There are trips, and there are trips. This afternoon, we leave for Iceland.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to Iceland. As a kid, I pictured iceland as the most remote place on Earth: more “North Poley” than the North Pole itself, somehow. (Reykjavik is, in fact, the world’s northernmost capital city.)
I also just liked saying the name of the capital: Reykjavik. “RAY-key-ah-vic!” It sounds like the name of an exotic liqueur: “I’d like a shot of Reykjavik, please.” The drink would be neon-blue, maybe glowing, and served in a shot glass carved from a single cube of ice.
The name actually means “Smoky Cove.” Early settlers saw steam billowing up from the volcanic vents and thermal pools and made those clouds the city’s namesake. Today, 90% of homes in Reykjavik are heated cheaply and efficiently by hot spring water. (Those volcanic springs are also the source of the hot water coming out of the bathroom tap … which is why, I’m told, the local water has a sulphurous, rotten-egg smell.)
I’ve done my research, and I have my list. There are Icelandic ponies to ride, glaciers to hike, geysers to watch. I plan to do as the locals do: showering gloriously naked in the public baths before plunging into the turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon.
I will eat what reviewers call the world’s best hotdogs (made from lamb, I understand) and the world’s best fish and chips (from a joint called, logically enough, Fish n’ Chips). I will also sample puffin, shark, lobster, minke whale on a stick, and sunour — a sort of local cinnamon roll coated with rich chocolate frosting.
I’ll be doing all of this, of course, with Clyde, the love of my life, at my side. What could possibly be better? (Having two great friends along for the ride, perhaps? Why, yes!)
And, despite all the preparation, I’m also planning to just let go of my plans: to be aware of options, but open to surprises … thinking ahead, but being in the moment. Reykjavik is small enough to wander around without getting lost, and I’m eager to see what comes of wandering the street, following my whims, and discovering the city without the pressure of an agenda.
We’ve rented an apartment for the week, complete with high-speed WiFi access for easy posting of blog entries and photos. And so, of course, you’re invited to come with me as I fulfill a lifetime dream: walking the streets of Reykjavik.
I’ll see you in Iceland.