Reykjavik is a small, but magical little city. How could it not be when so many of its residents believe in invisible elves? This city on the water offers spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, and the cutest little Scandinavian houses I've ever seen. Despite the proximity to amazing outdoor activities, the city isn't full of hippy hikers and outdoor Gore Tex lovers (lookin' at you, Montana). Instead it's packed with artists, musicians and super hip young people. It's more Brooklyn than Brooklyn. It spawned Bjork.
Mike and I arrived early (6:45 a.m.!) in Reykjavik and weren't able to check into our hotel, so instead we wandered around the sleeping city, which was bathed in a glowing blue light. Since the sun doesn't rise till 9:30 a.m. in winter there, it's essentially dusk for four hours. Once Hallgrímskirkja (the main church) opened, we rushed up to the top to take in panoramic views of the city. It was breathtaking. And made even better since we were the only ones there. Besides the South Coast, it was my favorite part of the trip.
All the restaurants and bars we visited were masterfully curated and incredibly cute. The food was awesome too. Their seafood definitely rivals Baltimore's. The colorful, glass opera house was my favorite building. In fact I was so mesmerized, we went back twice to experience it. I also loved our "magic hour" hike through snow up to the Perlan (another place to take in panoramic city views). We also visited their weekend flea market, though left empty-handed. The sculptures and graffiti around the city were such a delight -- whimsical, fun, and utterly surprising.
Even though it was the middle of winter and spot blizzards were a daily occurrence, the super stylish locals still rode their bikes and ran around the city like it was no thang. No one carried umbrellas during rain storms or even had hoods. And yet, they all looked straight out of a magazine. It was impressive. Mike and I, on the other hand were clearly tourists with our waterproof jackets and rain-soaked hair. At least we were able to take our drowned-rat selves into local spots for donuts, hot chocolate, and happy hours without judgment.