Archive for month: October, 2013

Iceland Reykjavík

30 Oct
October 30, 2013

On the final days of our trip to Iceland, we visited some of the more familiar sights in Reykjavík.HallgrímskirkjaHallgrímskirkja (church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran or Church of Iceland parish church.  With a height of 73 metres (244 ft), it is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland.  The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

HallgrímskirkjaState Architect Guðjón Samúelsson’s design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape.It took 38 years to build the church. Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986, the landmark tower being completed long before the church’s actual completion.  Situated in the centre of Reykjavík, it is one of the city’s best-known landmarks and is visible throughout the city.SólfarSólfar or the Sun Voyager is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931 – 1989). Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. The sculpture is located by Sæbraut, by the sea in the centre of Reykjavík.
HarpaHarpa is a concert hall and conference centre. The asymmetrical structure was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours.  The huge opera house was built with funds from private investors, but only until 2008, when the financial crisis halted all construction. The government took over the project and completed it in 2010.
HarpaViews from inside all of that glass are stunning especially on this bright and sunny day and our last day in Iceland. Later, we headed for Keflavik airport and our flights to Toronto & Ottawa.

Iceland – Reykjavik Old City Centre

28 Oct
October 28, 2013

From our hotel, the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina which is located by a slipway in the old downtown harbour district, we have walked the old center of this charming city to see the brightly coloured corrugated-metal-clad houses, quiet residential streets and older buildings.
Alþingishúsið  – the Parliament House – is a classical 19th century structure on Austurvöllur square. It houses the Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament.
Alþingishúsið The building was designed by Danish architect Ferdinand Meldahl and built in 1881.
Reykjavik Lutheran CathedralThe Reykjavik Lutheran Cathedral was restored in 1847.
IMG_9356Hitt Húsið is a well-known youth culture center.
IMG_9432Enter the dragon. Drekinn (the Dragon) is a relatively inexpensive place to grab a bite to eat. Located just near the Hallgrimskirkja, Drekinn offers a traditionally greasy menu and a colourful exterior.
ÆgisgataSmall house at corner of Ægisgata
Pétursbúð Convenience Store, ÆgisgataPétursbúð Convenience Store, Ægisgata
IMG_9571Hamborgarbúllan – the Reykjavik “Burger Joint”

Iceland – Reykjanes Peninsula

26 Oct
October 26, 2013

Left the small village of Flúðir on our way to Erybakki, a small but colourful fishing village on the south coast.For centuries, the harbour at Eyrarbakki was the main port in the south of the country, and it was the trading centre for the whole of the southern region extending from Selvogur in the west to Lómagnúpur in the east. By about 1925, however, Eyrarbakki lost its importance as a trading centre – tourism and the prison are now the major employers.HúsiðThe oldest building in the village, Húsið (“The House”), is a Norwegian kit home dating from 1765 and is the oldest preserved timber dwelling house in Iceland and now houses the regional folk museum.
Eyrarbakki ChurchThe church in Eyrarbakki was built in 1890; its altarpiece was painted by Queen Louise of Denmark, wife of King Christian IX, great-great-grandfather of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and King Harald V of Norway.
Verslun Guðlaugs PálssonarVerslun Guðlaugs Pálssonar – in the store you can find old fashioned candy, postcards, hand-made soaps, wool products and other items for sale.
Budarstigur 1, Sunnuhvoll 1913Budarstigur 1, Sunnuhvoll 1913StrandarkirkjaOne of the nicest churches we visited with a beautiful location right on the coast near Þorlákshöfn, Strandarkirkja is one of Iceland‘s oldest churches, dating to 1888. Legend states that seamen in danger promised to build a church where they would find a safe landing. They followed a light to shore and were greeted an illuminated angel and as promised, built this church.
StrandarkirkjaOn this cold day we found the church open and with the heat on – we were able to warm cold hands while photographing the beautiful interior.
Eldborg Geothermal Power PlantOutside of Grindavik, a small fishing community we stopped at the Eldborg Geothermal Power Plant.
Eldborg Geothermal Power Plant

Iceland – The Southwest

25 Oct
October 25, 2013

The village of Vik, or Vík í Mýrdal in full, is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, about 180 km by road southeast of Reykjavík. In the background are the Reynisdrangar or basalt sea stacks.
Kirkjubæjarklaustur Chapel
Kirkjubæjarklaustur Chapel (1974) near where we stayed for the night in Klaustur.
Vik ChurchThe more traditional church at Vik is set high on a hill above the town. It dates to the 1930s.
The Reynisdrangar are located near the Reynisfjall mountain. The legend was that there were three trolls who were pulling a three masted ship to the shore unsuccessfully, but they were caught by the sunlight at dawn and turned them into needles of rock.
Reynisfjara BeachNear Dyrholaey, Reynisfjara Beach looking towards the Halsanefshellir Sea Cave and the Reynisdrangar. It has been named as one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth. Its stretch of black basalt sand is one of the wettest places in Iceland. The cliffs west of the beach are home to many seabirds.
basalt rock (stacks)Halsanefshellir Cave – offshore lie fingers of basalt rock (stacks) remnants of a once more extensive cliff-line now battered by the sea.Reynisfjara BeachThere is no landmass between here and Antarctica and the Atlantic rollers can attack with full force. We experienced very high winds and windchill which made long exposure photography difficult.
The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft).
Foss á Siðu
From Klaustur we went to the waterfalls at Gulfoss and saw the fountain geysir at Strokkur. Even though this was late October there were hundreds of people at each site. We preferred to see fewer tour buses and enjoyed instead the smaller waterfalls like these at Foss á Siðu where we had the place to ourselves.