ~$50 and give it a go. However, by the time I got there and saw the line up I really couldn’t justify sitting around in a pool of water for that much. If I were there with friends, it would be different. It would be like a social gathering, a nice way to wind down and chat. By myself…well that seemed a bit pointless. Granted I could have struck up a conversation with some strangers, but the lagoon really did not appeal to me. I ended up just walking around the outside and taking some pictures there. The following shots are from my phone:

The next stop: the airport. I drop off the rental car and I have to say, Blue Car Rental was very accommodating and we did a quick review of the car. Everything seemed to be in order and I was on my way to take the bus back to Reykjavik. If you go to Iceland, Blue Car Rental is a great place to rent a car from. Highly recommended. The bus ride to Reykjavik was, in a way, boring. I imagined what Iceland would look like to many people who took the bus there. It wasn’t really all that special. I ended up taking a little nap for most of the trip since I had a whole two seats to myself. Spread out and pass out. My final hostel location, the Loft Hostel, was only a short walk away from the BSI Bus Terminal. The one thing about the streets in Reykjavik, at least in the winter, was the sand. Bits of it would get stuck in the wheels of my suitcase, making the walk there longer than it should have been.

Loft Hostel, check in, get to the room, and lie about. Clean some of my gear, dry out my tripod, and sort out the suitcase so I’m ready to leave for my flight. Yes, I still had three nights but I like to pack early. It helps keep things clean I find. It’s at the Loft Hostel that I meet more solo travelers. It hit me that most solo travelers wouldn’t venture out on their own with a car or such. It’s much easier to make a place your base of operations as a solo traveler than it is to move about all over the place. At least, that’s what it seemed like. It’s not only safer, but it is less stressful. Of course, costs also play a factor in all this. It is indeed much more expensive to rent a car on your own. The trade off is that you don’t get to explore on your own either, not in a lonely sense anyway. There were moments where I didn’t drive past anyone for a long time and it felt like I was the only person in Iceland at that moment. It’s a strange feeling to be alone in an unfamiliar place where the closest person could be dozens of miles kilometers away. I’m not really sure how to describe that sort of feeling.  The words that come to mind are vulnerable, isolated, and despair. Traveling solo in Iceland in the main city seem to be much safer, less stressful, and more relaxing than the previous 10 days than I had just experienced. Here I gained a sort of appreciation for the different kinds of travel that exists. Solo travel is overly romanticized, or at least that’s what I found. That being said what I do it again? Yes, I probably would. Are tour groups good for travel as well? Yeah they probably are. They’re just a different kind of travel; more relaxed and less stressful. They have their upsides and downsides Group travel? Probably a better form of travel, best of both worlds. It is definitely less lonely than solo travel and less restrictive than tour groups. I’d have to say the spectrum goes like this: solo travel—group travel—tour groups. That is that for this day.

And here’s what the dorm looked like, I have to say the Loft Hostel was fantastic. I highly recommend it if you ever choose to stay in Reykjavik. It’s a little odd as reception is on the top floor, but it makes it unique. Everything was super clean when I went and for about $25 Canadian in the winter, it was kind of a bargain really. One of the better hostels around I hear.