We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland on June 26, 2014 at 7 am after
a seven hour flight on Iceland Air from Denver. Iceland is 6 hours
ahead of Colorado so it was 1am body time. We quickly got through
immigration and collected our luggage. Since we were arriving a
day ahead of the start of the tour, we had reserved our own transportation
from the airport on a shuttle bus. It was a 45 minute ride from
the airport to our hotel in Reykjavik, the Reykjavik Lights. Naturally
our room was not ready but they offered us breakfast while we waited.
Our room was ready at noon and we took a much needed 3 hour nap.
Then we went for a walk up and down the street by the hotel. It
was 50 degrees out with a light drizzle. We found a pizza parlor
for dinner and to Fred's delight found out they also had an all-you-can-eat
a good nights sleep, we checked out and walked the short distance
to the hotel booked as part of the tour - the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.
There we met the rest of the group and our tour director, Sigrun.
The weather had turned beautiful - blue skies and almost 65 degrees
- a rarity in Iceland as we would soon learn. Sigrun led us on a
walk to a park area across from the hotel.
The park had a sculpture garden, outdoor thermal swimming pool,
sports fields, zoo and botanic garden. The area used to be the site
of a wash house at the hot springs. Until 1933, women would come
and wash clothes. A sculpture commemorates this event.
We were given bus passes and then shown how to take the bus into
the downtown area, about a 10 minute ride from the hotel. Sigrun
led us on a walk around the town center and harbor area. Reykjavik
is a very comfortable city to walk around in. It is the capital
of Iceland with 230,000 people within the city and immediate surroundings,
about 2/3 of the population of Iceland. But Reykjavik feels more
like a small town than a city. People are friendly and helpful and
the city is very clean. The architecture is quite a mix of historical
buildings and new glass high rises. The
most controversial is the concert hall built in 2011. We stood in
the square across from the Parliament building where in 2008, after
the economic crisis, people protested the government by beating
on pans. Our afternoon was free to shop and sight see on our own.
We took Sigrun's advice and ate lunch at the Sea Baron, a hole in
the wall place in one of the old buildings on the harbor whose specialty
is lobster soup. And it was delicious. We
followed that up by splitting a hot dog at an outdoor stand made
famous when Bill Clinton ate there. Hot dogs are one of Iceland's
favorite foods and supposedly this stand has the best ones. There
was always a line waiting to order. We had one with everything on
it and it sure was good.
lunch we walked back to the main bus station along the pedestrian
shopping area. We stopped at the Hallgrimskirkja church, the largest
in Iceland. It was built in honor of Hallgrimur Petursson, an Icelandic
poet and clergyman who composed many hymns. The architect who designed
it said it was built to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland's
landscape but we think it looks like a pipe organ. We took the elevator
to the top for some wonderful views of the city.
To view more photos from Reykjavik, please go to Reykjavik
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map