After 5 years, I’ve made it back to the land of fire and ice. I sit in Café Mezzo finding myself in a weird juxtaposition looking at Nordic flags outside, but hearing bad country music coming from the speaker above me. I’ve traveled thousands of miles across the sea to the home of Sigur Rós and Björk to listen to music I’ve avoided in the states.
Clear blue skies fill the country’s capital, which I wandered for a couple of hours after my arrival. I caught the Flybus from Keflavík airport into Reykjavík, probably the best way to get to the city. It’s a 45 minute ride, complete with free wifi, that allows you to see some of Iceland’s extraterrestrial landscapes. You can get dropped off at your hotel or the BSI main bus station and from there it’s a short walk to the city. I don’t know if people typically walk from there, but I spotted Hallgrímskirkja and knew once I got there I could roam the city.
Fun fact: BSI is also home to Fljótt og Gott (“Fast and Good”) where you can find svið- sheep’s head for your consumption. Being at the bus terminal brought back memories of one drunken night in Reykjavík, running into locals that bought shots of Brennivín who decided it was a great idea to feed the Americans sheep face. When in Rome, right? I was a pescetarian (ate seafood, no land animals) at the time and was haunted by images of the sheep’s head the next day. All day. It didn’t taste bad, but I’d choose drinking Brennivín over eating svið any day.
Living in America, you forget cities still sleep. Here in Iceland and even Japan, being an early riser does you no good. Most shops or restaurants aren’t open until 10 or 11. Until then, you can wander the empty streets and take in the scenery.
This whole backpacking Europe thing still hasn’t sunk in. Being here just feels like I’m home. I think I was born on the wrong island in this life. It’s the one place I’ve traveledto where I wondered why I had to leave. I’ve been curious with how my trip will be, starting in the place I didn’t want to leave the first time around, but this country music is doing a good job in making me want to leave… this cafe at least. I’m just tired now from walking for hours and still fighting a cold, so in this cafe I linger.