21/06/2013 – Reykjavík

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Week 25 – A trip to Iceland, the fifth post detailing the capital of Iceland. Previous installments on getting your Zzz and muscle work done, the tourist bucket list, sightseeing the southern parts and cute emo horses. These posts are more like travel reports so if you feel like a wall of text is hitting you, scroll on and watch the photos instead.

Come Friday morning, our behinds were very sore, as were our upper legs. We decided on not following through on another driving trip, but instead take the time to wander around Reykjavík, something we hadn’t done at all since arriving here.

Reykjavík looks a lot like other Scandinavian settlements, but there is a major difference. The houses are, unlike most Scandinavian houses, not made of wood!

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Instead they are made of metal plates and concrete. In fact, nearly everything here is made with a significant amount of concrete. I wonder if that has to do with the lack of trees on Iceland and heavy import costs on wood for building.

While wandering around, we happened upon the only Catholic church on Iceland, Landakotskirkja/Basilica of Christ the King. While maybe not as well-known, it is still a nice building to look at and hardly frequented by tourists.

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Interestingly enough no typical scenes of biblical scenes were depicted on the glass in lead windows. I, for one, liked the geometrical patterns a lot and thought it was rather refreshing to see this kind of design on a church.

From here we walked on until we came to the city council and the park behind it. Inside the Rá∂hús Reykjavíkur, there was a maquette of Iceland and some other things. There was some art scattered around the park, making for some amusing photo opportunities.

Of course we also went to see one of Reykjavík’s well known landmarks, Hallgrímskirkja. Commissioned in 1937 and designed by then State Architect Gu∂jón Samúelsson, it honours (aside from God) Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Petúrsson. Entry was for free, ascending the tower was not. I paid for a ticket (ISK 700,- for adults, ISK 100,- for children) and took the lift up the tower. When I got up, I wasn’t there just yet! I had to climb a few stairs as well. Before I moved on, I watched some people doing some maintenance on the interior. They were gluing plastic sheets to the glass windows, I suppose to make them look like glass in lead windows. I understand refitting is expensive, but this looked a bit on the cheap side…

While the photos are rather uneventful, it was nice to see the size of Reykjavík, albeit from very narrow windows leaving little room for adjusting the view on-camera.

Eventually we got hungry and headed back to the hotel for a late lunch there, but not before a slight detour past HARPA, the opera house. It is a rather amazing building. Modern, bold lines and glass, lots of glass. I wonder if it is self-cleaning glass…

There was a finish marker and sporty people in front of the building. I don’t know what kind of event was being hosted here, but a lot of people must have participated, judging the amount of people in the city wearing medals.

Walking along the harbour, we saw some sailing boats, some coast guard boats and a lot of whale watching tour boats.

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Eventually we got back to the hotel and had a late lunch at the Slippbarinn/Slipp Bar. Here things were in full swing to prepare for Midsummer Night, an evening to celebrate. Rune just had some bread with tapenade while I enjoyed a flatbread with pesto, salad, grapefruit, pears, pomegranate, goat cheese and chili.
For dinner we once again dined here, but settled on light courses after so recently having had lunch. Main (both): salmon with cabbage, cucumbers and apple vinaigrette. Dessert (me) – again Divine Dollop v2: raspberries, strawberries, pear meringue, mascarpone and caramel.

Early to bed, despite the splendid though rainy Midsummer Night, for an early rise to take the first plane out to Norway.

Iceland, it’s been grand. We will come back!

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2 thoughts on “21/06/2013 – Reykjavík

    1. Thanks, I took it with my iPhone.

      Hmm, I see I forgot to mention that Reykjavík was not as modern as I thought it would be. Most of the time I felt like I had gone back in time several decades. Little development there, HARPA is among the exceptions. I thought it a bit odd, considering Iceland was fairly wealthy as a country before the 2008 crisis. Or I just have high expectations…!

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