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To Reykjavík i Go – Day Four

24 September, 2014

I was woken in the morning by the sound of incredibly heavy rain outside. Not what I wanted to hear, but it was more soothing then the sound of incredibly loud snoring by the Irish guy two beds down which been waking me regularly throughout the night.

The rain didn’t bother me though, as I had already planned a day of museums. This was the last day that my Welcome Card was valid – a card which gave me free access to many of the City’s museums – so I had to ensure I exploited it to its full potential.

But my first stop as I headed towards town was Hallgrímskirkja. I walked past the Reykjavík’s iconic church every day on my way to and from the town centre and I had taken a fair few pictures if it, inside and out, but I had yet to take the lift to the top of the tower. This was the day to put that right, so I paid my 700 kroner and pressed the number 8 button.

The tower is 240 feet tall. I’ll be honest, I don’t enjoy heights and was a bit wobbly even though I knew there was absolutely no danger whatsoever, but the views across the panorama of the City were stunning, even in the rain. Many postcards and pictures of Reykjavík show the view along Skólavörðustígur to the old harbour, and usually in those shots it is gloriously sunny. The day I took my pictures it was far from bright, but the beautiful contrast in the colours of the houses, the wonderful view out to the sea, the outstretching suburbs I hadn’t explored and was barely aware of, all fascinated me and I spent a good half hour just looking, enjoying being there.

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I spent a pleasant morning being interested in and educated by the National Museum and the 871 Settlement Exhibition. As with the National Gallery, they were smaller than I was used to from visiting “National” institutions in England (NOTE: Iceland has only about 0.5% of Britain’s population but its museums are more than 0.5% of the size, so per capita they were bigger than the ones at home) so managed to tour these before a soup lunch at Garðurinn vegetarian café and a teeny bit more shopping. You will be pleased to hear that by Monday lunchtime I had bought all the gifts I needed to, so you won’t here about me frequenting Lundinn anymore.

After lunch, I headed back to the hostel (past Hallgrímskirkja again) to drop of my bags and then to Pearlan where there is a Viking exhibition I wanted to see (for free, thanks to the Welcome card) but I was so busy taking pictures of the view over Reykjavík from the observation deck

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and petting the cat that was wandering around the car park, that I forgot to visit before I wandered back to town, this time taking a different route to explore some of the sights of Laugavegur and a church I happened upon and never discovered the name of.

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After watching Björk’s film the night before, I had plans to watch Heima (a concert film by Sígur Rós) but before that I had an hour spare so nipped into a café and bought a “breakfast on the go” shake (with real granola on and in it) and then headed to the waterfront for pics of the famous Sólfar sculpture.

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The film was brilliant – stunning tunes, beautiful landscapes, fascinating story behind the tour (watch it yourself, I’m not going to explain it here) and then back for the traditional few beers in the bar. I got chatting to a Canadian room mate, and she showed me some of her pictures from the trips she had been on. She had wonderful images of glaciers and the black sand beach at Vík and I expressed my jealousy that she had journeyed so far. “But you can go on day trips from Reykjavík,” she told me. I had no idea. I had wanted to see Vík but assumed it needed a hire car and a night away. No, she said, it’s a long day but you can do it. Right, that’s decided then, I am booking that tour. I checked on line and it wasn’t cheap, but hell, if you can’t spend a few quid when you are on a bucket list trip, then when can you? I would visit the bus depot in the morning and book up. Actually no, it would be the day after because in the morning I was off on the classic Tourist Trip to see Iceland’s most famous landmarks. I was signed up for The Golden Circle.

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