Colorful Reykjavik, Iceland: A Vibrant Nordic Treasure

Our week long camping excursion in Iceland has come to completion, and we are back in Reykjavik, the largest city in Iceland after a day spent touring the Golden Circle. We spent the last week touring the Ring Road and venturing into the Icelandic highlands with a rented Toyota Landcruiser, while tent camping each night. Today we opt to head into downtown Reykjavik with the kids before we head to our guest house for our final night in Iceland, since the kiddos didn’t get a chance to scope out the town yet. 

Well, as much as I pride myself on my driving skills, I am decidedly bad at backing up with a trailer. You see…in Reykjavik if you make a wrong turn you might end up in a dead end, and so it is that in a very short amount of time we manage to get into two situations requiring turning around… very tight quarters. 

I am totally crossways on the road here. Can’t pull forward, and can’t back up. 

David is frantically waving at me. Go this way. No that way! What are you doing? 
The second time we make a wrong turn we decide simply to get out and disconnect the trailer….you may remember the jack stand broke off the trailer earlier on this trip, so it isn’t as simple as it looks…..I might tell you a little lie and say that we don’t get mad at each other at all when we are trying to make these crazy moves in downtown Reykjavik. We are as calm and sweet as ever…..

You may remember where there is free parking in downtown Reykjavik…..yep, in the church parking lot…..the famous Hallgr√≠mskirkja church parking lot! Keep that in mind if you ever are in Iceland and can’t figure out their parking meters. 

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik Iceland
It’s a beautiful clear day so we decide to take the elevator up to the top of the church tower. The views are awesome!

View from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik Iceland

Looks like there’s a lot of new high rise condos coming up on the waterfront. I am not so sure I like them that much. 

View from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik Iceland

Oh hey…..there’s our car…..with the trailer that fills up with dust when you’re on a dirt road…..and the dust gets all over your stuff. Thanks to our rental company, Atak, for such poor planning. 

This dome has something to do with the geothermal heating system in Reykjavik. You may remember we visited the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in the beginning of this trip. The hot water from the plant flows down here some 35 km from Hellisheidi through pipes and provides heat for all of Reykjavik.  It’s pretty nifty! Hopefully nobody sabotages the pipes….or the plant….

I love the bright colors on the the buildings and roof tops. View from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik IcelandView from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik Iceland

Shipping port……View from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik Iceland

We make our way down to the shopping street. I have been smitten by this stool that is covered with Icelandic lamb’s wool. I want to buy one sooooooo bad…….but I am on a minimalist streak…… and this thing is ridiculously expensive…..I kid you not! It costs over $550 USD for this little foot stool! The price is sooooooo ridiculous! 

Icelandic Lamb' Wool Stool by Fuzzy

Icelandic Lamb' Wool Stool by Fuzzy

I grab a box. I select a white one…… I love it…….
Icelandic Lamb' Wool Stool by Fuzzy

….and then I set it down…… how on earth can I justify paying $550 bucks for a footstool? That’s simply nonsense!!!!! We leave the tempting shop and walk the streets some more. 

My sweet kiddos are getting so big. 

Before long it is getting late and we must leave to our guest house. We pile into the car, but rather than leave Reykjavik we stop at another store. Annika and I rush out…..

And this is what I buy to bring home… little piece of Iceland…..a throw pillow made of beautiful white Icelandic sheep wool! I love it. And I am sorry…..I have to succumb to my materialism….it’s only $100 instead of $550….

View from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower, Reykjavik Iceland
Finally we arrive at our guest house in Gardur, which is near the Keflavik Internaitonal Airport. This place is not near as nice as the one we stayed at in the beginning of our trip. It’s close to the sea……and when we pull up we have to almost plug our noses. There is a horrifying stench emanating from the fish plant just yonder……fresh country air…..
Guesthouse Seaside in Gardur, Iceland

Well, there’s work to be done. We need to empty everything out of the car and trailer, and pack for the trip home….with all hands on deck we set to work. 

We have two rooms here, for a total of about $220 USD. That takes care of 7 people, although breakfast is not included here. I guess that’s not too bad, all things considered. We had looked at a hostel in Reykjavik, but that would have cost us over $4oo for one night. 

When we get to our room I am pleased. It is spacious, which means I can get all our stuff organized and packed…..

Guesthouse Seaside in Gardur, Iceland

And boy……do I have organizing and packing to do……

The sun sets on our final day in Iceland. I have to say it. This is an amazingly beautiful and pure country. It’s clean. The air is fresh. The scenery is amazing. The hotsprings are plentiful. The mountains are impressive. The hiking is unrivaled. The glaciers are breathtaking. The glacial lagoons are a sight to behold. The F Roads are a riot. The myths and stories are spellbinding. The history is interesting. The people are beautiful. The churches are darling. The campgrounds are plentiful. The food is delicious. 

The only negative thing I can think of is the fact that it is very expensive to travel here. It’s inexpensive to get here……but the cost of staying here and being here and eating here and sightseeing here and driving here and lodging here….is frightfully pricey. 


I guess that’s what makes it a “once in a lifetime” type of trip, unless the prices should come down one day….who knows. I feel in my heart I will be back again. 

As I snuggle into bed next to my husband I reflect upon all these things. I am exhausted. And I am super glad that I planned our last night in a guest house rather than in a tent….this way I was able to get everything packed away properly. 

Tomorrow we will return the Toyota Landcruiser and trailer. The Atak office has promised that we can store our bags at their location for the day, thankfully! The airport here does not have a luggage holding service. We will drop Jasmine and Tristan off at the airport first thing for their morning flight. Then we will return our vehicle, pick up a small car for the day, and head to the Blue Lagoon……

As my eyes close I am envisioning myself floating in the milky blue water of the lagoon….slowly drifting….relaxed….at peace….