I am a sucker for watching the sun come up when you are above the clouds at 36,000ft. Our plane arrived in Keflavik at 6am and the crisp air hit us as we left the plane. Amanda and I picked up our rental car...a lovely Toyota Aventis stationwagon...not quite what we expected as a rental, but it was probably the only thing that they had in an automatic (We realized after we booked the trip that neither of us knew how the drive stick). We drove the 30 minutes from Keflavik to Reykjavik and got our first taste of the unusual landscape here. One of the first things that you notice is the abscence of trees (supposively there were trees here before but many of the early settlers cut them down to use as firewood). On our drive, we saw huge stretches of volcanic rock covered in light green moss with mountains scattered about. The country was created by underwater volcanoes and remains a hotbed of geological activity.
Reykjavik is more of what I would consider to be a large town as opposed to a city. There are only 280,000 people living in Iceland (there are twice as many sheep) and most live around the capital city. Reykjavik's spot on the coast with it's surrounding mountains makes it a scenic place.
After crashing for a few hours since we were travelling all night, we were up and about and exploring the city. Just across the street from our hotel was the Hallgrimskirkja Church, a huge structure that towers over the rest of the city. From an observation area in the steeple, you could overlook the city, seeing many of the colorful roofs of homes all along the coast. We wandered through town stopping at shops and to take photos of the sites. The weather was in the 50's and the sky was clear... a beautiful day. At night, we joined the runtur, which basically is a pub-crawl through the entire city that everyone partakes in. The nightlife starts up around midnight and goes until the early hours of the morning (we only made it to 4am...how sad) and the streets are crowded with people waiting to get into various clubs and bars. Alcohol is extremely expensive here (a beer can cost $10!) so we did what most Icelanders do and had a drink or two at home before heading out (we came prepared). The night was fun and I enjoyed talking with some of the locals. We were surprised that most of the music that we heard in the clubs was American 80's music...I heard more Michael Jackson tonight than I have heard since the 80's. All in all, a good night.