Iceland

Iceland Part Fourteen: An Overview

A few notes on my experiences in Iceland and Reykjavik in particular, to add to my previous posts on the subject.

Everyone talks about how expensive the country is. Perhaps pre the banking collapse this was true, but I didn’t find it terribly expensive myself. I had a budget which I stuck to and ended up buying a few extra souvenirs because I had a little more money left over on my last day; I even came home with money which was something of a surprise.

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Iceland Part Thirteen: Reykjavik Family Park and Zoo

Since my final full day was so nice that I actually had to use the sunglasses I’d thankfully thought to pack, I decided to walk out to Laugardalur Valley and visit the zoo. It’s open all year round but I suspect that it’s a bit livelier in the summer than when I went.

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Iceland Part Twelve: Asmundarsafn Sculpture Garden

This sculpture garden and museum is one of the three parts of Reykjavik’s Art Museum and was recommended to me by a member of staff when I visited Hafnarhús.

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Iceland Part Eleven: Thingvellir National Park

The third and final stop on the Golden Circle Tour, was Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site that is important for two reasons. Firstly, because it is the location of the Great Atlantic Rift, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are separating and secondly, for being the site the Vikings selected for their first parliament, or Althing.

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Iceland Part Ten: Geysir

Geysir is another of the locations that forms part of the Golden Circle Tour, as discussed in the previous post about Gullfoss. It is the site of the original erupting hot spring that then gave its name to all such hot springs around the world, which has been active for roughly 10,000 years.

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Iceland Part Nine: Greenhouses and Gullfoss

One of the guided tours I took part in during my trip to Iceland is known as The Golden Circle Tour, which takes in the Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park (these last two will feature in later posts).

Before we reached our first stop on the itinerary however, we took in a greenhouse that is managing to produce tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables by harnessing Iceland’s geothermal energy. We had a very interesting talk from a member of staff who explained her usual routines and exactly how they manage to produce such good crops (Iceland not being known for its fruit production!)

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Iceland Part Eight: Whale-watching

One of the things I had pre-booked before arriving in Reykjavik was a whale-watching tour, something I’d not done when I was living in Vancouver. The tour was run by Elding Whale Watching who were great, with a very informative guide, and my pre-booking ensured that I was picked up at my hotel and taken down to the harbour, so didn’t have to worry about getting there on time myself.

There are of course no guarantees on these kind of tours that you will get to see any whales and indeed the best time to see them is between May and September and I was there at the beginning of October. But, amazingly, we did see some minke whales.

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Iceland Part Seven: No Photography Allowed

On the same rainy day that I visited The National Museum of Iceland I also visited some art galleries and museums where, naturally, photography was not allowed.

The first of these was The Reyjkavik Art Musuem, which is actually a network of art museums housed in three buildings across the city. (I only visited two, Hafnarhus, on Tryggvagata and the Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, which will feature in a later post). It’s the largest building in the network, built in the 1930s and houses the permanent exhibitions of Erro, apparently “one of Europe’s most notable pop artists”. The other exhibitions turned out to be all about contemporary art, which anyone who’s been here a while will realise is not always my thing.

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Iceland Part Six: The National Museum of Iceland

Luckily the day I had decided to dedicate as a museum day is the day when it started raining and just didn’t stop, which meant I visited a few more places than I’d actually intended to. The main museum I was interested in and which I had heard good things about, was the National Museum of Iceland.

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Iceland Part Five: A Walking Tour

This is the part where I go through the sights I saw as I wandered around Reykjavik that don’t fit into their own category. I did not see all of these things in the same day, so please don’t try and replicate the tour, you may find yourself with very sore feet!

One impressive building, only opened in 2011, is the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, which hosts international events and concerts. It was designed by Olafur Eliasson and in a theme common in Icelandic design, it was built to reflect the surrounding landscape.

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