Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Iceland {Part VII, Fin}

...aaannnnddd we're back for the final Iceland post.

Day 13: 
  • Explore the city by foot
  • Eat good food, drink good beer, hear live music
  • Walk the campus of the University of Iceland

We did a lot of wandering this day. Down by the waterfront, around the old part of town, past the city cemetery, to the National Library (which was closed), through the university, and more.

Adalstraeti 10, the oldest timber house in the city, built in 1764

Lake Tjornin in the center of town

University of Iceland

Laundromat Cafe (with laundromat)

Micro Beer Bar

a shot of 'black death'...was expecting something black-er...

bar/music venue L and I attended  the night before


Day 14
  • Whale watching!
  • More exploring!
  • To the beach!
There were about five whale watching outfits competing for duty in the harbor and all seemed to offer an identical experience, so we went with the one that had the best customer service at the info booth! There was one group offering whale encounters from a sea-going vessel no bigger than a pool floatie, but the price tag and general safety of the whole thing ruled them out on the spot.

Fearing mother nature's unreliableness, our guides were sure to set us up for disappointment from the get-go. Once we pushed away from the dock and were puttering just outside refund range, the announcer was forthcoming with the fact that neither whale nor puffin had been seen 'round these here parts in the last couple of days. Well. Great. 

Thankfully, our boat broke all those recent trends and we got great views of plenty of minke whale and sea birds, including puffins.

beautiful day

puffin! courtesy of master photographer, Lauren

Commercial whaling was made legal again here in 2006 and many whalers hunt minke just for the purpose of domestic consumption. We saw plenty of restaurants in Reykjavik featuring whale on the menu, including the one below, made famous by their delicious lobster soup! Whaling is a contentious topic the world over, including in Iceland. Here's a WSJ article from 2008 addressing tradition vs tourism.

We three went our separate ways for part of this day and I decided to go back to Hallgrimskirkja to take the elevator ride to the top of the church tower where I got 360-degree views of the city from above.

That evening C rallied us up for a bus trip to a part of the coastline with a public swimming area and hot spring - Nautholsvik. Some people believed the fanciful myth that the geothermal water mixing with the ocean water makes for a nice swimming lagoon, but dipping one's toe in the lagoon disproves this. Thankfully, they had concrete hot pool for the rest of us.

trying hard to believe the water is warm


Day 15:
  • Departure day
  • Walk the waterfront
  • Eat one more pilsur

We ventured away from the city center in the morning along the coast to this home made and adorned with found materials. 

With the little time we had left we split up for lunch. C chose the most famous pylsur stand in all of Iceland and stood in line for one more tasty morsel.

After lunch we packed up at the hostel and left for the airport. It was a remarkable trip and what sticks with me more than anything is the vastness, the beauty and the solitude that can be found all over the island - even if you are a few paces off the main road or just outside a town. I feel like we saw a lot but I still cannot wait to go back. Some day I will put together a video compilation of the many action clips we have, but first I need to catch up to real time with this here blog. Thanks for viewing!

I will end with some street art/graffiti that was prevalent in the city. We seemed to run into it around every corner, but I wanted to group it all together in one post.

Bless og takk fyrir, Iceland!


Taryn said...

Wow - that graffiti is awesome. Seriously.

Your pictures from your 360 degree view of the city are crazy cool. They look like they are models.

Thanks for sharing your pictures and all about your trip. Looks lovely.

Oh blerg. said...

So colorful! Tilt shift! Graffiti! Love it.

Oh blerg. said...

wahhh just realized that boat's name is Christina!

McLozzin said...

Wow - your photos are simply splendid!

You have inspired me to bump Iceland up on my list of 'to visit'