Travel Date: Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Many of from the group had tickets to go to the blue lagoon today, and I did not. So, I decided to venture out for a self-walking tour of Reykjavik. But first, I need to get some coffee from Reykjavik Roasters.

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They do a pour over for all their coffee. It is one of the reasons I keep coming back here.

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It takes a while to get. It is not quick and hustled like coffee culture in the United States, but definitely worth the wait.

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After uploading pictures on instagram, charging my phone, it is time to head out and hopelessly wanderer around Reykjavik. I’m staying about a 10-15 minute walk from the main city, so the houses around are less colorful.

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I walk past the Hallgrímskirkja, but it is so misty, I opt out of walking inside to get a view from the top.

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And now the colorful buildings begin.

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Sidewalk street art.

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Colorful buildings with graffiti and murals.

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I’m not sure what this represents, but I thought it was cool.

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For the record, I did not drink from this fountain.

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One of the popular intersections which leads to the Hallgrímskirkja in Iceland.

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The official Viking mascot of Iceland. Not really! Just a joke.

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I walk towards the Harpa Concert Hall, and decide to peek in.

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That is what the people outside look like.

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The Atlantic Ocean. Greenland is too far away to be in visual sight. I know it looks close on a map.

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The Marina.

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The Icelandic Coast Guard. I believe 1 of 3 ships.

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I wonder if this was the model used before the building was built.

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I head out from the Harpa, and it looks like there are lots of people moving around now.

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I walk past the Ráðhús Reykjavíkur (Reykjavik City Hall)

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There was free entertainment with the ducks waddling in the pond, and “shaking their tail feather.” 🙂

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The ocean and nearby smaller islands.

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More head art.

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I walk towards the Hallgrímskirkja Church, and up the steep street of Skólavörðustígur. I cannot pronounce it. I just copied and pasted from Google Maps. 🙂

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The weather has cleared up significantly. There is no fog or mist. So views from the tower should be clear. I buy a ticket for 900 kr. About US $8.50 to US $9.00.

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There is a long line from where you purchase the ticket, to waiting for the elevator.

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While you wait you can admire the local church artwork.

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I/we are next.

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A group selfie of strangers, who will probably never see this picture. Not 6 people, but definitely < 630 kgs.

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Another flight of stairs.

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And finally to the top.

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The views of the city of Reykjavik are clear.

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This is the main picture everyone goes for. The beautiful city of Reykjavik, and their colorful houses.

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I’m tempted to turn the dial and change the time. Do you think anyone will notice?

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And a line for the super small elevator back down.

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A final look back at back of Hallgrímskirkja Church.

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As I am walking back, I see a pool sign. I recall our Free City Walking Tour Guide telling us that there are public pools that we can go to instead of the “Blue Lagoon”, and that they are widely used by the public.

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This looks like the small one. I know there is a larger one that many recommended going to.

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As I am walking back to the house, I noticed that the cars are parked in different directions on the same side of the road. In Virginia, United States, this gets you a ticket. I guess, not so much in Iceland.

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More street graffiti.

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Streets and colorful apartments.

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I get home, change, pick up my running shorts (which I plan to use as my swim shorts), and walk towards the largest public pool in Reykjavik. It is a good 45 minute walk. Another opportunity to see the city. I walk by dedicated walking and biking lanes. Signs of a progressive and urban city.

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I walk by the soccer stadium. Iceland did very well in the last Futbol World Cup

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And then 45 mins later, I arrive at Laugardalslaug.

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It is the city’s largest pool with extensive facilities, located in Laugardalur Valley. Its facilities include a 50m outdoor pool, outdoor children’s pool and paddling pool, two waterslides, numerous hot tubs, steam bath, gym and mini golf course.

It costs about USD $10 to use.

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I get my access band, and it also gives me access to a locker that is sensitive to my band identification. Technology is cool!

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First step is getting through security with the band which was a little tricky.

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Very important information. You are required to get naked, wash thoroughly, and then put your swimsuit on. They even had tv screens and a person monitoring in the male bathroom. You could tell the locals from the tourists, by those who got comfortable getting naked.

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I really loved the locker band and the technology.

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I couldn’t take my camera to the public pool, so I took some of the pictures from their website. This is one of the smaller pools with the slide. Yes, I channel by inner 5 year old and went on it.

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This is the larger pool that I swam a few laps in.

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And then there were 5 smaller thermal pools. 44C, 42C, 40C, and 38C. I went in all of them. And finally I had to jump in the 1-5C pool filled with COLD COLD icelandic water. I stayed in there for about 1 minute.

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I met a few locals at Laugardalslaug, including an Iraqi immigrant and a bar staff. They told me that I could catch the bus back. Time to try public transit in Reykjavik.

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But first, I have to get a hot dog, because I am starving.

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I’m not sure what I got, but it was delicious and crunchy. Hot dogs are crunchy in Iceland.

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Now waiting for the bus.

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Trying to figure out the map, where I am, and where I’m headed.

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Can I use my coins. They are dragging my pants down.

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Looks like I’m paying 440 ISK for a single fare trip.

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I get off at Hlemmur, which is the closest stop to my apartment, and just crash in my bed.

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Later in the evening, the group gets back from their Blue Lagoon adventure, and we head out to a local burger joint (Tommi’s Burger Joint): Hamborgara Búllan

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It reminds me of Jack Browns Burger in Roanoke, Virginia. The place is small, few chairs, and eventually we get a large table.

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Slowly one at a time we get our burgers. It was good. Nothing fancy to rave about, just good burgers.

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Group Picture: and yes Astrid rarely smiles in pictures. 🙂

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I’m still hungry so I grab a chocolate shake.

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And we walk back home, enjoying the night lights of Iceland.

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The Harpa at night.

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The boardwalk after the Harpa.

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The Sólfarið: Sun Voyager

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A stop over at the local grocery store for some supplies.

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And then after a short nap, we hit the town for the nightlife.

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We meet some locals at a bar that plays a lot of hip-hop music.

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And then the munchies kick in. We go to local lobster shack …

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To get some lobster chowder.

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And then it begins to rain, while we wait for a taxi. Oh well, we might as well pretend we are happy in the rain.

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And finally we get home.

Reflections:

Today was a long day. Lots of walking around Reykjavik, and getting to know and see the various colored buildings, street art, graffiti, and mural works. I’m grateful for the clear view of the Hallgrímskirkja Church, and the tip from the locals of checking out the public pools. The Laugardalslaug was amazing and cheap, and I thoroughly enjoyed the slip and slide.

Burgers, Fries, and Chocolate Milkshake with the group was a nice touch. Food and Drink are expensive in Reykjavik, so prepared to break the bank. And the night out tested my ability to be a 30+ year old and still hang out with the 20+ something crowd.

Good Memories.

Expenses: (to come)