sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 17, 2011

vacation, rainbow, and crunch
posted by soe 11:06 pm

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. Time off — and in such a beautiful place — with Rudi. This will be a trip we remember for a long time.

2. Under any circumstance, a rainbow merits a mention. But particularly when it welcomes us to a foreign city.

3. Before we left home, the leaves were finally starting to fall. Crunching your way down the sidewalk made it seem autumn-like indeed.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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a day in reykjavik: iceland, day 3
posted by soe 11:00 pm

Wednesday got off to a bit of a slow start for us as apparently all the fresh air and exercise (and late night blogging) made us a wee bit tired.

Hallgrimkirkja on a Fall Day

Once we arose, we headed off to check out Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s biggest church. First, though, we headed across the street from the church to Loki’s Cafe, touted by every guide book we looked at as well worth a visit. They were right — her pancake platter was delicious. They’re crepes, really — one rolled up like a cigar and filled with cinnamon sugar, and the other folded into quarters and stuffed with jam and cream. Vacation food from heaven.

Hallgrimskirkja and Leif Eriksson

Fortified, we headed back across the street to check out what Rudi refers to as the Lego church, as it is very geometrical and does look as if it could easily be replicated by a skilled youngster with the right collection of toy bricks. Outside, keeping watch on the harbor stands a statue of Leif Eriksson, noted, as I’m sure you all recall from your early history lessons, for being the man credited with discovering America. The statue was a gift from the U.S.

Inside the church, it’s all pale wood and light blue cushions and clear windows. Very little stained glass to be seen here. I assume it’s so as not to prevent any of Iceland’s precious winter sunlight from getting in, but that’s totally a guess on my part. The church also has a striking organ in the back above the entrance. I understand the concerts are magnificent, but no one was playing it the day we visited. We decided not to go up in the tower because it was a gray day threatening the town with rain. We may try to head back on a finer day to check that out.

Hallgrimskirkja's Organ

The city center is straight down the hill, so we window shopped our way down. We stopped in a woolen goods shop and I considered yarn purchases, but none of it demanded to be taken away that day. We also stopped in a cd shop, but it’s hard to gauge music by the covers, so we postponed that purchase as well.

Settlement  Exhibition, Part 2

Downtown and looking to escape the drizzle that had begun, we decided to check out the Settlement Exhibition. Several years back, someone wanted to build a hotel in downtown on the site of an old house. They agreed to preserve the house, but after they dug it out, they found that it was sitting on the site of a much older house — one that dates to something like 870 A.D. The foundation of the house still exists and the museum they’ve opened in its spot (underneath the hotel whose construction precipitated the discovery) uses motion-triggered sensors, light beams, and other technological advances to its advantage in showing off the ruins.

After that, we went looking for the photography museum we’d seen the night before, but instead we ended up at the Reykjavik Art Museum, a gallery showing an assortment of modern art pieces. Let us say that Rudi enjoyed it more than I did and leave it at that. We did see a great mural depicting the harbor on the building next door, so that’s something.

Mosaic Part 2

In need of a bit of a pick-me-up, we walked up the main shopping boulevard downtown (Laugavegur), did some more windowshopping, and found a great yard that had been given over to street artists. There was some truly outstanding work, before ending up in a lovely subterranean teashop where we passed a quiet and rejuvenating hour.

Street Art Yard

By the time we left, the shops were closing (Reykjavik keeps the traditional European closing time of 6 p.m. most weekday nights), and we wandered through a grocery store looking at local foods before ultimately figuring out what we wanted for our own dinner — Thai food. We followed that up by returning to the bookstore we’d visited Monday night for tea and coffee, after a quick visit around the Volcano Museum’s exhibit.

Tjornin Lake Bridge -- Green

We finished up the night back at the hotel periodically running out to the floor’s north-facing elevator lobby windows to see if the clouds had cleared so we could see the Northern Lights. No luck so far, although the evenings are getting less foggy, so keep your fingers crossed…

A few more shots of day three here.

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