A picture is worth a thousand words.
Having discovered downtown Reykjavik the day before, we decided to visit a more historic side of the city. Built between 1913 and 1917, the Reykjavik old harbor reflects on the history of Iceland all the while evaluating with it. As we arrived on the site, we were struck by how alive something called old was. The country’s biggest construction to this day was swarming with people and the vivid colours that echoed to the ones we had seen the day before made it hard to believe made it hard to believe that we were looking at something made over a century ago.
Locals went on with their routine as we, and other curious tourists, watched. Boats were brought to or left the shore, shops welcomed customers and we started walking around. We stopped many times to either look at what the sea or at Mount Esja located beyond it.
The port’s energy was invigorating without being overbearing and it kept us going until we had no choice, but to stop and eat. It seemed to have started to become a habit for us to forget time as we lost ourselves in Reykjavik’s beauty.
Our appetite once more appeased, we made our way to the Reykjavik Museum of Photography hoping to learn more about the country. The pictures exposed in this museum have been regrouped in a free exposition in order to retrace Iceland’s history and give those interested the chance to peek at the past. We were, so we did. We immersed ourselves in the lives of others, experiencing life from 1870 to 2002.
Believe it or not, transcending eras can make one very hungry and so we left, taking with us a piece of Icelandic time.
Reykjavik, IS (Aug. 29th and 30th and Sept. 10th and 11th)
Thingvellir, IS (Aug. 31st and Sept. 1st)
Hveragerdi, IS (Sept. 2nd and 3rd)
Grindavik, IS (Sept. 4th and 5th)
Keflavik, IS (Sept. 6th to 9th)
Bantry – Cork, IRE (Sept. 12th to 19th)
Killarney, IRE (Sept. 20th and Sept. 21st)
Dingle, IRE (Sept.22nd and Sept. 23rd)
Kilkenny, IRE (Sept. 24th)
Dublin, IRE (Sept. 25th and Sept. 26th)
After getting over the jet lag that had consumed us upon our arrival, we decided to take our first day slow and get to know the capital a little bit. Our bellies filled thanks to the granola bars we had packed in our backpacks before going on the plane, we stepped out. We didn’t really have a plan, except for the one according to which we would go with the flow. We started walking in the direction of Reykjavik’s most famous church: Hallgrimskirkja. We weren’t planning on going inside it and make use of the panoramic view it had to offer yet, we just knew it would be a good place to start since it’s located in the center of the city. After admiring it, we started our stroll through the streets. We were amazed by the diversity of the city’s color scheme. Houses, shops and (especially) restaurants bore unusual colours giving the architecturally mundane buildings a distinctive particularity.
Soon enough, we came across a wall that, not only was painted, but, exposed a work of art. We had finally found our day’s activity; we were
going to turn ourselves into street art hunters. In a place like Reykjavik, we had one of the easiest prays. In fact, it was so effortless and captivating
that we came back to our senses only when our stomachs made themselves heard. We had walked all over the place and now found ourselves stranded on some street corner the name of which none of us could pronounce. We started asking around in the hope of finding someone who spoke English.
Fortunately, the sweetest little couple heard us and came to our rescue. They were about to ask us if were new, but I guess our sheepish smiles made them realize it was our first time in town and they offered to show us someplace within our travelers’ budget to grab a bite. We spent the rest of the day with our new friends discovering the city until it was time for us to go our separate ways. As a parting gift, they gave a us a map of the city that contained their emails as well as a tip to always find our way back: look for Hallgrimskirkja, the city’s landmark that could be seen almost anywhere in it.
According to the dictionary: To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey
According to us: To get away from the business of life in order to revitalize oneself, all the while broadening one’s horizons.
Desiring… No. Needing to see the world before getting caught up in the vicious spiral that is life, Louis-Antoine, Emily and I decided to pack our bags and go. I admit it, setting your normal life aside for a month at 18 can be scary, that’s why we started planning as soon as the decision was made in order to avoid convincing ourselves to back down.
One of the many difficulties we encountered, even before we left, was choosing our destination. The thing we all agreed on was wanting to go someplace we were all strangers to, in order to really let go of all of our landmarks and thus have a blank canvas on which new memories could be painted, and where it would be possible for us to learn new things while being active. The problem is, the world is so vast that we didn’t know where to start. We therefore stopped searching and looked at each other. We circled the table saying which countries we had always wanted to visit and we were set. We would be going to Iceland and Ireland (that once letter difference was a total coincidence).
We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Time wasn’t going to stop while we were away, we needed to plan a month’s trip in a short amount of time and we didn’t exactly pick the cheapest destinations, but we knew that if we wanted to go overseas, meet new people and experience once in a lifetime opportunities, it was now or never.
Looking back on it, we don’t regret interrupting our routine for a month in order to make the most of something we will remember for the rest of our lives. This is why we created this blog; to always have a token of our journey and help others who, although not knowing exactly how, wish to derail from their original path for a little while.
~ Ines ~