Sunny Iceland

I know, I can’t believe it either. I’m writing a new post only a week after my last one! Ya’ll should give me a big pat on the back.

So a lot has happened in the last week. First was a long plane ride (only 5.5 hours, but it still felt long), and then we stopped in Iceland.

It was beautiful.

Imagine a place with only 300,000 people, clear sea breezes, and the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen. That’s what Iceland was like.

View of Reykjavik from the top of the Pearl

One of Jared’s friends from Iceland (I know, who has a friend in Iceland, of all places? It’s amazing the people you can meet in China.) met us and showed us around Reykjavik.

First, we went to the Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrim’s church), which is a large Lutheran church and something like the sixth tallest building in the city.

View of the front

It was strange inside–one of the barest tall churches I’ve been in. All the pillars were just plain white concrete reaching to the sky. It was like the plain Puritan aesthetic met a Gothic cathedral.

View of the organ (and crooked, to boot)

According to Jared’s friend Helgi, Icelandic churches are pretty nominally religious. Most people go for their confirmation around 13 or 14, but that’s mostly so they can throw a big party and get some money and gifts. And after that, nobody attends church.

After seeing the Hallgrimskirkja, we went up to a giant tower that was built to give good views of the city. I didn’t take any pictures of the tower itself, but I got some great ones of the city looking out to the harbor!


Everything was so clear and blue. It was amazing, though a little chilly. Temperatures were around 50 degrees, I think, which was fabulous after coming from steamy Virginia, though a little unexpected.

Icelandic hotdogs were another treat we got to try. Apparently they’re unusual because of the toppings put with them–fresh onions, crunchy fried onions (which were way better than French’s, in case you’re concerned), “ketchup” (which looked and tasted nothing like American ketchup), and mustard, which tasted more like mayonnaise. President Clinton himself got a hotdog at the same hotdog stand we did, though apparently he got them without the toppings (now it’s called a “Clinton” in Iceland).

Icelandic Hotdogs
Icelandic hotdogs
icelandic hotdogs
The first kiss bite

The next highlight was getting to see the house where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1986 to discussing loosening Cold War tensions. And of course Jared had to reenact the historic handshake. Perfectly thrilling.

Reagan-Gorbachev 1986
Ronald Reagan on the left, Gorbachev on the right.

Other highlights of Iceland included getting to go to the thermal swimming pool (it was warm and felt lovely), jumping into a 41 degree tub of ice water (on Helgi’s dare) after being in a 104 degree hot tub, eating Icelandic pastries, seeing the Icelandic foreign minister randomly walking down the sidewalk, hearing Helgi’s father on the radio, and seeing the weirdest paintings ever in the Hallgrimskirkja.

This was some Icelandic artist who was having an exhibition in the church for that month, and he had some strange conceptions of art. Below is one of the less strange ones (viewer discretion advised).


And after all that, we got on a plane and flew off.

Reykjavik Harbor
Sailing off into the wild blue yonder

And a sneak preview–guess where this was taken? (If you can’t guess, you’ve been living under a rock your entire life.)

Big Ben
Guess where?

P.S. If you come visit us, you too can stop over in Iceland at no additional charge if you fly Icelandair or Wow airlines (I think). It’s a great place to see a little of, especially if you have a friend who can show you around!

One thought on “Sunny Iceland

  1. Nels Nelson

    Your post has given me a longing to see beautiful Iceland. It’s nothing short of amazing what you were able to pack into 10 hours! I love how you gave us the names of everything – they conjure up imagesof fierce Vikings!

    Annie Nelson. Sent from my iPhone


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