Final Reykjavik Day

As a tourist, it’s always a strange feeling on the last day of exploring a city. Part of you knows that you may never see this place again, and your one chance to know it intimately is slipping away. The urge to linger – when you have the chance in a relaxed schedule – needles you constantly. “Oh, this place is great; I’ll come back again some time for sure,” you say, knowing it’s a lie.

One of the things that compels me to linger is the thoughtful city planning. Take this street for example. There are benches and tables all along it, oriented so that you can sit down and watch the languid summer sun creep slowly up the base of the church and light up each stained-glass window along the way, reflecting the sun straight back down at you from each one. I only had time to watch it for about fifteen minutes while I ate a little dish of ice cream, but even that made an impression.

Like many experiences I’ve had in this city, it had a gravitational effect. It tugged at my feet, urging them to stay in place. To me, Reykjavik in the summer is like spending a day in San Francisco, except a polished microcosm of that city – smaller, cleaner, safer – and that day keeps going, and going, for two entire months of time. Just one absurdly long perfect day, with sunset clouds bursting over it to mark each ration of 24 hours. I had just enough time to establish a comfortable routine and play with it, and I seriously could have rolled with that routine for 60 more days and been happy — and productive at work.

Writ large, this is the worldwide vagabond lifestyle that many young people aspire to. But even though it’s within reach for me, I can tell it’s no longer a good fit, and perhaps it never was. I’m not here just to be in Iceland. I’m on a mission, and that is to cross Iceland. Having that mission and making progress on it is important to me. And so … On I will go.

By leaving this city I am also leaving the cultural center of Iceland, with almost all of it unexplored. That is a shame.

A new friend from Russia!

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