Friday, November 30, 2007
DAY 5: Reykjavik Grand Tour
First stop was at a modern church (Hallgrimskirkaja) which had a statue of Leif Erikson (donated by the US government, acknowledging his discovery of North America) in the front. It was near a Masonic temple which piqued my interest (found out later the Masons have had a presence since the early 1900s).
Past the harbor (highlight: boat painted gold which was to be a disco in the Caribbean but now just abandoned), past the house (Höfði) where Regan and Gorbachev met in 1986... wait is that a McDonald's?... to the Pearl (Perlan). The Pearl is a rotating restaurant/giftstore on top of six hot water containers. Only five of the containers hold hot water for Reykjavik residents, the other one contains a viking museum. The view from the observation deck was fantastic and of course, windy.
The last stop was the National Museum of Iceland. We were not permitted to take photos of the artifacts (except for the room where you could try on traditional viking dress... Great photo of Lucky with a sword and helmet!) and many of the areas were dimly lit to protect the items. Instead of taking the bus back to the depot after 15 minutes, we opted to stay at the Museum to get a free guided tour. Honestly, it's what made the bus trip worth it (the rest seemed very touristy).
Our guide had a woolen cape and a pointer, and with her bright red hair seemed very much like an instructor at Hogwart's! The museum was well mapped out, starting from when the country was first inhabited to the switch to Christianity to current day (WWII items to Björk albums).
We walked back to our hotel, stopping to get some Chinese food. As some of you might know, it's a thing I do when I travel)... But we only got wonton soup. At $10, it was the most I was willing to spend on my whim. We ate it at the hotel with my leftovers from the Thai restaurant.
Finished with lunch, we ventured back out and noticed some luggage in the foyer... It was Franz Ferdinand's! The band was staying in the hotel and were going to be performing Friday night... Alas, we were leaving Friday afternoon.
We used the valuable tourism guide with the coupons in the back for another "cheaper" meal at Cafe Victor. A lovely seafood risotto and fish & chips. Mostly tourists in the restaurant, perhaps since it was near many hotels. It was the first time we had been close to any American tourists and wowee! I think it was the walking and TALKIN' Texas sterotype lady at the table next to us which made us cringe the most.