Iceland

Iceland | Exploring Reykjavik

After a fun couple or weeks exploring Europe, we’d finally come to the last day of our epic trip. And what better way to start the day than with an almighty bang at 5am! We both woke with a jolt, and I rushed to the window thinking a car had crashed into our building. With no cars in sight, I had no idea what the noise was and my half asleep mind instantly went into overdrive and landed at the most reasonable explanation: volcano.

We were in Iceland after all, and just days before I’d been reading how an eruption of a volcano on the south of the island was imminent. It’d be just my luck it’d erupt while we were here and we’d be stranded in Iceland for ages. Waking my boyfriend to inform him of our impending doom, he politely informed me I was being silly and to go back to sleep. Instead, I lay awake for ages googling whether Reykjavik would be affected by the volcano that had obviously just erupted, and how residents would be informed that they’d need to evacuate.

As it turns out, it wasn’t a volcano eruption – who’d have guessed?! – and it was likely just people upstairs being super noisy. I eventually went back to sleep for a bit, before enjoying a final bowl of Lucky Charms, gathering all of our stuff together and checking out of the lovely apartment we had been staying in. Leaving our bags in the car, we had saved today to explore the city of Reykjavik, so headed straight for the stunning Hallgrimskirkja. Not only is this church like no other I’ve ever seen, but the inside was crisp, modern and bright.Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik on a winter day with the viking statue in front, Iceland

Inside Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, IcelandSpotting the queue for the viewing platform, we grabbed our tickets and took our place behind some selfie-tastic tourists. I fully expect my face to be in hundreds of selfies from the last two weeks! Thankfully they filled the lift before us and we didn’t have to be in their lift selfies too. Once at the top, we had a good look round at the city, but it’s quite a small city and the weather wasn’t great so we didn’t see a great deal. I’d love to revisit in the summer, or on a sunny day because the views would be epic with the mountains in the distance!View over Reykjavik from the tower of HallgrímskirkjaNext up on our very short to-see list was Harpa, and after wandering along the streets of Reykjavik it soon loomed into view. An impressive building, we had a look around inside to see what was going on in there and stumbled upon a display of Iceland photography with some of the most impressive shots I’ve seen in a while. The fact they were displayed on some super nice TVs probably helped, but I felt like we hadn’t seen even a fraction of what the country had to offer, and was actually more than a bit gutted to be leaving that evening. What a difference to a few days earlier when I didn’t even want to come!Reflection in the ceiling in Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland

As Iceland was the only country we hadn’t visited a Christmas market in on this city hopping tour, we scouted out what good ole’ Google had told us was the main market in the city. Initially we had a bit of difficulty finding it, and then finally realised what the ‘market’ was – five stalls with a mini ice rink next to it. Ah, right…

Finishing up our sightseeing tour at the Parliament House, it was time for a bit of relaxing before heading to the airport. We picked up the compulsory postcards and magnet, chilled out in Dunkin’ Donuts and caught up with home while on the Wi-Fi. As we had to drop the car off at the car hire place and we weren’t sure where to find it, we left for the airport super early.

The Sun Voyager, boat sculpture in Reykjavik, IcelandOur last drive in Reykjavik was really smooth, and I love how little traffic there is in the country! Before long we we’d arrive at the car hire centre and a storm I’d seen on the forecast had arrived. Heavy rain, strong winds and less than desirable conditions to be attempting to fill a car up with petrol. We’d stopped at the last available petrol pump before returning the car as we didn’t want to incur any penalties for returning the car half empty. As it turns out, this was the time our credit card company decided that our card might have been cloned/stolen and they’d not let us make any transactions. Forget the fact we’d been using it for 2 weeks all over Europe…

Petrol problems sorted, car dropped off with no extra charges – woop! – and we were finally at the airport ready to fly home. Only problem…our flight was cancelled. This has never happened to me before, and I had no idea what would happen now. We were due to fly home with BA on one of the last flights out of Iceland of the day. There were no BA reps in the airport, and the poor customer service lady was hounded by hundreds of people looking for answers. After 45 minutes, a desk opened and we were told to board coaches for a nearby hotel where we’d be given further information. Unfortunately for me, I needed to get home that night and couldn’t risk being in Iceland for a few extra days. Making an emergency call home, we were able to book a different flight home to an airport just south of London. And after an additional delay on that flight, we finally arrived home at 3am the next morning. Not an ideal way to finish such an epic trip, but at least we made it home!

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6 thoughts on “Iceland | Exploring Reykjavik”

  1. Is there anything worse than a cancelled flight to end a trip?! Arghh!! You were lucky to be able to get another flight out!!
    And thank you for the tip about the viewing platform at the church, I had no idea that was a thing, and I can’t wait to head up there when we visit in November! Will also keep an eye out for the “market” 😉 hehe

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