Sunglasses at Night

Reykjavik, Iceland

August 1-5

Downtown, circa 9pm

At 1am on August 2nd, Reykjavik welcomed us with a blast of salt air and a lingering sunset.  The Midnight Sun had only just given over to a few hours of cerulean semi-darkness prior to our arrival, and to say our small squadron was due to experience some form of “temporal vertigo” now that we were in Iceland would prove an understatement.

At three am, Oliver and Kendley were stomping and slithering up and down the small set of stairs in the duplex we were temporarily calling home.  We had decided to try our luck with Airbnb for our first few nights in the country, but had failed to take into consideration the time change or our host’s neighbors, whose dreams were no doubt interrupted by our herd of elephants.  A hasty round of Children’s Benadryl finally soothed the beasts, and we all managed to sleep like logs until nearly 3pm later that day. It was the soundest “night” of sleep Ryan and I had experienced in nearly three weeks.

The following day was Oliver’s 5th birthday, which led us on a quest for the city’s renowned hot dogs.  They were easily found near the harbor at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, and even our 14 month old didn’t shy at the ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remoulade combination slathered on top of the fabled mystery meat.   The rest of the day, we let ourselves grow accustomed to traveling at our new pace, and a very leisurely afternoon was spent walking to the Hallgrimska church, on to a café, over to a park, back for an ice cream, back again for another coffee, followed by some more ice cream, and finally, to another park.  Dinner was a quick affair in Reykjavik’s number-one rated restaurant for families. In the basement, there was a small play area alongside a working laundromat.

Friendly faces

The following day was another late start that had followed yet another late evening.  While in Connecticut, we had never succeeded in transitioning over from our California time zone, and my supposedly seamless plan (PST to EST to GMT) had been foiled. Finally out the door at 3pm, we spent the remainder of the day rushing to and from various museums scattered throughout the city.

When we arrived at the Laugaudalur Thermal Baths that evening, we declared to hell with our temporally-challenged selves.  And it was there we melted into the 400C spa tubs and geothermal-heated water slides.  It was Ryan’s birthday, after all, and no amount of steaming or steeping could be considered too much on such an occasion. We pickled ourselves for nearly five hours, and only realized how late the time had gotten when the staff nearly ejected us from the facility.  By the time we had dried out, it was well past the normal schedule the buses operated by, so a two-mile hike back to the city center put us at Skolavordustigur at nearly 12am, just in sync with the local revelers beginning their Friday night runtur.  In Iceland, where alcoholism is practically institutionalized, even the wettest drunks were shocked to see our kids vying for a space in line with them for a late-night snack.   But there they were, bleary-eyed and grinning like goofs with the best of them.  Ryan and I hung our heads and stifled a laugh.  We’d get this right one of these nights, hopefully before the sun went down.


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