A Slice Of Home On top Of The World

By Lucy Tristram
December 1. 2010

Iceland’s biggest city Reykjavik bears more than a passing resemblance to our own capital…and its inhabitants have got a bit of the kiwi spirit too!

I flew to Reykjavik in search of the Northern Lights, and while they did not appear on cue, what I did discover was a rugged, peaceful country and a people full of warm hospitality.

Icelandair  has a similar ethos to Air New Zealand,  promoting the country through their attitude and  with the airline seat`s head rests emblazoned with helpful phrases in Icelandic – the most useful (and the only one that stuck with me) being takk fyrir (thankyou).

The flight is a short hop from London and the fact that there is no time difference is a plus and meant I was ready to make the most of my weekend.  You can organise a number of tours as part of Icelandair packages. I spent  Friday horse riding and sight -seeing.  As a New Zealander however, a geyser and it`s accompanying sulphuric smell doesn’t have such shock factor.

The famous Blue Lagoon does put Rotorua to shame. The impossibly blue water is perfect bathing temperature and the white steam that covers the pool allows you the illusion of solitude – and allows you to hide your mud masked face from other tourists.  After purifying body and mind Reykjavik’s cafes are the perfect place to relax some more – the best coffee since NZ , my travel companion thought!

The bite-size city is easily walkable  – and filled with funky shops and eateries.  I enjoyed the smiley face pedestrian crossing signs.

It`s also great for people watching – lots of young families and elegant befurred older couples. The fresh air and healthy life style certainly seem to work for the Icelanders!

The nightly search for the elusive Northern Lights meant that we missed the infamous runtur (all night pub crawl..) .. but that’s a good reason to go back.

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