beautiful, relaxed reykjavík

Since I’m travelling and spending time in Paris at the moment, I got inspired to revisit my photos from another completely different European capital that I visited 3 years ago. The uniqueness of Iceland is not only confined to the waterfalls and glaciers of the wilderness there but is also reflected in its largest city, Reykjavík.

The city is the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavík means bay of smoke(s), a name which points to the hot springs that surround the city. More than a third of Iceland’s population resides in Reykjavík and more than half in the Greater Reykjavík area: the city is still very small since the total population size of Iceland is 320,000. The climate is not as cold as one would expect so far north, thanks to the warm water in the Gulf stream.

The impression I got of the city was that of a calm, close-to-nature kind of town – where the people can’t escape into a completely urban environment but are constantly reminded of the magnificent nature surrounding the city. Usually, I find it ridiculous to see huge cars driving around in cities, but here it made sense – if you leave the city and don’t want to follow the one big road that takes you around the island, you need something durable. I liked that there were no tall buildings, creating a feeling of a small town in the midst of the Atlantic. It was also warming to see rainbow flags in basically every store window on the main street during the local Pride parade. The people seemed warm and open-minded – certainly a place worth visiting.

I won’t say much more but let the photos speak for themselves – the only thing I’d like to add is that Reykjavík is certainly worth seeing even though the rest of the country with its almost unreal land- and waterscapes might quickly drag you out of the city.

My favourite place to walk around in during the evenings was the harbour. The proximity of the ocean meant that there were usually beautiful clouds or a lovely mist coming in.

Some parts of Iceland became Christian about 1000 years ago, but the Norse gods still hung around for quite a while after that. Now churches can be seen in every town.

I quite liked the look of this lone flower among the lava stones…

This is a Russian ship that was anchored in the harbour. There are many beautiful ships and boats to see in the city.

Houses reflecting their lights in the bay.

I also went on a whale safari, the only time in my life that I almost became sea sick. We did see some whales, but unfortunately I didn’t get any decent pictures of them. The boat in the picture is another whale safari boat that went out at the same time we did.

… I did get some pictures of gannets, though!

One of the several people waiting for the airport bus – the bus station became very familiar during this trip.

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