I arrived in Reykjavik at around 6am, which would have been midnight in New York. I had only slept about two hours on the plane, so I couldn’t wait to get to my room and sleep.

I am unexpectedly alone for this part of the journey, so I booked a room in a 10 bed female dorm at a sleek, modern hostel housed in a luxury hotel. Sweet! But since January isn’t high season for travelers to Iceland, I had the whole dorm to myself. I pulled off my pants and bra,  crawled under the down comforter, and was asleep in no time. When I awoke, it was about 2pm local time and a young man was unpacking his things across the room from me! Oops. Someone made a mistake. Or presented me with an unexpected gift? No big deal, I just stayed under the covers until he went away for a while and then got dressed.

The hostel bar and coffee lounge. I think the headache I have right now is from caffeine withdrawal, maybe I should go down there for a while.


I puttered on my computer for a bit, but then realized there might not be much daylight left. It only stays light for about 6 hours in Iceland this time of year, roughly 11am until 5pm. I went to the window to see whether I’d need a jacket and was shocked to see gleaming blue water and snowcapped mountains outside my window!

I didn’t take this picture, but that is the view from my window.

The girls in the lounge downstairs warned me that the grocery store across the street is really expensive and told me to walk a few blocks to the Bonus (I swear, I was sure they were saying Boners.)

At the first corner, I could peer down the street and see the mountains and water. I walked down and took this shot.

This is three blocks from my room.

I can’t wait to explore that coastline. People were jogging along the water’s edge. Lovely!

The street was full of galleries, salons and stylish boutiques.

My street at sunset (5pm)
Keeping warm is what a lot of Reykjavik fashion is all about.
More warm fuzzy fashion.
The style here feels very Scandinavian, but also a little Eastern European? It’s a unique style for sure.
Vikings pop up in unexpected places.

Buying groceries was a little tricky. All the lunchmeat looked suspiciously like head cheese, except the salami, which was bright pink for some reason. The breads were hard to figure out. I think half of them were cornbreads? But I need to eat in for a while to conserve capital and the hostel has a nice kitchen, so I’m determined to cook.

People were very nice to me at the store. The man behind me in line actually chased me down outside to hand me something I’d left behind at the bagging station! Apparently “Grsht plrekenderken” means “you forgot this pepperoni” in Icelandic.

I was really looking forward to a tour. I’m dying to see the Northern Lights, and there are volcanos and magnificent waterfalls nearby, not to mention those glorious snow peaks. But my editors have dumped a ton of work on me this week, and I may not have time or money for a full-day tour of the area.

Just a reminder that I’m not on vacation here. This is my real life, and budget concerns and work interfere with fun just like they did at home. I will get out and explore that coastline, though, and see what the city has to offer.


Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Debbie Carter

    January 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    It actually looks warmer there than it feels here. Hot chocolate would have been good the past couple of days! Were those real fur coats or faux? Just wondering.

  • Lauren

    January 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I wondered that about the fur – it LOOKED real, but I only saw it through the store windows. I haven’t seen muffs since I was a kid, but I guess they’re a good way to keep your hands warm but your fingertips available for touchscreen use?

  • jasmine

    January 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I think the salami is pink because it might be salmon. Fishing is a big deal there and you’ll probably find fish more frequently than other meats. Enjoy your stay!!!