So one of my goals is to possibly spell Reykjavik right on the first try. It looks right in that sentence, but I'm not sure. I've spelled it Reykavik, Rejavik, Reyjavik, but Google always knows what I mean, so we're all good.
The flight over was reasonably good. Aside from a massive fibromyalgia flareup that made it almost impossible to sleep (I think I got 40 minutes?) I'm not sure if it was the air pressure or the air quality or what, but that was not great. I did start watching Gotham on the plane and it was pretty good. So I can have a new netflix binge show.
Once we arrived, we had to go through customs again, taking all our carry-on apart again. Which was weird, but whatever. As we got off the plane, it turned out a lady sitting across from us was from Drayton Valley as well and had recognized mom. Small World...
All the signage looks like Ikea in the airport, it's super weird.
Once we got to Reykjavik and dropped off our bags at the hotel, we went out for our first adventure. I hadn't been wearing my jacket up to this point, only in a jersey tee and jersey pants, but it was like 8 degrees out, so whatever. We went to a coffee house where I had an amazing Cappuccino, that I'm pretty sure was secretly a flat white and was delicious. Then we started the beginning of our museum trip, after a quick stop in to a convenience store because mom knows how much I love going to foreign grocery stores. (a lot. I love it a lot. My packaging design nerd self is very happy)
After the grocery store (or maybe before?) We went to the tourist info spot and spoke with a lovely Scottish expat named Ewan who was super helpful with all of mom's questions. We bought Reykjavik City Cards which were SUCH a good idea, and I'm so glad I saw them online a couple days ago. They gave us free admission into most museums and galleries and discounts on the rest, as well as working as bus passes! They're 4900 Krona for 72 hours, which is a pretty amazing deal!
We went first to the Settlement Exhibition which was really interesting with all the little details, artifacts and interactive parts of the exhibit. My favourite part is that in the kids area, the mascot is this little towheaded scrap of a kid with band-aids on their knees and messy hair and a tooth missing and being a general adventurous kid. Her name is Freyja. I brought home a bunch of the colouring and activity sheets with little Freyja on them because I was so impressed.
Also they had a puffin mask, so I was a puffin
When we left, it was starting to get a bit more chilly and I was getting several stares in my t-shirt from all the parka-d up crowd. But I'm Canadian and I'm tough and I can deal.
We next went to the Maritime Museum, which was really neat because my Icelandic relatives were fishermen, especially when they came to Canada. My mom recognized a lot of the tools and artifacts from her childhood and when we looked at the pictures of the fishermen and fisherwomen the faces looked so familiar! It's always neat to go to these sort of museums with my mom because even though she's not old, her childhood was spent at the cannery in a strange, kind of out of time, experience. When we go to Fort Edmonton or even the Royal BC museum, she sees all sorts of things from her childhood that she can tell me all about, despite that most other Canadians of the same generation wouldn't know anything about them.
(Funnily enough, the Cannery where my mom spent a lot of her childhood is actually a historic site and museum now...)
One of the really interesting things we noticed at the Maritime museum was the Glass Floats. My mom saw lots of these growing up and always thought they were exclusively Japanese. It was strange to see so many of them in the Icelandic Maritime Museum. After a little bit of research (aka, literally that wiki article I linked to) it turns out that glass floats were invented by Norwegians.
Here I am in a fishermans hat
The lady at the Maritime museum was really concerned that I was freezing, as I was in the above outfit and they were all in ponchos and sweaters. She asked where we were from and as soon as I said "Canada" she was like, oh....... and then her and another lady jabbered in Icelandic about the crazy Canucks.
After the Maritime museum, mom was worried I'd catch pneumonia, but the Saga museum was RIGHT around the corner, so I was like, why would we skip it when we're here?!
The Saga museum is an guided audio tour through Icelandic history as portrayed by wax figures. It's MUCH better than the terrifying Sleeping Beauty thing we went to in France that looked like a haunted Sears store in Calgary in like 1984.
This is clearly where possessed Sears Mannequins from the 1980s go to retire...
The first Irish monk figure looked so much like my dad if he was fat and had simultaneously more and less hair.
After you go through the tour (30 mins) you get to dress up as a viking and pose with a variety of very heavy, very sharp weapons. It's fantastic. Clearly, I have a new facebook profile picture with a sword and a polar bear now...
VIKING POLAR BEAR
Now we're at the hotel. We walked along the harbor to get here and it was hailing... So thank you scientists for fleece-lined leggings and heating and beds and wifi.
It looks like we are meeting up with cousins Hronn and Elin for dinner tonight, which I'm quite excited for. Mom is napping and my typing is apparently too loud.
Also, there is a place that is clearly run by the Swedish Chef from the muppets and I can't stop saying the name of the restaurant and laughing:
Of course when I say it, it sounds more like Texas-Borg-a-rar-a-rar-a-rar
Hannah and I are off to Iceland today. Icelandair was having a amazing seat sale and I could not resist jumping at the opportunity to head over to the country of my grandfather's birth for a third time. When I asked Hannah what she wanted to do on her first visit to Iceland her list came fast and furious. First, was to go to 'Vestmannaeyjar Island and meet our cousins Fridrik and Sigridur. Then go to all the museums and art galleries And third, visit with our family in Reykjavik.
I looked in to taking a coach trip over to the island of Heimaey, the only populated island in the archipelago off Iceland south coast. But those stop at the end of September. Then we could rent a car and drive the 2+ hours to the ferry and board as foot passengers like we did three years ago. But our trip to and from 'Reykjavik would be in the dark and we would not get to see the countryside and explore the little towns in the day light. Plus driving in the winter in Iceland does not appeal to me. Or we could fly. We decided the thing she wanted to do most would have to wait for another trip in the summer. But the rest is do able and more much much more.
Since Icelandair had started flying from various Canadian and American cities many travellers have enjoyed the opportunity to stop over for a few days in Iceland en route to another European city with out added cost. Our family has taken advantage of the stop over twice and would recommend it . Everyone I have spoken to that has travelled to Iceland has raved about the scenery, the people, the culture and the food. But the one common thing is the cost it seems that Iceland is a bit expensive. So I thought since Hannah is a student and not flush with money we should set ourselves a challenge. Let see if we can do 4 days in Iceland for $1100. CAD (770.EUR) (827.77USD) each.
I have already paid for our flight,accommodations, airport transfers, a couple excursions, entertainment and a few meals. So we have $50. a day left to spend. We have a great hotel right on the waterfront across the street from the beautiful concert hall Harpa. So with a little help from Google translate I scored us a couple of tickets for a concert on the 12th.
When I visited Hronn last year I asked her how often she goes to the Blue Lagoon, the popular spa near the airport. She laughed and said she had just been a couple of times when she had out of the country guests. Icelanders visit the many thermal pools around the city. So that is what we will do, we can visit with our fellow tourists at the airport.
I will let you know how our challenge goes at the end of the week.