Today (Yesterday) was nice.
That's a great opening line... but it was nice. It didn't start off that way though. I woke up around 5am and just messed around on the internet for a while until mom woke up. We went for breakfast, which was good, then she went for a run in the hail and sleet and came back. All good so far. Then we decided to go to the "wellness area" which is a hot tub, sauna and steam room (and a rack of weights...) and is 10 euro extra. We're expecting nice things.
We're the only ones there, but it's 8am, so not a surprise. We get in to the hot pool and I notice "floaties" I comment to mom and she says to just ignore them. But they're huge and tickly and touching me. It's gross. And then I realize... IT'S SKIN! FRIGGING HUMAN SKIN. Someone has peeled their feet or something and the filtration system isn't working and there is large floating masses of human skin in the hot pool. I can't get over it and I really don't want to be sitting in SKIN SOUP so we go to the steam room. It's not great, so we go to the sauna. It was much nicer, but I'm so used to Cedar saunas that I missed the smell.
Mom spoke to the hotel receptionist after we got back about the fact we were sitting in Skin Soup, expecting a refund or at least horror, but just got a "oh sorry." So that was a thing. Skin Soup was a thing.
We headed out after that and set out for a nice day of galleries and museums. We went to the Reykjavik Art Museum at Hafnarhaus, the photography museum, the Einar Jonsson museum and the National Museum.
The Art Gallery was all modern art, so it had boxes that you climbed up on and had to stick your head inside to see icebergs on the ceiling and chairs with screaming people painted on them and the normal fun stuff. The Photography museum is free and connected to the library. It's really nice. Apparently there was an exhibit in 2007 on colourful houses that I really wish I'd seen.
The Einar Jonsson museum was a surprise. We'd just been to the Heimskringla church which was very nice and very Lutheran and we were trying to walk to the National Museum. In behind the church is the Einar Jonsson museum. We just happened to see the entrance to the courtyard, which was under construction and went for a peek. I expected a church graveyard, instead there was all this amazing sculpture. We didn't realize there was even a museum to go inside, we just stayed in the courtyard. My favourite pieces were "Earth" and "Memorial to a Lost Airliner".
Earth is a woman, dead or sleeping in the larger arms of a figure who kisses her head and holds her tightly. The figure is bald and relatively androgynous and is only a with it's long arms held out forwards to hold the woman.
Memorial to a Lost Airliner looks at first to be about a ship, but the closer you look, you begin to see all the details of the plane and you wonder how you could ever miss them. The only thing that detracts from it (in a pretty huge way) is that from the front, a segment of the piece looks like a pair of testicles tea-bagging the face of a figure... It's hard to see from the pictures online and I didn't take a picture. But the piece is so beautiful and amazing and then... balls.
We walked over to the National Museum in a HUGELY convoluted way that ended up with us at the University of Iceland after we crossed a highway via bridge.
Leave one University for a week and end up at another!!!
The National Museum was quite nice and had a few dress up and interact areas which I always like. The exhibit on women in Iceland was really well designed and fun and eye catching. It was neat to see all the historical objects in the history of Iceland exhibit that I'd seen while researching my paper or in class during Scandinavian Mythology last year. Mom and I noticed however, that there was no mention of the large exodus of Icelanders in the late 1800s early 1900s when our ancestors came over, or of the Danish suppression of Iceland. It also spends very little time on the earliest times of Iceland before Christianity, but LOTS AND LOTS of time on all of the artifacts and churches and everything Christian. Obviously this is because there are far more surviving artifacts of Iceland's Christian history and they're in great shape, but I was more interested in pre-Christian Iceland.
There was also a group of small children on a class trip and I pretty much wanted to take every one of the adorable blonde and ginger moppets home. And then I remembered I'm going to be a primary teacher and I'll get to spend my days with little kids all the time!
We also went to Te og Kaffi again, where the cappuccinos are the bestest.
We went to a store called Tiger where I bought everything: Calligraphy pens, fuzzy hot pink glasses, a wooden washi tape dispenser and tangram dinosaur wall stickers.
We went to a hardware store and a hipster store and a kitchen store and a grocery store.
In the grocery store:
After our adventure, on our way back to the hotel we went into a bright pink cafe called the Cake Company and they had delicious teas and pastries and hot cocoa and the coolest hot pink espresso machine. They just opened about 3 weeks ago according to one of the ladies working there, so they don't have a website yet and aren't on trip advisor or anything. It's a really nice little cafe/restaurant. You can tell it by the fact that half the windows are BRIGHT pink and emit bright pink light on to the street. I LOVE it. Great atmosphere, great service, great food. On Day 3, we went back and I had a Raspberry Skyr cake and cherry frappucino:
And then we came back to the hotel and I want to sleep forever.
Then we went on a Northern Lights Excursion and didn't see any Northern Lights. But we went to Fontana spa and sat in the hot pools and there was no skin and it was very nice. Except for the American man who wouldn't shut up on the bus and kept asking the tour guide inappropriate and rude questions. Everyone moved to the back on the way back from Fontana.
In the picture at the very top of the page is the picture we took Tuesday night when we went to visit with our Icelandic cousins (and eat delicious cheese). It looks like I inherited the shared cheekbones more than mom did!
My second morning in Reykjavik starts of with a run, this time no rain just the a nice layer of slippery frost. But the mossy grass path is perfect for a run along the harbour. It is 8:30 and still dark. Full daylight won't break until about 10:00. I was hoping to see the Peace Tower on Videy island but it is turned off at midnight
Hannah and I are going on a coach tour today we had booked a small company for a tour of the Reykjanes pennisula but it was cancelled at the last minute due to us being the only clients. So we are going with the Reykjavik Excursions and it is the full size Highland coach and this trip is full.
It is snowing pretty heavy as we reach Geysir
and I would not want to be in a little rental car. The bus is slipping in the slush. Our guide is great and he is full of little facts about Iceland but I can't help the fact that deep down inside I hate these sort of coach trips. We have about a hour at Gullfoss to hike down the wooden stairs to the falls. A lot of the passengers opt out of going the whole route as it is quite a lots of stairs and they are nicely coated in ice.
At Gulfoss Waterfall, where the rainbow ends
On our way back to the city we asked to be dropped off in town and head to our new favorite cafe
the KOKU KOMPANIID /Cake Company. I love love love their pastries and swiss mocha. I think this new cafe will do well. It is only 3 weeks old and the atmosphere is cool and trendy. Were both loving the bright pink interior.
Reykjavik is a wonderful city to visit it is very safe and clean. The town center is full of people strolling and looking for a place to have dinner. The white twinkle lights wrap around the trees to create such a festive holiday feeling. The weather is amazing for the middle of November, however some of the tourists look as if they are heading to Northern Greenland it seems a bit excessive. After all it is still above 0c and there is no snow on the ground
I booked tickets to a concert tonight at Harpa, it features a violinist Baiba playing Beethoven and the Icelandic Symphony orchestra . The concert hall is right across the street from our hotel so we don't even need coats. I booked our tickets on the Harpa website before we came. They were a amazing deal at $23.00 each.
We arrive early and it is a great chance to people watch. Icelandic people are so well dress and have the most amazing shoes. Even ladies in their 70s wear funky shoes. The concert is wonderful, the second half was my favourite, I think I can safely say it was the most enjoyable classical concert I have ever been to. The pieces that were played reminded me of movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Disney's Fantasia.