The tale of how I booked an apartment last minute in this fine city, explored the back streets in search of colorful doors, got lost finding "The Sun Voyager " sculpture and became completely smitten Twith the Harpa Concert Hall...completely smitten!
I had decided that I would stay in a remote farmhouse by the sea. But when I shared this information with our tour driver he said the town I had chosen to stay in was like "Hicksville" (direct quote....) with nothing to see or do. So I went to www.airbnb.com, and chose an apartment to stay at, just two days before the end of the official tour. I love hotels but I am really starting to enjoy the thought of living in an apartment whilst traveling. You own that apartment, you have your keys, you can go grocery shopping, cook meals and sit out on the balcony. You are a local!
My host's name was Sissa Ólafsdóttir and she was awesome! She made me feel right at home and she even had some food and beverages available in the fridge in case I want to make breakfast. On the day I was leaving, she offered to give me a ride to the Flybus station, which is where buses depart every hour to the airport. When I told her I could take a taxi, she said she would not have it! Sissa is a professional photographer specializing in portraits. Her loft was almost like a museum. I admit that the first impression I had was that I had stepped in to a modern day witch's home. There was a strong smell of incense, the walls were painted black, there were weird objects all around, and eerie photos on the walls. It was a "Blair Witch Chic" design!The loft was on the Wharf and about a ten minute walk from the city center through the very artsy shipyard. It was $145 per night (taxes included) which is a great price considering how expensive Iceland can be! Because it was not in the city center, it gave me the opportunity to explore areas that normally would be overlooked. Score!
Sissa's loft is her hub of inspiration and is primarily where she works on her next projects when she is not teaching photography. Many of the portraits are taken by her and there are even some self-portraits. She has a website, www.sissa.is, and you can witness her eccentric taste on her Pinterest board,www.pinterest.com/sissais.
It's all about the accents.....
Reykjavik surprised me in terms of all the "hidden" colors in the city. I loved exploring and since it is more of a large town, I figured that I would forgo the map. Reykjavik has a very tall church with a tower that soars 244 feet in the air. I used it as a beacon. As long as I would walk towards the church tower, I'd be heading to the center and discovering things along the way. I walked through residential areas. Most of the homes are very industrial and square looking, with cement or corrugated metal being used as walls. However, no worries! The people know how to accent and stand out with colors! I was truly happy to see so many colorful doors! And the graffiti just adds to the fun!
It was a great journey and I am glad I made the decision to stay in Reykjavik. It's only a five hour flight non-stop from Boston. You can use this city as a layover for a day or two before heading to other European capitals! It becomes an interesting experience and even cost effective at times if you book a one-way ticket to your next destination! Last fun fact: I can now say that with Reykjavik situated at Latitude 64°08' N, I have been to the northernmost capital in the world!
To quote Wikipedia, "Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom."
With no map, I relied on the directions provided by the locals who speak English very well. Funny thing, when I arrived at the sculpture there was a group of about seven photographers with their tripods taking photos of the sculpture. I waited about fifteen minutes and they weren't budging. Finally, I photobombed their shot. Sorry fellow photographers but I was tired and in a rush to get home and make pasta!