The sleepy wandering of a stoned zombie just below the Arctic Circle

If a plane leaves Toronto at 8:10 PM for a 5 hour flight to Reykjavik, what time does it arrive?

If you said 6:25 AM, you’re either extremely aware of time zones and flight itineraries, or seriously bad at arithmetic, but either way, you’re right.

Assuming an early bedtime of roughly 10:00 PM, it was a three hour night, but since the plane was full of 6,000 Canadian schoolchildren starting their holidays, plus they had Office Space in their movie selection, I didn’t sleep a single airmile.

Reykjavik walking path


So I had the distorted reality of the tired traveler when I got off the plane in the bright rays of a dawn just below the Arctic Circle. Luckily those Icelanders run a tight ship, and a zombie could navigate the process of picking up your luggage, getting through customs, and boarding the bus into town. In fact, it would take a fairly sharp mind to do it any other way. (The reward would be saving some money, since nothing on the island costs less than 1,000 krona, about $10.)

Reykjavik morning


Those bright dawn rays stayed with me for the hour-ish bus ride and transfer, and stayed steady while I checked into my hostel then went looking for breakfast. The light and empty streets suggested it was about 5:00 AM, but it gradually seeped into my distorted reality that it had been just after dawn for an awful long time. It was 9:30.


“Woah” I said to myself, exhaustion making me a stoner, “I’m, like, really far north.”


Harpa outsideOutside my hostel was a long bicycle and walking path along the icy waters of the North Atlantic, and the waves sent the wind to remind me they could kill me in under a minute if they felt like it.


I walked along the path, found some wine, a Viking-inspired sculpture, and an alien’s Rubik’s cube. It was Harpa, the new concert hall in Reykjavik, and the bus driver had informed me “it’s among the Top 10 buildings on Earth for acoustics, here in Reykjavik, thank you very much.”

Harpa inside

It was quite a structure, though I was not lucky enough to hear any acoustics beyond the footfalls of camera-toting tourists. One thing the driver hadn’t mentioned was the stupendously inviting couches…long enough to stretch out on…in out-of-the-way places where no one would notice a sleeping backpacker…and the glass walls bring the temperature to a deliciously perfect level in there…


Harpa wine glassI came close, very close, to napping in the Harpa, but stumbled my steps back into the wind to explore more of Reykjavik.