Wednesday, May 14, 2014

April 24th: Running and Walking Through Reykjavik

I have a half marathon coming up in June, so I got up early the next morning to squeeze in a quick run. My alarm went off at 6am; I rolled out of bed, then spent the next few minutes hemming and hawing over if I really wanted to go for a run or if I'd rather just get some more sleep. Running finally won - I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go - so I got dressed, grabbed my Garmin watch, and was off!

There is a park right across the street from the hotel with lots of paths, so it was a great place to run. I started by running up to the Pearl on the top of the hill. In hindsight, that was a terrible idea. I hadn't eaten anything before the run (I hardly ever run on an empty stomach because it makes me feel awful), the path went entirely uphill, and I realized halfway up that in my haste to get out the door before I changed my mind I forgot my water bottle. I took lots of walk breaks. The view was totally worth it, though.

You can see Hallgrimskirkja on the left side of the picture. Visibility was really good!

I walked around the Pearl for a few minutes, then moved on. The path down to the water was, thankfully, downhill.

Bunnies! The black one looks like the one Zach was messing with last year. They let me get pretty close.

I ran down to the rocky beach off to the side, then ran over to the thermal beach (where the water was surprisingly chilly).

I finally figured out how to upload my runs from my watch to my computer, so here is my run from that morning! You can see where I circled the Pearl on the hill, then ran down and kept stopping at all the beaches. The airport is Reykjavik Airport; it sits right on the edge of the city. I followed the path around to the end of one of the runways before turning around and making my way through the college parking lot to the hotel.

My run wound up being a little longer than I meant it to be (it was exactly 3 miles, but because I kept stopping it took me 40 minutes!), so I felt bad because I figured Zach might already be awake and wondering where I was. Turns out I didn't need to worry...he was still passed out when I got back. I grabbed a shower, Zach got up, and we grabbed breakfast downstairs at the restaurant. We had an excursion scheduled for that afternoon, but we still had a few hours before our pickup time so we walked into town to wander around a bit.

Our first stop was Hallgrimskirkja. The weather was much better this time, so we went inside.

You can buy a ticket to go up in the tower, so of course we did that! This is the view from the windows above the clock (you can see it in the picture before this one).

There were a few other people in the tower, too, but it wasn't too hard to get a spot at one of the windows. It was neat to just hang out and look.

At one point while we were in the tower, the church bell started ringing. Constantly. Just the same single note for minutes on end. I have no idea why! I took a video on my phone, but I couldn't get it to upload here for some reason. Instead, just imagine looking at this scenery while all you hear is "BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG" nonstop. It was actually kind of neat...just a bit loud.  :)

I love the colors of the buildings in the city.

That's the Pearl up on the hill on the right side of the picture. You can go in that, too, and they have an observation deck on the top. We hung out in the tower for a little while, then eventually made our way back down to wander around a little more.

I still love the street art here. I have no idea what this thing is! We wandered around for a little while, then eventually made our way back to the hotel.

I didn't realize until this trip that there was an elf stone right at the hotel! Elves are a big part of Icelandic folklore and they supposedly live in certain rocks. There are a few spots where I've randomly seen rocks on the sides of roads with little doors painted on them. There are even a few places where roads have been diverted or narrowed to protect elf stones.

We stopped back at the room, grabbed our cameras, then made our way back downstairs to meet the tour bus. It would have been nice to spend more time wandering around that morning, but we had other things to see!

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