1:00 am

Star 2


There was a toddler on our flight that everyone was about ready to murder in cold blood by the time we landed with a thump close to midnight. Keflavik airport is a maze of neon lights and people in woollen sweaters, but somehow we're now crawling down the motorway with the Icelandic planes stretching bleakly (and invisibly) to one side and the water to the other. Reykjavik's twinkling skyline swims in and out of view through our rain-lashed windows, and a cheerful voice-over with questionable grammar is telling us all about our transport and entertainment options in this land of elf-lovers.

I'm not sure what possessed me to make the 20 minute march between the central bus station and my hostel at 1am dragging my 26kg bag behind me, but it is a thing that happened which I cannot bring myself to regret as taxis, like all things here, are truly extortionate. I saw not one other human in the first fifteen minutes of my stride, and the eery chill of the industrial area preceding the city centre made me walk so fast that by the time the epic mass of the Hallgrímskirkja Church loomed before me I was in a light sweat. Despite 15 degree temperature and my summer playsuit and straw boater. The centre of the city was equally quiet but dotted with more familiar and welcoming Scando features; brightly coloured buildings and spacious interior design shops, warmly wit windowfulls of candles and fairy lights, and a friendly black cat. I made my way down to the waterfront and the Kex Hostel where I cannot quite describe the horror of four flights of stairs with a bag tagged as "heavy" by people who lift bags for a living.

The hostel is incredibly trendy (it has its own barber), but more on that later. I passed half an hour chatting to a pair of blondes convinced of their stomach poisoning from Icelandic pizza, before collapsing into bed amidst the glares of my roused dorm companions. Until tomorrow, Reykjavik.

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