It’s nice to be back in Reykjavik, still somewhat familiar since our first visit 3 years ago. Our journey was mostly uneventful except for the US customs song and dance: more than an hour to check in and go through US übersecurity and passport control at YVR for a 29-minute flight to Seattle.

Of course our bike boxes, after careful packing, were cut open by US Border Agents looking for illicit and dangerous items, but thankfully all our stuff made it through undamaged and nothing was removed.

We arrived at Keflavik Airport at 6.45 AM Saturday and took the Flybus into town. The driver dropped us off right at the City Campsite. We pitched our tent and Jan laid down for a little sleep but I was unable to, so, instead, I put our bikes together. Afterward, I too laid down to have a nap but it didn’t happen.

Please... can I have a bite?
Please… can I have a bite?

We wandered into town to explore and find a place to have dinner. Along the way, we ducked into a bakery to wait out the rain. Jan made the critical error of ordering a whole wheat croissant instead of the Kleine með súkkulaði. A choice she ultimately regretted.

Downtown Reykjavik is pedestrian and bike friendly with unique gates blocking cars.

Bikes allowed
Bikes allowed

After several hours of getting in and out of the rain and checking out the shops and tourist info stations to gather some information for our journey east we ended up at Shalimar, a Pakistani-Indian restaurant with excellent food. If you find yourself in Reykjavik with a craving for Indian, this is the place!

We managed to stay awake until past 10 PM. After having been up for more than 30 hours, I finally surrendered my consciousness to blissful sleep.  It’s amazing what 11 hours of sleep will do. The morning was grey again but looked promising and we sauntered back from the campground to the city’s centre.

Downtown on the waterfront stands Harpa, a cube-like structure that is a concert hall and conference centre. It is the winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award.

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik

Walking through the door is a bit like walking into an Escher drawing with the stairs, walkways and walls going off at impossible angles.

The mezzanine inside Harpa

Some of the exterior walls are made up of 3-dimensional hexagonal frames with glass on all sides.


Other walls are made of odd-shaped pentagonal frames encasing glass. Through it all, the waterfront and harbour are visible on one side, and on the other, the rugged landscape of the mountains north of Reykjavik. It is pure architectural eye candy.

The harbour view from inside Harpa

There are multiple levels to enter the main Eldborg concert hall. All walkways look down on the mezzanine where a small restaurant is situated. When we were there, an accordion player entertained the lunch crowd with his tunes but the building is the main performance.

Some of the other sights in downtown Reykjavik:

Reykjavik hipster
Reykjavik hipster
Has 9-5 got you down? Go on a bike trip
Has 9-5 got you down?
I agree, but perhaps without the truck
I agree, but perhaps without the truck

11 thoughts on “Reykjavik

  1. Looks like a great start to your journey. I will just sit back (in the rain at the moment) and live vicariously through you 🙂
    Love you and stay safe!

  2. Be sure to have Vinatarta! Check in at bakeries. It is fantastic!


    ps — love the hipster.

    On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 12:53 PM, 2lovecycling

  3. Oh, how I love Reykjavik. Have fun. I should’ve given you our hotsprings of Iceland book. It can be found in the bookstore on the main drag…

  4. Your blog is just like watching a favourite series of something on tv. Looking forward to the next episode now. I know I am going to enjoy “journeying” with you. STILL not too late to factor in Scotland!

  5. I totally understand the architecture of the Harpa, the glass represent crystal shapes …
    Whether the architects were thinking the same thing …
    … these are my thoughts!

  6. I’m going to love following you on your journey. Your commentary and photos are awesome! I hope you gave Jan a bite of that pastry!

  7. Hello you two traveling love birds. Love the script and the pictures. I spent a half hour looking at your pictures you have on file. When you get closer to Oslo I am going to get the address of my cousin for you. He is a mover and a shaker just like you two are. Keep Going!

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