We decided to hit the ground running on day 1 since we had tours booked for the other days of our trip . We strolled the main shopping street Laugavegur to see if we could find a food store to pick up some water and snacks for our stay. We found that Reykjavik is a city that gets a late start. Coming from a city where we are used to Starbucks opening at 5 am and most stores opening at 9 am we couldn’t wrap our heads around a food store opening at 11! Instead of waiting around for the doors to open we wandered around to see what we could do.
We found some fun stores to walk in and out of that were open and I made my first purchase of the trip! I treated myself to a new winter hat in the traditional Icelandic design. It may not be the iconic gray, white and black design but the orange and black colors will work perfectly for me this coming winter.
We found that we were not that far from Hallgrimskirkja Church so we decided to head over that way. Hallgrimskirkja Church was designed by Gudjon Samuel in 1937 who was inspired by lava flow and cooling. Construction began in 1945 but was not completed until 1986. The tower was completed before the rest of the building. The 240 foot high observation tower gives a wonderful 360° view of Reykjavik.
This is the first observation tower in a church that I’ve gone to that has an elevator! Usually we have to climb 300+ steps as we did in Munich, or walking 30+ ramps as we did in Seville. The elevator takes to the first observation point at clock level. After that you can climb a few sets of steps to the top observation point. And the views on both levels are spectacular! We were very lucky to have a clear and sunny day to take in the views.
The interior of Hallgrimskirkja Church is unique as well. The high ceiling form arches inside with and the grand masterpiece of the pipe organ. It is quite impressive to see!
When I am on vacation and visit a church and have an opportunity to light a candle I always make sure I do. This church has a round wrought iron stand that you can light a candle. Even thought it was still a little early in the day there were already several candles already lit. I took a moment to add my candle to the stand and say a little prayer.
We continued to stroll along the streets of Reykjavik after the visit to the church until Bonus, the local food store opened. The quaint city is very photogenic with its colorful buildings and beautiful landscape.
Our first night here was also the beginning of our tours – a Northern Lights tour! The first stop in our search for the elusive lights was the Reykjavik peninsula where we were able to catch the tail end of the sunset. After sunset we were then off on the hunt for the Northern Lights. Unfortunately I was unable to capture the lights on camera, but we were able to experience them. To see the lights dance across a cloudless sky amongst the bright stars is definitely an experience everyone should try to have at least once.The first night we were there we did a Northern Lights tour. The first stop in our search for the elusive lights was the Reykjavik peninsula where we were able to catch the tail end of the sunset. After sunset we were then off on the hunt for the Northern Lights. Unfortunately I was unable to capture the lights on camera, but we were able to experience them. To see the lights dance across a cloudless sky amongst the bright stars is definitely an experience everyone should try to have at least once.
Our hunt for the Northern Lights lasted until after midnight. It may have been a long first day to our trip but it was definitely a good one!