Published: May 17th 2012May 17th 2012
I have made it to the island of fire and vikings! I was brought in on the red eye and have had today to try and recoup the sleep deprivation and to enjoy the city. The city is quite similar in feel to Helsinki, the port is right to the south of my hostel and the church is,of course, right at the top of a big hill. The church is really quite fantastic, with columns reaching high into the sky. I have assigned myself some homework though as I could not discern which religion it belongs to. I usually stop into churches to say a prayer and noticed that in this one there was no symbol of Jesus (or anyone I recognized) anywhere.
The city, town really, has its own vibe. Quite peaceful actually. Stores sell handmade woolen products, outdoor clothing and Icelandic souvenirs up and down the main street. WCs are scattered about, and yes you do have to pay to use them! Every single person I have met is proficient, expert level even, in English. However, tourist sights and basic items that are usually put into English for the tourists remain firmly in Icelandic. I like that though,
a country that welcomes you, but still demands you respect their language. I totally dig it. Stores tout these big signs to lure you in -Tax Free! Well, its not quite that simple. You, as a tourist, purchase your goods and pay your taxes and then take your receipt to a tourist office for a refund of those taxes. You have paid the tax and if you follow the correct steps you can have it refunded, follow me... Apparently this is common throughout Europe, but this is the first time I have seen it so visible and inquired about this.
The hostel I am staying in is really quite nice, and as I am certain there is a world wide conspiracy to ensure I lose some tonnage, I am near the top floor. I stick religiously to a 30 pound limit, usually, but this time with books I am closer to 50. Reading fast to loose weight! I have met several travelers who are here on an extended vacation, weeks, months even. As a power traveler, the quintessential planner, I can´t imagine weeks in one place with nothing to do, unless I am home of course! Iceland is world renown for their adventure opps, so I am going to see just what they have to offer in the next few days. A