We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland on Friday (Jun 8). The days are very long (literally). It’s 12 AM now, but the sun is still up. A man in a music store today told us to tape an elastic band to a sock to cover up our eyes to fall asleep at night. We also tried shirts and bandanas but eventually settled on a sheet in front of the window. We are staying in the basement apartment of a very kind family. They have been very warm to us and have helped us quickly adjust to the many changes of living in Iceland. The first thing we realized was that our skin felt really good after showering, but the smell wasn’t as pleasant. The water here is extremely pure but has a rotten egg smell from its high sulfuric content. We have one electric stove that we have been cooking all of our meals with but are eating really well. Nazli is a very creative cook. To get our food we went to a grocery store called Bonus, the cheapest one around. We both wore t-shirts there and froze because rather than having freezers they had frozen rooms. Overall, we found good stuff including Philadelphia cream cheese, Nesfit cereal, and the Icelandic version of Greek yogurt called Skyr (not skier as we were saying it but skeer).
Nazli has noticed some interesting similarities between Turkey and Iceland. One they are both on the outskirts of Europe and both not in the EU. Even though the language is different on the products in stores the packaging (brands) are the same as those in Turkey. Another random thing is that the word for elephant is pronounced the same way only in Turkish and Icelandic: fil (Turkish) fíll (Icelandic).
We are going to use this basement apartment as our base and take advantage of the two months to travel to many different places. We actually have a heavy collection of brochures, booklets, and maps for each trip. We have spent the first couple of days exploring Reykjavik and how to get around the city. The busses were very easy to figure out, but our legs have been useful too. We are planning on renting bikes as soon as possible. There are two main streets in Reykjavik (there are probably other important streets but these are the two we know so far): Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur. Laugavegur is a street full of boutiques, restaurants, and touristy shops that probably sell everything five times what its worth. We got great black coffee at a place called Te & Kaffi. While we were walking there was an antique car show. We also heard jazz playing from the distance and followed it to an outdoor concert at Jómfrúin famous for its open Danish sandwiches. It was actually alto saxophonist Sigurður Flosason’s quintet, a musician who visited Brown three years ago. We were looking for a place to eat for a reasonably priced meal and sat down at a few places before heading to the 1011 Grocery store to get Skyr and some other snacks. We discovered Skólavörðustígur while looking for an art supplies store and found it to be quieter and more residential. Skólavörðustígur ends with the Hallgrímskirkja Church and we were lucky enough to hear a small organ performance when we went inside. We found an awesome Bohemian coffee shop called Mokka and after drinking delicious coffee there found out its a famous spot for artists to hang.