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Showing posts with the label Iceland

Stunning South Iceland

Reykjavík Basics

Where to say:
Center Hotel Klopp Klapparstig 26, Reykjavik  Buffet breakfast included Central location. A block from Laugavegur, the main shopping street.
Foss Hotel Baron Baronstígur 2-4, Reykjavik Buffet breakfast included Across the boulevard from Sculpture and Shore Walk and a short walk to Höfdi House.
Where to eat: It is expensive to eat out in Reykjavik. If you're on a budget, it might help to buy food at the supermarket. There are several supermarkets conveniently located in the city center or try the Thai Restaurant on Laugavegur where the food is delicious and reasonably priced. 
Catfish at Sushi Samba
Samba Sushi Japanese and South American Fusion cuisine. Thingholsstraeti 5 View their menu here:  sushisamba.is This is an expensive restaurant. Prepare to pay at least $30.00 for the dish shown above.
Pearl Cafe Perlan Open from 10 a.m. To 9 p.m. www.perlan.is Perlan is a destination on its own. It sits on a hill and has a 360° view of Reykjavik. There's a bus that sto…

The Golden Circle

Thingvellir National Park
One of the closest areas to visit from Reykjavik is Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. The Park is of historical significance to Icelanders. This is where the oldest open air parliament in the world (the Althing) was established in 930 and continued to meet till 1798. Thingvellir is also of paramount geological interest. The North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates run through the Park and have created a rift which continues to expand. 
Thingvallatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland and lies south of the Park. It is the habitat of 150 types of plants and 50 invertebrates. 
Gulfoss
Gulfoss (golden falls) is fed by glacial melt from Langjökull, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. When glacier melts and flows down the river, it carries sediment with it. Hence the water is somewhat golden in hue. Gulfoss cascades in two tiers down a 32 meter canyon. Sunshine and a spray of mist in the air will create a rainbow to make your heart leap. Yes, Wor…

Chasing Aurora

Aurora Borealis from the Grayline Iceland Tours brochure
For many years I dreamed about going to Iceland or Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis. That dream became reality in mid September of this year when I finally landed at Keflavik airport in Iceland. The first few days of our stay was marked by rain and heavy clouds. Then a storm followed. It seemed hopeless. But on Thursday the sun came out and the clouds lifted. Grayline Tours confirmed our northern lights mystery tour and I was in heaven!

We were driven to Reykjanes Peninsula which is south of Reykjavik at around 9 p.m. The sky was still shedding the light of day so we drove quite a distance away from city lights to get the best view. I kept scanning the darkened skies for traces of the aurora and finally I saw a patch of green in the sky. It wasn't big nor was it dancing but it was there. The driver stopped the bus and we all trooped out of the bus to watch the aurora from an ancient lava field. It was chilly outside and we…

Reykjavik Walks

Reykjavik is an easy city to explore because of its compact size. We spent three days discovering this charming old town and made lots of stops along the way to read all the helpful descriptions provided at each site and tried some local Skyr and pastries along the route. The Shore walk begins at Höfdi House on Borgartún, overlooking the bay. It is a beautiful stroll along the coast. The City Center walk starts at Government House while the Cathedral Square walk begins on top of the hill at Hallgrímstorg.  The Harpa Concert Hall may also be included with the Shore walk as it is at the end of the boulevard and a hop and skip from the Sun Voyager. 
Shore Walk

Höfdi House
The Höfdi House is where détente saw light. The great thawing of ice between the United States and USSR (as it was known then) began with the meeting of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in this house in 1986.
One of the former residents of Höfdi House was the poet and entrepreneur, Einar Benediktsson who lived here f…

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran cathedral designed by Gudjón Samúelsson. Samúelsson drew his inspiration for this project from his surroundings, particularly from columnar basalt formed by lava flow in this volcanic island. It took over 40 years to complete the cathedral. Samúelsson didn't live to see the inauguration of Hallsgrímskirkja in 1986.  
The cathedral is named after Hallgrimur Petersson, Iceland's beloved poet who penned Hymns of the Passion (listen here: http://youtu.be/am04VxkReKU). He was also the pastor at Saurbaer in Hvalfjördur.

The rib vaulted ceiling reminds one of the great Gothic cathedrals. But what sets it apart from its predecessors is its clean and simple style. Sharp arches flow down to linear columns. 

The main altar is adorned with an eight-meter long painting, Five Crucifixions by Helgi Torgils Fridjónsson. "Whether this work should be regarded as religious, is really up to the spectator, however all mental conflict is by nature religious. Peop…

Urban Art Reykjavik

What would you do to stave off the blues when you only get 5 hours of daylight during the winter months? Reykjavik has the answer. Colorful, highly imaginative wall art to brighten the dreariest of days. The stamp act above is at the Design Center. It is tasteful and representative of the work they do at the center.

This one is called Poor Ugly. It is elaborate. So much going on here. On Hverfisgata Street.

Urban art is sharply juxtaposed with Victorian architecture. At Dillon's Bar on Laugavegur.

Practical wall art. A refresher course on how to tie a necktie. And an arresting advertisement for Gudsteins. 

Mushrooms growing on a mushroom. Hmmm. Think what you will.

Cartoon characters with graffiti and blue sky. Rare blue sky during our stay in Iceland.

"And I will raise you up on eagle's wings." On Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik. 
There are more murals to discover in Reykjavik. I refer to these as murals rather than graffiti (unless there are elem…