Buses and Bikes in Reykjavik

We’ve spent the past month in a neighborhood that’s a 30-minute walk from Reykjavik’s town center. The structure of this city assumes the vast majority of people will have a car, but there are enough options – buses, pedestrian bridges, biking paths – that’s it’s possible to be carless, even if it’s not the norm.

Mostly the buses we use run every half hour, which isn’t too long of a wait unless it’s freezing and windy. (Then again, since this is Iceland, it’s often freezing and windy.)

Standing in the bus station one day, I saw a sign for an app that lets me view bus routes and schedules, plan trips, and even see where buses actually are at any given moment. It’s great! I don’t have cell service on my phone, so I typically use wifi at home or in a cafe to check the bus times and then dash off to the stop. My only complaint about the app is that it likes to show me the buses that have already departed in the past five minutes, which just feels cruel.

Sometimes, though, we still end up at the stop just after the bus we want has departed. But waiting can have it’s own charms. At the bus station the other day, Theo felt the magnetic pull of this dog, Uggie.We chatted with his owner and learned that Uggie is 12 years old and the son of the man’s previous dog, who was apparently the most awesome dog in the world. (Uggie was pretty great too.)IMG_2982The buses themselves are clean, reliable, and often close to empty. The bus drivers seem to get to pick their own music, and I’ve heard a wide variety, from death metal to talk radio to American pop.


In our last week in Reykjavik, when we speculated that it might be a little warmer (it only snowed once!), we rented a bike with a child’s seat attached.

Like most endeavors with a child, it was a little wobbly in the beginning. Then, I found my balance, and it was a blast. Because it’s Reykjavik, sometimes a blast of cold wind from off the water would smash into us, halting us completely, and Theo would scream at it to go away while I braced myself on tip-toes. But we’d persevere, and those would become the tales to tell at dinner when we were warm again.IMG_2807