the days in iceland are still a lot longer than they are here in denmark. now it gets dark here around 10 p.m., but i don't think it ever got completely dark when i was in iceland. reykjavik is such a small, safe city that i really enjoyed walking around by myself, even at night. i just wished i had a bike!
on sunday it rained. it's strange - on grey days in the north, the long summer days feel like a perpetual 8 a.m. june in california in which the fog never burns off. anyway, i went for a walk along the harbor that day and saw a rainbow... it was nice. that night i stayed in a private room in a hostel, conveniently the same hostel where two of my friends from my danish class were staying. i went to a flea market on sunday afternoon. afterwards i went to the icelandic national art gallery, which was amazing. all the exhibits were from 1900 onwards, and i found the art really captivating, especially the artists' use of light in their paintings. the majority of the art in the museum was paintings, although there were some sculptures as well. i learned a tiny bit of icelandic as well, and found out that "ljósmyndir", the name of a song by one of my favorite bands, the brian jonestown massacre, means "photographs".
on monday morning i flew to akureyri, iceland's "second" city. my friend dóra picked me up there and then we drove home to her town, húsavík, the whale-watching capital of europe. yes, we did go whale-watching, but not until wednesday. we spent monday napping, eating icelandic food (lots of fish, ham, bread, and cheese, yum), and exploring her town. that evening dóra and her brother and i went to a public hot tub that is actually full of saltwater. the place is called "ostkaret", or "the cheese tub", because it used to be a dairy. it was really nice to sit outside in the hot water in the rain, and my skin felt great afterwards.
huge dettifoss and tiny peoplei spent my last two nights in reykjavik at a preschool. before i left for iceland, i had no idea where i was staying for those thursday and friday nights, but my swedish host brother's wife is from reykjavik, and her sister works at this preschool. the preschool is closed for summer, so she let me stay there - for free! it was awesome. it's right downtown and i got a key and got to come and go whenever i wanted to. it was perfect. the place was really cozy, with colorful walls and lots of houseplants. anyway, i spent my last day in reykjavik walking around for a while, and then went to the blue lagoon, which was cool. it was nice but crowded and touristy. and of course, it was too sunny and warm to really get the full effect - i've heard it's best at night in the winter, when you're surrounded by snow. but i still enjoyed it. that evening i went swimming in the ocean in reykjavik. it wasn't as cold as i expected, or maybe i just had such an adrenaline rush that i didn't notice. but i think it was just about as cold as santa cruz in february.
i couldn't believe this place was real
i couldn't believe this place was real
i'm so glad that i got to tour iceland, or at least the northeast, with local friends instead of as a tourist. i definitely got a lot more out of my trip with them than i would have if i'd gone on a bus with dozens of other tourists. plus, i finally got to see dóra, whom i hadn't seen in over two years! whale-watching on wednesday was fun, too: we saw a humpback. a bird landed in its (gigantic) mouth but luckily escaped. it was a bummer that it rained the whole time i was in húsavík, but when i got back to reykjavík on wednesday evening it was sunny and, comparatively, very warm.
on friday, i pretty much just got up and left. it was, after all, time to go back to copenhagen, and i was ready to head home. my trip to iceland was an empowering one, and i already can't wait to go back.