Iceland Day 15 & 16 Reykjavik

On arrival in Reykjavik, we went out for some evening photography.  First we visited the Sun Voyager sculpture which is a modern interpretation of a Viking longbout located on shores of Faxafloi bay.  The sculpture was designed by Icelandic sculptor Jon Gunnar Arnason and was installed in 1990 to mark the 200th anniversary of the city of Reykjavik.  We then visited the Harpa Concert Hall, which at night is lit with a varying pattern of lights.  The hall was opened in 2011 and was intended to be part of a larger development which was mostly cancelled due to the financial crisis of 2007, which particularly affected Icelandic banks.

The following day, we made a walking tour of the city, first visiting the Hallgrimskirkja Church. Interestingly this is not a cathedral, but a large parish church constructed in 1937 with a distinctive design reminiscent of basalt columns. The interior is fairly plain, but has an impressive organ which is 15m high, weighs 25 tons and has 5275 pipes.  Standing outside the church is a statue of Leif Eriksson, the first European known to have reached North America. The statue was donated to Iceland by the USA in 1930 to mark the 1000th anniversary of the Icelandic Atheling parliament.

Next we walked around the Tjornin Lake, which has several interesting statues, including the Boy And Girl by Thorbjorg Palsdottir from 1968.  We had a coffee at the interesting Idno cafe on Lake Tjornin. In addition to a cafe, this is also a performing arts centre, so a little creative picture editing from the cafe seemed in order.

We then revisited the Reykjavik waterfront, first taking in the Harpa Centre.  The building is open to explore, and the interior is a bewildering array of angles and plains made of glass and reflective panels.  There are no obvious solid walls, so the shape of the building can be difficult work out. Outside, we were fortunate to see the Icelandic Coast Guard performing an exercise, which made a good photographic opportunity backed by views of the mountains across the Faxafloi Bay.  We then revisited the Sun Voyager sculpture and another sculpture representing volcanic rock called Islandsvarden.

The following day, we had the morning to spend in Reykjavik before our flight home, so we visited the Perlan centre where there is a display on the Wonders of Iceland.  This was an opportunity to review the geology and geography of Iceland which we had been visiting for the last two weeks.  There is also a small planetarium featuring a film about the aurora. This was well worth visiting, as we had hoped to see the aurora at some point, but during our two weeks visit never had the right conditions.

After visiting Perlan, it was time to return to Keflavik Airport for the flight home, after an engaging and fascinating tour of Iceland in winter.


Iceland Day 15

Iceland Day 14