Icelandic Sunburn

Europe 2009-10 Update #1:
Reykjavík, Iceland

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After departing Los Angeles, I flew to Reykjavík via New York, and stayed with my wonderful CouchSurfing host Gaui Emilsson. I arrived at Keflavík airport on a Thursday (8.20) and took the beautiful hour-long bus ride into central Reykjavík, and dragged my bags to Gaui's apartment, where he set me up in his living room on a couch that folded out into a bed.

Other than the short time he lived in Copenhagen, Gaui has always lived in the Reykjavík area. He owns and runs a really tiny clothing store on one of the main shopping streets, and was busy preparing for the cultural festival on August 22nd.

Gaui's friends were wonderful, the Icelandic people are wonderful, Iceland is just wonderful. I have never been to a place so awesome - in the literal sense of the word. Every stereotype about Iceland and the Icelandic people is really true, and that is also wonderful:

Yes, the water is incredibly clean, and the hot water smells like sulphur (it is pumped up from hot springs or something).

Yes, the air is incredibly clean too, and on a clear day you can see to the very end of the horizon - it is spectacular.

Yes, there are not a lot of trees, which I actually thought was beautiful. When you drive outside the city, the environment is so bare. It really is so nice to just stare at the shapes of the mountains and hills.

Yes, alcohol (and pretty much everything) is expensive. You can only buy booze from the government-run liquor stores. That's a drag indeed, but I must admit the liquor store I went to was the most impeccably designed liquor store I've ever seen.

Yes, the national sport in Iceland (other than handball) is drinking. Of course now I realize the Danes probably drink more, but the Icelandic youth seem to have less shame about how drunk they get. It's supposedly normal to go for a round of shots with your buddies and then all go throw up together! What fun! I had to deal with one of these types personally when a local (and completely wasted) girl stole my jacket while I was watching some band play. I later had to practically argue with her in order to get it back later. That was fun.

One exception: Unlike most of Europe, there are babies EVERYWHERE in Reykjavík. Tons and tons of little towheaded beautiful viking children. It was a baby invasion.

But really, Reykjavík is such an amazing place. I have already come to the conclusion that Iceland draws a certain type of traveler. Of course some people want to go see the geysers, fjords, and the tourist trap that is the Blue Lagoon, and I understand that. But one Reykjavík resident told me that some people go to Iceland and end up getting "bitten." I know I've been bitten and now I'm hooked, and cant wait to go back.

I really could write about my time there forever, but I really haven't digested the mere three days I spent in the world's northernmost capital.

All I can say is GO. And bring sunscreen. I got the most painful sunburn across the bridge of my nose. The midnight sun is bright.

Here is a hurriedly edited video of my first afternoon in Reykjavík:

1. JFK International Airport, New York City
2. Keflavík International Airport, Keflavík, Iceland
3. Bus ride from Keflavík to Reykjavík
4. Walking around my host's neighborhood in Reykjavík

I will post the photos I took in Reykjavík after they are done uploading. They are pretty disappointing. I was too distracted to take photos.

Here are the photos from the end of August in Los Angeles.

Next update:
- First impressions of Copenhagen
- Ethan and I go to Malmö, Sweden
- My new bike / Kollegium (dorm)

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