On my second day in Reykjavik, I woke earlyish and got a lift into the centre of town with Inga, on her way to Uni. It was still very dark, and as pretty much everything was closed, I decided to walk to a cafe I had heard about and have some breakfast while I waited for the city to wake up. I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu (porridge with caramelised banana)and a pot of tea, and sat reading the fantasy novel i had bought the day before, and watching the street outside.
The Laundromat, yes, it is a cafe and it is actually also a laundromat!
Around 9:45am, it started to get light, so I walked up the hill to the big church. As I approached, the clock struck 10, and the bells in the tower rang out. I recall the feeling of the sharp morning air whipping past me down the street, the sound of the bells, calling out a slow, slightly mournful version of the melody you always hear from clock tower bells.
I got a ticket for the viewing area at the top of the tower, and went up. There were a few people about, but not many. I overheard a group of welsh tourists and some english tourists comparing notes on what they had seen in Iceland so far; the blue lagoon, the whales, the northern lights of course.
I stayed up there for a while, just watching the city come alive. Even though I have been thoroughly enjoying the company of everyone at Nes, it felt so nice to be on my own again, with no need to speak to anyone or go anywhere in particular. I just wandered at my own pace, stopping as I liked to take pictures of all the beautiful, colourful and highly quirky houses. Every street and corner and alley held some new secret wonder!
Note the guy with the spray can, who appeared to be tagging this wall quite nonchalantly in the middle of the day…odd, but strangely endearing.
“Dead” is the name of the store. They appear to sell records and tshirts and things, and have strange opening hours.
This cat kind of reminded me of our old cat, in its plump furriness. It didn’t appear to have an owner, and was getting rather camera shy in front of a group of enthusiastic tourists. At first he treated me the same way, but soon decided I seemed safe enough and came right up to nuzzle my ankles and roll about. So lovely! I sat down with him for 10 minutes or so, right on the pavement on the main street of Reykjavik. A girl came up and took a photo of us and assumed I was a local and his owner, which was a flattering error.
A beautiful bit of street art.
This is the top floor cafe that Inga recommended where I treated myself to a totally raw vegetable burger and a ginger ale.
I have found there is something brilliantly liberating about travelling in an unfamiliar city on your own. The certainty that no-one knows you, and no-one is expecting anything of you at all. It’s almost like being invisible.
– Em xoxo