Final Day in Iceland
Our last day in Iceland was meant to be a day to catch up on any activities we didn't get to before and to have some time to relax before another long day of traveling.
Kevin and I got up and left a little early in order to hunt down this bakery - Brauð & Co - I was interested in. I'd heard that they had the best cinnamon roles in the city, and as a pastry fan I was determined to try one.
As we were driving to our destination, the GPS told us that we'd be there in a few hundred feet so we started looking for parking. Like in most major cities, parking in Reykjavik can take longer to find than the actual drive to the city. We continued down the street that we were told the bakery was on and passed this building that looked like it had come out of a 70s dream. It stood out from all the rest of the buildings because of the amount of colorful paint that created a tie-dye like effect all over it. Kevin said he really hoped that was the bakery, and we laughed because what bakery looks like that?
It was still fairly early in the morning, especially for a Saturday, and we were lucky enough to find some parking not far away. As we walked toward the address, it became apparent that the tie-dye building was, in fact, our destination!
The cinnamon bun turned out to be very different from the ones I'm used to (aka: Cinnabon), but it was definitely the most delicious. The pastry is essentially a croissant in circular form, with an ooey gooey and caramelized mix of cinnamon and sugar throughout. They were so. Good. There's no way I could handle more than one, but everything from the pastry down to the amount of sugar was spot on.
After the bakery we walked around a couple of the shops and got some gifts for friends and family back home. I got a couple of postcards for my wall collection, and we also got some juice from Joe & The Juice since the cinnamon roles had left us pretty thirsty.
Before heading back to the house we stopped at the Perlan Observation Deck. From the top, you can see the entire city. There's a small cafe inside, and there's usually a restaurant too, but they're in the middle of construction turning it into a cool natural museum that's supposed to open this year. We were still able to take the elevator to the top and get a good look at Reykjavik from a different angle.
Later in the day we went to the Settlement Exhibition in downtown Reykjavik. It's located by the Old Harbor area of the city and is an excavation site and museum of an ancient Viking longhouse. If you know me, you know I have a little bit of an obsession with all things Viking (which may be part of the reason I love Scandinavia so much), so naturally I was thrilled to go and check out an actual excavation site. Dreams do come true.
I've seen a lot of Viking artifacts, but never seen the excavation and remains of a legitimate Viking longhouse. While the price of admission might seem a little high, I was able to score a discount with my (expired) student ID. Either way, it was well worth it for me. It's extremely dark in the exhibition, so taking photos is kind of impossible. Plus, I wanted to just enjoy the experience.
Along with different artifacts they found by archaeologists during the excavation, you can see just how large and advanced the longhouse really was. One of the biggest myths about Vikings is that they were barbarians. In fact, many of the words we have in English come from Viking words, and they had advanced and highly functioning societies. This longhouse, with it's incredible fireplace, animal stalls, front and back doors, and even a porch, just show that Vikings weren't as uncivilized as a lot of people think them to be.
There was also a game area where we learned how to read some runes and play some really interesting old Icelandic games.
If you're into history, Vikings, or learning about the roots of Icelandic culture, then I highly recommend the Settlement Exhibition!
For dinner we picked up some kebabs and spent the rest of the night chilling, catching up with each other (we had the house to ourselves) and getting our suitcases ready for the flight home the next day.
Iceland was, in many ways, a surprise. I have to admit that it isn't my favorite country, but it's rugged appeal is something I would like to have more time to explore someday. The whole trip was a surprise since it was nothing like what I was expecting, but I was able to see and experience some truly great things. I'll share my complete thoughts, lessons learned, and tips and tricks later. But for now, I'm glad that I went, even if it was an adventure trying to figure out a new camera and having a bunch of iffy photos as a result.