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Reykjavik, Iceland.

Scenery  in Thingvellir National Park - Reykjavík

Scenery in Thingvellir National Park - Reykjavík

Iceland.

I've nagged my husband for years about wanting to go to Iceland and this year, since he found a great flight deal to Reykjavik with Iceland Express, he decided he'd take me there as an early wedding anniversary treat.

Things we liked:

I loved Iceland almost straight away. One wonderful thing in the summer is the extended period of light. In August it remains light until around 11 pm at night,­ lots of extended sightseeing time. Of course, in contrast, it will get dark early in winter. Also the light is quite magical. I would describe Iceland as a land of light; fresh air and wide open spaces. So much room, the absolute opposite of Hong Kong where I live.

A second wonderful thing is the Icelandic accent. Everone has a very gentle, soothing accent. Listening to Icelanders speaking English is majorly relaxing.

Thirdly, in my opinion, Icelanders have a lovely understated sense of humour and a very relaxed approach towards life. I also loved all the volcanic aspects to Iceland, lava fields in various stages of activity, geysers, geothermally heated water, volcanoes. And of course the fantastic lava jewellery.

Our stay:

We were based in Hafnafjordur for our short stay and went into Reykjavik a few times as well as on the Golden Circle Tour.

Solfar Sun Voyager Sculpture.

We walked along the front from Hlemmur Bus Station into the centre of Reykjavik in order to pass this lovely sculpture. The sculpture is a kind of skeleton of an old Viking ship and it blends wonderfully with its setting and looks fabulous and different from every angle. If you want to reach the sculpture from the old town, walk along the coast from the lovely Harpa building away from the harbour.

My husbnd at Sun Voyager. - Reykjavík

My husbnd at Sun Voyager. - Reykjavík

Sun Voyager - Reykjavík

Sun Voyager - Reykjavík

The Harpa Building.

This magnificent concert hall was completed in 2011. I am not a fan of modern architecture but this glass building on the sea front near the harbour area is truely lovely. The walls and roof of the building are made of glass, some of it clear, some of it coloured. As the light shines on it, the walls sparkle. There are great views over the marina from the back of the building. Inside Harpa you can wander around more or less freely, there are lots of comfy seats to relax in and an abundance of clean, free toilets. Definitely worth a look. There are souvenir shops and a restaurant here, too,

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

The Harpa Building

Reykjavik's Harbour area.

The harbour area is close to the Harpa Building. It is a picturesque harbour with lots of boats. You can book a cruise here; you can go whale watching. The old warehouse buildings of the harbour have been converted into restaurants and shops. The steam engine that once delivered materials to build the harbour is on display as a monument. There is another monument for Iceland's brave fishermen. There are also photographs on display, showing the harbour in bygone years.

Reykjavik's Harbour. - Reykjavík

Reykjavik's Harbour. - Reykjavík

The harbour looking towards Harpa. - Reykjavík

The harbour looking towards Harpa. - Reykjavík

Reykjavik's Harbour. - Reykjavík

Reykjavik's Harbour. - Reykjavík

Fishermen's statue. - Reykjavík

Fishermen's statue. - Reykjavík

The old steam engine. - Reykjavík

The old steam engine. - Reykjavík

The Catholic Church.

We walked inland from the harbour and ended up at the Catholic Church. This lovely building was beautiful on the outside and serene and peaceful on the inside.

The Catholic Church. - Reykjavík

The Catholic Church. - Reykjavík

Interesting Sculpture And House.

We passed this sculpture that looks like a whale's tail rising out of the ocean. It is located near the Catholic Church. I thought it was quite striking looking and certainly worth stopping long enough to photograph.

Interesting Sculpture And House.

Interesting Sculpture And House.

The Old Town.

Reykjavik's old town is made up of several streets and squares. The streets are lined with colourful houses and the squares are filled with people enjoying the open air. There are many restaurants and bars. The oldest street is Adalstraeti and number 10 Adalstraeti is the oldest building. The House of the Falcons with falcon statues on its roof is in this area, too, as are the parliament building and Domkirkja. The old town is also home to the parliament building and the Domkirkja. If you are ever in Reykjavik, make sure to take a stroll through the old town.

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

The Old Town Continued.

Tjornin Lake.

This lovely lake is close to the parliament building and Domskirkja. We walked right round and watched people feed the gulls and ducks. There were many interesting sculptures, flowers and lots of seats in which to take a little rest. The city hall is on this lake. We found a cat that looked like it was about to leap in, have a swim and return with a few fish. The gardens around the lake had pretty and colourful flowers. There were great views from the lake over various other parts of town.

Houses on the lake. - Reykjavík

Houses on the lake. - Reykjavík

Statue of poet Tomas Gudmundsson. - Reykjavík

Statue of poet Tomas Gudmundsson. - Reykjavík

Hungry seagull. - Reykjavík

Hungry seagull. - Reykjavík

Flowers near the lake. - Reykjavík

Flowers near the lake. - Reykjavík

Church on the lake. - Reykjavík

Church on the lake. - Reykjavík

View towards churches. - Reykjavík

View towards churches. - Reykjavík

This cat had its eye on the ducks. - Reykjavík

This cat had its eye on the ducks. - Reykjavík

Statue near the lake. - Reykjavík

Statue near the lake. - Reykjavík

The City Hall. - Reykjavík

The City Hall. - Reykjavík

City Hall again. - Reykjavík

City Hall again. - Reykjavík

Sculpture, Reykjavik - Reykjavík

Sculpture, Reykjavik - Reykjavík

Laekjargata.

This lovely street had a lot of restaurants and bars on one side and beautiful buildings such as Government House on the other side. Arnarholl Hill and the statue of the first settler in Iceland,­ Ingolfur Arnarson, is also here.

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Laekjargata

Hallgrimskirkja.

This huge church with its tall tower is visible all over the city. The church was started in 1937 and finished in 1986. The church is named after Hallgrimur Petursson who wrote many Icelandic hymns. The building is very impressive from the outside and very plain inside. There is a statue of Leifur Eriksson in front of the church. Entry to the church is free but it costs 600 kroner to go up the tower. You go up in a lift with a few stairs at the end. There are lovely views from the tower.

View from Hallgrimur's Church - Reykjavík

View from Hallgrimur's Church - Reykjavík

View from Hallgrimskirkja. - Reykjavík

View from Hallgrimskirkja. - Reykjavík

Hallgrimskirkja and Leif Eiriksson statue - Reykjavík

Hallgrimskirkja and Leif Eiriksson statue - Reykjavík

View from Hallgrimskirkja. - Reykjavík

View from Hallgrimskirkja. - Reykjavík

Sculpture outside the church. - Reykjavík

Sculpture outside the church. - Reykjavík

Above the front door. - Reykjavík

Above the front door. - Reykjavík

Perlan.

Perlan means the Pearl. We got here from Hafnafjordur on the number 1 bus and walked from the Kringlan stop. You can also get here on the number 18 bus from Hlemmur. We walked back into the city centre and it was not very far. Perlan is on top of a hill. It is a building on top of six hot water tanks. It contains souvenir shops, a restaurant, a cafe, the saga museum and a viewing platform which is free and provides wonderful views over Reykjavik. There are artificial geysers both inside and outside Perlan. There are also many walking trails on the hill Perlan is situated on. There are wartime bunkers among the paths. We walked down the hill and right from Perlan to reach Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

Perlan. - Reykjavík

Perlan. - Reykjavík

Inside Perlan. - Reykjavík

Inside Perlan. - Reykjavík

Perlan. - Reykjavík

Perlan. - Reykjavík

Dancers statue outside Perlan. - Reykjavík

Dancers statue outside Perlan. - Reykjavík

Manmade geyser outside Perlan. - Reykjavík

Manmade geyser outside Perlan. - Reykjavík

The woods around Perlan. - Reykjavík

The woods around Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

View from Perlan. - Reykjavík

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

We walked to this beach from Perlan. Walk down the hill away from the city centre, past the manmade geyser then head off right when you reach the water. Or take the number 19 bus from Hlemmur. This beach is free to use. It has changing rooms, toilets, showers. You pay 200 kroner if you want to lock away valuables. There are two hot pots to soak in at this beach, heated by the overflow from Perlan, I believe. The hot water also runs into the sea and it was wonderful to swim there as the top of the water is warm with a chill undercurrent underneath. Interesting. A few brave people swam at the non-­heated beach next to the Thermal Beach then warmed up in the hotpots. There was a little cafe here and some play activities for small children. We thought this beach was great.

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach.

Graffiti Area.

There was an area between Lagavegur and Hverfisgata which was covered in pretty artistic graffiti. It is allowed to graffiti here in the hope it will cut down graffiti elsewhere. There was music here and people were dancing. There were also kids skateboarding and playing on scooters. One man was painting over a vast area of graffiti to create a blank wall to graffiti again, so I guess the 'decor' is always changing. A place to sit and relax or people watch.

Graffiti Area

Graffiti Area

Graffiti Area

Graffiti Area

Graffiti Area

Graffiti Area

Golden Circle Tour.

We prefer to use public transport if we can but really enjoyed this organised tour. We booked it through a company called Bustravel, Iceland. It cost 6500 isk each. Cheaper than other tours we saw advertised. It lasted around 6 hours. We were picked up at midday by car surprisingly, then taken to the coach (no toilet on coach). The driver/guide was informative and very funny. The tour was thoroughly enjoyable and I strongly recommend it. I will describe the places visited below.

Marvellous scenery on the tour. - Reykjavík

Marvellous scenery on the tour. - Reykjavík

House all on its own. - Reykjavík

House all on its own. - Reykjavík

The Golden Circle Tour ­stop one. Crater Lake.

We passed over lava field after lava field. Our guide explained that the older ones are covered with vegetation, the younger are charred and the first thing to grow on the lava is grey moss. Our first stop was a wonderful crater lake. So beautiful!

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Crater Lake. - Reykjavík

Stop Two ­ Geysers.

Stop two was at some of Iceland's most famous geysers. The guide explained that geysers took their name from the most powerful geyser here but that it seldom spouts nowadays. Instead Strokkur is the most likely to gush. The area has a giftshop, cafe, clean, free toilets. There are several geysers. Only Strokkur gushed when we were there. There was a lovely bubbling Little Geyser. One geyser had a wonderful volcanic blue crater and there was sulphurous steam rising everywhere.

You have to be patient to see a geyser spout. People stood with cameras poised for what felt like forever to get a shot of it. Some impatient people left without seeing it at all. We saw Strokkur gush several times. Each time was incredibly brief. As we were leaving my husband said, 'Time to go back to the bus and I said, 'No look it is about to blow.' but he did not believe me and we walked from our safe spot to the area it gushed into, only for it to give a massive burst which sent water all over us and resulted in us shamefacedly returning to the bus absolutely soaking. I took a photo as we got drenched. I think it is really funny. It is like an underwater shot.

Strokkur in action. - Reykjavík

Strokkur in action. - Reykjavík

Our comeuppance. Run!!! - Reykjavík

Our comeuppance. Run!!! - Reykjavík

Wonderful scenery. - Reykjavík

Wonderful scenery. - Reykjavík

Volcanic blue geyser. - Reykjavík

Volcanic blue geyser. - Reykjavík

Stop Three ­ Gullfoss Waterfall.

Again there is a souvenir shop, cafe and clean, free toilets here. From the parking lot you can see a huge glacier in the distance. There are several paths here. You can go very close to the waterfall. You will get covered in spray. You can walk down the stairs then walk away from the falls to get a good shot with most of the falls in. Or you can view the falls from the path above. I did all of these. You get very wet very close and can only photo gushing water without a sense of the scale of the falls, though I suppose you very much get a sense of their immense power. Better shots can be taken further away. The light forms a huge rainbow through the spray from the falls.

Gullfoss rainbow. - Reykjavík

Gullfoss rainbow. - Reykjavík

Gullfoss. - Reykjavík

Gullfoss. - Reykjavík

Gullfoss. - Reykjavík

Gullfoss. - Reykjavík

Stop Four ­ Thingvellir National Park.

We stopped at an area where you could view a deep fissure where the American and European continental plates are starting to drift apart. There was also a viewing platform with superb views over the lake.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Stop Four - Thingvellir National Park.

Restaurants and Bars.

Svarta Kaffid: Fantastic Soup In Bread.

This restaurant is situated on Laugavegur which is a street with lots of restaurants. We were lured in by the menu which advertised soup in bread. In fact they were doing a special where you could get soup in bread and a pint of gull beer for 2200Isk. The restaurant was offering two kinds of soup: meat soup or cauliflower cream soup. I had the meat soup. It comes inside a thick crusty loaf of bread. The inside of the bread is scooped out and placed next to the soup filled bread bowl. It was delicious. There were several other things on the menu. My husband had chicken schnitzel with salad. We were full after the main course but some people had some rather tasty looking cakes, too. The food was excellent. The service was pleasant, friendly and efficient. I would strongly recommend it. We sat inside but there was a little beer garden out the back. Directions: On Laugavegur which joins onto Bankastraeti not far from Hallgrimskirkja.

Fantastic Soup In Bread

Fantastic Soup In Bread

Olsmidjan Pub: Best Value Beer In Reykjvik.

This friendly upstairs pub offered polar beer on draft at 490Isk per pint. Excellent value for Reykjavik. We went in the early evening and watched Iceland v France Olympic handball. The bar did not do food, but the barman gave us salt sticks with each pint. Very good.

Keflavik Airport.

Keflavik Airport is the airport for Reykjavik. Reykjavik is around 40 minutes away by bus. There are two bus companies: Flybus (1950Isk one way; 3500Isk return) and Graylines (2200Isk one way; 4000Isk return). Graylines includes transfer to hotels, Flybus has an additional price for this. There was an ATM in the airport in the baggage reclaim area. Duty free at the airport had a great saving on spirits compared to purchase in Reykjavik itself. Iceland makes its own vodka and various flavours of schnapps. There were a couple of nice sculptures at the airport, too.

Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport

Posted by irenevt 19:06 Archived in Iceland

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