honestly, reykjavik is my favourite city by far. i have no idea why it took me so long to get my arse there, but when mum suggested we go for my birthday, and offered to pay for the trip on my grandad's behalf, how could i have refused such an amazing offer? basically everyone i know has been northern lights-hunting in this incredible country, but yet i'd never made a real effort in getting there. i feel foolish. i guess that's the beauty of hindsight, eh?
our first afternoon was spent wandering through the city from the hotel, and getting our bearings. it was within moments of getting out onto the street that i was sucked into the city's rough beauty and incredible graffiti and street art culture. really bright and colourful murals decorated alley walls, construction boards, road-side sheds, and everything in between. not tacky, rushed tags, but well thought out and and produced pieces of art - so pretty that even mum enjoyed them.
at every other building we were pointing out colours we could see. literally every colour of the rainbow was represented in this incredible nordic city - another reason for me to fall in love. it's no secret that i am a very visually-affected human, so give me something bright and colourful to take photos of, and i will. the ties with denmark/copenhagen and other nordic countries was certainly obvious, but there was something very different about reykjavik; something unique.
the views are incredible, from every single corner of the city. from up high you get the most spectacular sights of the old town out to the harbour, and a 360 degree view of the whole city. it's the most magical view, and one i could quite literally never get bored of. with snow-capped mountains beyond the harbour and the city's booming regeneration operation in full view, the juxtaposition of old and new couldn't seem more natural in this tiny city. tiny, sure, and easily navigated by foot, but still... tiring as hell.
it's expensive, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. the supermarkets aren't even less expensive than the cafes and coffee shops on the high streets and back streets, so - unless there's some obvious tricks i missed, don't even expect to find a bargain out there. hope your hotel has tea and coffee, and bed and breakfast, and stock up on snacks before you head out - it's the only way to save some money while out and about. we ate one big meal a day and snacked in between, and we were still spending the equivalent of about £30 each per meal - including alcohol. and that was mainly starters and sushi as we never even considered ordering from the main menu (preferring to have a few tastes of everything instead!).
seafood is a staple, and if i can make a few recommendations, i would definitely head to fish company for some sushi. i was told to try the fish market, but they weren't open for lunch so we decided on a whim to check this place out instead, and boy am i glad we did! the staff were so friendly and helpful, and the decor inside the restaurant was borderline contrived, taking "traditional" to a new level, but it all really worked! it was a great fluke we ended up there, but i can not speak more highly of it.
another fab couple of place we headed to were resto, and the jorgensen kitchen, both near our hotel. we didn't have one bad meal while we were there - honestly. seafood is my jam, and the icelandic do it well. really, really well. and at no point did we feel like we were being fed "tourist food". you know when they serve you local slop and dress it up to make it seem fancy? none of that. these dishes all came out to such a high standard that we totally forgave the prices. it was totally justifiable in our opinion, and i can't recommend any of them more.
or, the whole city, really. four days in reykjavik was not enough, but what a full four days they were. i saw some of the most amazing scenery while i was there, and was so lucky to have spent my birthday checking out a whole host of incredible national treasures. but, more on that later. for now, i hope i've inspired you with some of my favourites pictures of my new favourite city - reykjavik <3