Reykjavik

“Just git out there” is our motto for Iceland.

Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and has the largest population in the country.

Iceland is one of the most educated countries in the world with over 99% literacy rate among adults.  More than 90% of the population speaks English. They are know for keeping oral tales of Icelandic history which were later put in writing and are known as the Sagas. We started the day at the Saga Museum.  Open daily, there is a lot to take in at the museum, with 17 displays portraying the history of Iceland.   The Sagas of Icelanders are the stories of the history of the Norse men and women.  With vivid stories, the sagas follow the historical events from the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries.  Many of the stories are grim and frightening, to me – but then the movie ET scared me, so take that with a grain of salt.

The wind is very strong today so instead of walking we decide to take a taxi to the Hallgrimskirkja.  It’s also raining, and we know that umbrellas are not only impractical its also akin to shouting out, “I’m a tourist!”   One of the tallest structures in Iceland, the church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrimur Petursson, and the exterior is stunning.  Our taxi driver is so worried about us trying to get out of the car that he tries to talk us out of it and would rather take us back to the apartment.  We insist that we will be okay and together push the taxi door open, holding on to it so we don’t get blown away.  The wind is howling, and the taxi driver stays for a few minutes ‘just in case’ we decide to get back in.  Instead, we slowly make our way up to the statue of Leif Erickson which stands outside the church, a gift from the US commemorating the 1000th year of the parliament at Þingvellir.

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Hallgrimskirkja towers at the end of the street in Reykjavik

Hands down my favorite exhibition in Reykjavik is The Settlement Exhibition.  It is an open excavation and protected by a building built over the remains of a Longhouse from the Settlement Age dating back to 930-1000.  There are also remnants of a wall built about 871.  What I loved most about the Settlement Exhibition is the depictions and narratives around the walls of the building that covers the longhouse.  Attempting to create an environment that would reflect the life of those who lived here, there are interactive screens, pictographs and the remnants of the long house and Viking life.

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Wandering around Reykjavik, the  city squares have benches and places to sit down and relax — in better weather of course!

Eating in Reykjavik is great for those of us who love fresh fish, and if you are allergic to fish, like Cathy is, it is a challenge.  Fortunately, we found several very nice restaurants.  I loved the lanqoustine (aka Norway lobster) that I could get pretty much any place we went but one of our favorite treats was the frois gras and duck confit. A few of our favorite restaurants were Alpotek where our appetizers were served on a cold himalayan salt block; We also liked Verbud II.

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The Lobster House – Torgan  has so many langoustine offerings my head was spinning with delight;

Important note: As of November 2018, the Icelandic waters have reached a historic low regarding the number of langoustine.  In the cold waters, the female lobsters only lay eggs every other year.  The Icelandic Government is seeking solutions to support the fisherman, the economy, and the environment.

 

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