Yay! Today we finally get to relax a bit! After 2 hectic days of being shuffled around the Icelandic countryside, we’re finally exploring Reykjavik. We get to sleep in after our previous early mornings, eat a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and head out for a nice morning walk along the waterfront.
I love the snow covered hills across the water. Even with the low cloud cover, they seem to stand out so brightly against the grey.
We take our time, enjoying the walk. I love the random paintings on the buildings. It seems so European to me. You would just never see that in America.
The first thing we come to is the Sun Voyager (Sólfar in Icelandic), a sculpture of a ship that was erected in 1990 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Reykjavik.
We continue our meanderings along the water until we reach the Harpa, a conference center and concert hall. It’s very unique looking, with it’s random geometric shapes.
Construction on the Harpa began 2007 but was halted during the economic downturn in 2008. Controversially, the government stepped in and financed the rest of the construction, much to the dismay of many of the cities residents. We decide to wander around inside to see what it looks like.
Back outside, I can’t resist a few more shots of the harbor. I don’t know what it is about these snow-covered hills, I find them so striking.
Next we head inland towards the city and Tjörnin lake. This is where the charm of this city really starts to show.
Often during the winter, this lake is frozen over enough to ice skate on, but it’s on the warmer side while we’re here, and it much of it has thawed.
It is frozen enough in some places to walk on, but I personally wouldn’t risk it. Others don’t seem to mind though.
Check out this view looking back down the street we just walked up from the Harpa (yes, I will stand in the middle of the road to take pictures).
We continue to see peeks of the harbor as we make our way to the Hallgrimskirkja – a big church and one of the few real tourist attractions in Reykjavik.
I believe during the summer, this street is open to pedestrians only, but during our stay, cars have access as well.
For 800 ISK or about $9, you can take an elevator to the top for some magnificent views of the city.
Looking towards Tjörnin lake.
And north, towards the Harpa and Sun Voyager we passed earlier.
And east, towards the rest of the country.
There are so many fun pictures to take from here.
The church itself is quite nice as well. It’s open every day in the winter from 9am-5pm, and in the summer until 9pm. Entry is free, though it is still a working church, so please be respectful of the people who come here to pray.
Back outside, we admire the church from below once more. It’s so unique looking, which I think can be said of many places around here.
As the back of this statue explains, it was given to Iceland by the USA on the 1000th anniversary of their first parliament, the Althing.
By this point, it’s early afternoon and we have to head back to our hotel to catch the FlyBus to the Blue Lagoon. We stop for a quick bite to eat at KEX Hostel (on the recommendation of As Her World Turns) on our way back, and the food is really good! Even if you aren’t staying at the hostel, it’s worth checking out their menu. Not terribly expensive and quite tasty!