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Published: December 30th 2017
Surprise! I'm in Iceland! Not surprised? Yeah, ok I guess not much of a surprise... although it's my first time during winter, so this will be new.
I flew WOW for the first time - it was clean, it was as comfortable as any other carriers (except be aware there are no TVs/movies so bring your own entertainment!). I like the quirks they offer - everything is purple and everything has little sayings on it. (Ex: my headrest said "Hi! I'm your seat!" ; the drink cart said: "They see me rolling...") I had no problems, but we sat on the tarmac FOREVER in MTL, so a lot of people around me were pretty freaked out about making connections. I'm going to wager they all made their connections, but that their bags did not.
Literally the FIRST thing I did once I cleared customs in Iceland was get myself some Skyr. Honestly, and somewhat embarrassingly, Skyr is one of the reasons I will connect thru Iceland just to get a fix haha. The stuff they sell at Costco and Loblaws just is not the real deal.
Ah, and speaking of customs - they always make me laugh here.
"Hello. What's your final destination?" Reykjavik. "Ooooh welcome and enjoy the party! *STAMP*" Good thing I heard they were getting more strict... ahem.
Getting to the hostel at 7am, I obviously was a little early for check-in. I had a super long chat with the receptionist (which is odd for me), but it's Iceland, they're all friendly and want to share their traditions - I got a full rundown of how batshit crazy the city goes for New Year's Eve. I also got handy tips about where to go buy fireworks (it's legitimately a fundraiser for Icelandic Search and Rescue... which seems... like an odd fundraiser, but hey, seems to work). I won't join in the BUYING of them... but I'm sure the show will live up to expectations.
I figured I should actually go do something and for some reason that translated in my mind to 'hey let's walk to the legit other end of the city after only having had about 30 minutes of sleep bud'. Of course the problem with walking 75 minutes west, means that inevitably you also have to walk it back. That was an error in judgment lol. So much so that
I ditched the boat hide to VIdey I was supposed to do because that thought of adding 2-3 hours onto that was making my left leg want to fall off.
But that doesn't mean I didn't love my walk! I popped into the local 10-11 (which is like 7-11) to grab a drink and boy was the guy at the cash chatty. For some unknown reason he started talking to me about horror movies, which led into him giving me a full breakdown and critique of Cabin in the Woods. To be fair, I let him kept talking... but like... why? Why are you monologuing a 10-min spiel to a random tourist who just wants to buy some apple juice in peace.
I then went by Hofdi - the house where Gorbachev and Reagan met to work towards the end of the Cold War. They have a piece of the Berlin Wall there (which wasn't there last time), so that's cool. I should note that it was almost 10am now and still pitch black outside, without a soul to be found... it was eery how quiet everything was. Hofdi is just below the seawall/seawalk, so that was my
next stop and I headed towards town. The landscape was beautiful - across the water are snow capped mountains and as time went by, the shades of blue in the sky was just spectacular. I made my way to the "Sun Voyager" (the boat statue) and that's when things started to pick up - the sky was a little brighter still, other tourists were around and it seemed like people were out of the hibernation. I love the Sun Voyager - it has such an interesting shape to it and the backdrop is just perfect.
I lazed around downtown for a bit... I was feeling my lack of sleep (and food) though, so I started to trudge back towards the hostel. I do have to say the downtown area is really beautiful for Christmas - it isn't overly decorated, but a lot of simple white lights, giant bell wreaths and some hidden elves/trolls/whatever they are. As I went to check in at the hostel, they told me there was an overbooking. I just kind of stared at her because that usually does not end in my favour with hostels. But thankfully this time it did! First two nights I
get upgraded to a single room (well if you insist) before having to move the 4-bed dorm, but then also free breakfast for my entire stay since it's such a hassle to move my bag down like... 3 rooms apparently lol. I happily accepted that turn of events. Especially since breakfast is normally $20...!
I had to go back out for groceries (sigh). Walk home had a scary moment - there was a huge accident literally a block in front of me at one of the main intersections... let me tell you the two cars did not miss each other in the least, and they hit 2 more in the ricochet. I just kind of stopped in my tracks for a second - the noise, the crunch of the metal, it's really horrible. But thankfully everyone seemed to be relatively ok. A police car happened to be coming down the street on the other side, so they quickly got to work and it was amazing to see everyone just jump out of their cars to go help the moment it happened. Thankfully the bystander effect did not take place.
So yeah. No good segue to finish things up.
I'm still not sure what my plan of attack is tomorrow for the fireworks. I had wanted to go down to the main area, but from what I'm hearing it's a total gongshow lol (literally EVERYONE has fireworks and they just shoot them all over the place), sooooo I might just enjoy the show from a further (ie safer) distance. Also the fact I've been hearing them since 3pm TODAY is probably a good sign that tomorrow really will be insane. In fact, I'm sure if I opened my blinds right now I'd see some going off in the field beside us.
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