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The Second Step Is Taken

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Now that I settled on a flight to/from Iceland, it’s time to get some room reservations. Iceland has a very short tourist season, running roughly from the middle of June to the end of August. Even before September, many tourist offices are closed down in preparation for the beginning of school. That’s right: Many tourist facilities are in school buildings scattered around the country. Many boarding schools become summer hotels, and then return to educational use come September.

When I arrive in Reykjavik, it will be just before the longest day of the year, during which there is no darkness to speak of. Unless the guesthouses where I stay have blackout curtains (and most of them don’t), I will have to wear eyeshades to allow me to sleep. And because of the runtur—the Icelandic equivalent of a spring weekend at a Mexican resort—and the boisterousness of hundreds of European teenagers showing they can drink like a man, I will also come equipped with earplugs. That will not be much of a problem outside the capital, however.

Greater Reykjavik is a small city by U.S. standards, about 120,000 people in a country whose total population is about 322,000. It is the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. That sentence is worded thusly to eliminate Nuuk, which is the capital of the Danish colony of Greenland.

I had hoped to secure a room at the Baldursbra Guesthouse on Laufásvegur, where I stayed in 2001, but they were booked solid; so I took a chance on the Guesthouse Odinn, which is slightly nearer the center of things by Laugavegur (the main shopping street) and therefore probably more noisy. No matter. Being by myself, I am more able to put up with a variety of situations. I just hope it’s not a big party place, with young males screaming and projectile vomiting all over the place.

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