Return to familiar Reykjavík

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There’s something to be said for traveling somewhere you’ve been before, especially a foreign country.

When we landed about 7 a.m. at Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport in February, it was dark and snowing. Fortunately, everything was familiar – we rented our SUV from the same company and as in 2012, the drive into Reykjavík was easy to remember and we reserved a room at the same guesthouse as before, just across from the Hallgrímskirkja church.

As on our last trip, we spent our first day on foot in the downtown area, centered around the main street of Laugarvegur.

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First came cups of coffee in a cafe, then a stop at a grocery store to buy food for the days ahead. We wandered down to the waterfront, to the glass-paneled Harpa cultural center and old harbor, then over to Tjörnin, where ducks and geese paddled a small part of the lake that wasn’t frozen and sought handouts of food. Back uphill, we took the elevator to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, looking out over the city as a snow flurry blew through. We stopped in shops and looked over menus at restaurants, sampled Icelandic microbrews at a bar, then ate dinner. As the sun set on our way back to the guesthouse, we took in the lit up Hallgrímskirkja tower and statue of Leifur Eriksson.

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The next day, we drove northeast to the Myvatn area. When we returned to Reykjavík about week and a half later, we spent our last afternoon and evening in the country in much the same manner.

The morning of our departure, we stopped at the Blue Lagoon spa for a soak in the geothermal pool on the way to the airport, as we did on our last trip. We found, however, that because of its growth in popularity, it’s now advisable to have a reservation – it was filled to capacity, and we had to wait an hour for someone else to leave. Once in, we took the opportunity to relax before flying home.

Here are more photos from Reykjavík.

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