Just thought I'd check in with some pictures from Iceland!
I'm not really sure how to describe Iceland. On the one hand it's like no place I've ever been before. But on the other hand there are similarities to other places. It's overcast, drizzly and grey just like Seattle is most of the winter, but if you're not in the city of Reykjavik it seems much more drab and gloomy than Seattle. And it definitely feels very European so that's not new. But I do have to say that aside from the city of Reykjavik it feels quite desolate. Once you get outside the city and start driving there is nothing around for as far as you can see. Except for fields of mossy rocks (probably where the elves live that so many people here believe in!) and the coast line. Occasionally you spot a lonely little house by the water like the one below (and not a great picture because it was taken from inside a bus).
Parker actually said that the landscape looked like where the rock trolls live in the movie Frozen. And that is actually a good comparison...it seems like at any second all of the rocks could start rolling and turn into little creatures!
And the Blue Lagoon is pretty much in the middle of no where...but amazing to say the least. The water is a pretty shade of blue and the rocks that surround it are all turned white around the edges from the salt. And the fog just whips quickly over the water. Getting from the building in the water was brutal because it was so windy and so very cold. On one trip back into the building it took both myself and another woman to open the door because the wind was so strong that it was hard to open the door against the wind. But once inside the water it was toasty warm and so incredibly relaxing. It was hot enough in the water that Parker ordered a slushy drink from the swim up bar and it didn't make you cold to drink it. It was a really fun and relaxing excursion for all three of us. So I'd say the Blue Lagoon is a must if you visit Iceland.
Onto the City of Reykjavik...it's quite a charming little city. We're staying here, in the Residence Hotel which is a historic house turned hotel and it's great. I highly recommend it. The walls are filled with framed old photographs of the family that built and lived in the house as well as other historical shots of the city. It's an old building but completely renovated, clean and modern on the inside. And it's perfectly situated near the water and the center of town. You can walk all over the main part of the city and there are tons of great restaurants, shops, bars and coffee houses. It's not a huge city...I feel like it's probably more about the size of a large town in New Jersey. But I would say it has the feel of a ski town. It also doesn't hurt that the city is completely decorated in Christmas lights right now. If anyone out there needs any recommendations on where to eat or shop in Reykjavik...let me know!
One thing that I've heard of but had forgotten was that apparently in some Scandinavian and Nordic countries, people put their babies outside in the cold to nap in the strollers...including outside restaurants or coffee shops while the parents go inside. Walking around yesterday I saw it several times....You just walk down the street and there's a random baby stroller with a baby in it sitting outside a coffee shop...in some instances there was a parent right in the window but not in all cases. I guess Reykjavik is one of the safest cities in the world so no one's going to snatch the baby! And as you can see in the picture below one mom even left her purse on the stroller so I guess she wasn't too concerned about it getting stolen!
There are also great signs outside restaurants and bars...like these two:
And everyone speaks English fluently here. In a city like Paris, people speak English, but not always very well and certainly not grammatically correct. Everyone's English here is pretty near perfect. I'm thinking they must learn English in school.
Okay...I'll stop my rambling! This has been a great little stop over and it's been great to experience a new country and culture. We're headed home tomorrow. I was especially sad to leave Paris the other day and I'm bummed that our vacation is over. But at the same time it's always nice to go home! And it'll be great to see those two rascally dogs of ours!