A vibrant capital city that is home to approximately 220,000 residents, Reykjavík possesses the perfect blend of metropolitan energy and small town appeal. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of its vivacious night life, the serene natural beauty of the nearby geothermal valley Laugardalur, or the allure of its diverse art and music scenes, Iceland’s capital has something to satisfy every tourist’s interests and expectations. For Imogen Wilson, a lighting and television set designer from Canada, Reykjavík has proven to be the ideal stopover getaway on her way back from a work-related trip to Finland, allowing her to relax while enjoying both nature and night life.
Imogen, who travels across the globe for her work in set design, decided to pause her journey home to spend a few days exploring Iceland. “I’m heading home to Canada and flying Icelandair, so I opted for the stopover,” she explains. “My itinerary is the northern lights, because it’s December, the Golden Circle and hopefully the Blue Lagoon. I was looking to go yesterday, but my tour got cancelled due to the weather.” A subarctic nation situated near the tail end of the warm Gulf Stream, Iceland—which is well-known for its volatile climate—experienced several record-breaking weather events in December 2015: heavy snowfall and a gusty storm that swept over the entire nation. Traditional winter weather in Iceland is fairly temperate compared to Northern America and Europe, with only occasional snowfall and deep freezes.
However, aside from the delayed tour, the stormy welcome didn’t bother Imogen a bit. She used the opportunity to check out local bars and immerse herself in Reykjavík’s unique club culture: “I went Lebowski Bar last night and had a lot of fun!” she says, with a grin.
Lebowski Bar, which is located halfway down the main shopping street Laugavegur, is a bar and restaurant combination, modelled after Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 neo-noir crime comedy film The Big Lebowski. A favorite destination among locals and tourists alike, Lebowski Bar is a great place to grab a burger and milkshake, before drinking an iconic White Russian and tearing up the checkered-tile dance floor. From what she’s seen of it, Iceland’s nature has also impressed Imogen, reminding her of another destination known for its mysterious, otherworldly beauty. “The weather and landscape reminds me a lot of Northern Scotland because the cloud cover hangs so low here,” she reports. “I’m hoping that the clouds will clear up a little tomorrow so that I can see even more of the landscape.”
A High Recommendation
After traveling to Finland, where she worked on the set of a popular celebrity talent show, Imogen has found Reykjavík to be just the right place to unwind: “I really like Reykjavík, and I’ve seen a lot of it. It reminds me a lot of a small town, but it seems like a small town without an end,” she describes. “So far I’ve enjoyed my stay here. Icelanders all seem very polite and kind, and I think they’re perfectly happy hosting travelers here.”
Imogen reveals that she was named after one of the main characters in the Shakespearean play Cymbeline before encouraging others to take the time to visit Iceland, instead of just skipping over it on their way to another destination.
“I would say absolutely come to Iceland,” she says with enthusiasm. “It’s such a pretty and unique place. Plus, if you’re flying Icelandair, it’s free to stopover, so why not just do it?”