Iceland is a country where a traveler is forced to reconsider her perspective. For instance, what might be considered a couple of buildings in the midst of a sea of a field is called a town in Iceland. It seems that the one building that determines a place’s status more than anything is the church. With that simple steepled building, those few houses set in seeming isolation can claim township. What is most odd, however, is that only a paltry 10% of the country’s population go to church on any sort of regular basis [Source].
Yet those ubiquitous red and white buildings are seen throughout the country. They also all seem to have an open door policy with visitors coming and going at their whim. That openness provided for some of the more reflective and quiet moments of our trip as we find ourselves to be the only people inside the vast majority of churches we visited. Despite the fact that these buildings might be overlooked as spiritual centers, there was still a sense of calm that pervaded their empty pews and silent organs. You owe it to yourself to seek out a church or two and pop in for a moment to allow yourself the time to breath. So much of travelling is a desperate sprint from one activity to the next, from one landmark to another. Somewhere between the drone of wheels on the ring road to the quiet of the church’s interior, you can perhaps find a moment to pause and enjoy the simple act of being.