Axel leaves for Iceland on the 2nd of June on the Danish Schooner Valkyrie. On the 11th of June, with sharks and whales circling the boat (page 46), he catches his first glimpse of the Iceland coast, seeing the Portland Cape and behind it the famous ice cap Myrdels-jokull.
48 hours later, the schooner stops at Faxa Bay and Axel makes his way to Reykjavik. After being greeted by a few of the more notable people on the island, including the mayor, Axel takes a walk around the city by himself "at random." He doesn't seem particularly impressed by what he sees. On page 48, he describes the city as "bleak" and "depressing":
From time to time I caught sight of a scrap of faded lawn, like an old woollen carpet threadbare through use, or else some semblance of an orchard. Its rare produce—cabbage and lettuces—would not have seemed out of place on a table in Lilliput.
He seems even less impressed with the city's surroundings:
Their appearance was especially dismal. No trees, no vegetation to speak of. Everywhere the bare bones of volcanic rock.
He says he doesn't see many people on the way, but the people he does see he describes as having "sad, resigned faces."