Saturday, March 30, 2013

From Reykjavik, With Love

Saturday is the last chance to squeeze in a "regular" day for us seeing as people seemed to start taking their Easter vacations on Thursday. In the Frommer's guidebook for Iceland, there is a section for "Suggested Itineraries" where various stays are outlined for travelers. Having seen a very fulfilling  1-day schedule which takes one to some of the "must-see" spots in Reykjavik, I decided that today was the day to execute it. Though we started the day later than we should have, we managed to head into town and check out this cozy little book-lined bohemian cafe across from the Culture House/Museum.

Grái Kötturinn

The menu is simple and satisfying: I order pancake with ham, cheese and cream-cheese and ADW has a more traditional eggs and bacon type of breakfast. The coffee here is some of the best I've had in the city and we even tried a carbonated fizzy malt drink.

We head out to the Culture House/Museum next. This museum/house is built in 1909 (I think?) and features transcribed and bound books of the 14th and 15th centuries; stored under low light  and behind glass. The exhibit even goes into the process of the vellum book binding of the Icelandic medieval times.

As ADW probably has worms with a penchant for processed fatty meats, we head to the best known hot-dog stand in the country: Baejarinns Bestu Pylsur to grab a snack. I don't think he's ever going to get sick of hot-dogs...

We browse some of the main tourist streets to pick up some more souvenirs for friends and family and make the effort to drop by the Hand-Knitting Association of Iceland where tourists visit to purchase hand-made traditional Icelandic sweaters and other woolen goods made from Icelandic sheep wool. If you're going to get yourself traditional Icelandic woolen gear, this is the place to go because their products are genuinely hand-knitted in Iceland and use authentic Icelandic wool--which is special in its own right.

The main Christian denomination of the Icelanders is the Lutheran sect and the most prominent church in Reykjavik is the Hallgrímskirkja. This towering architectural monument is one of the most visible and impressive sights in the city. While you either hate or love the architectural aesthetics, their elevator takes you to an unbeatable view of the entire city and surrounding area. The fee to go up is really reasonable and it seems that you can go whenever the church is open--even when the church store/ticket office, is not. I'll be stitching together a panoramic view sometime when I return.

Tomorrow we round up our trip by saying good-bye to the city of Reykjavik to head to our final tourist destination of Iceland: the Blue Lagoon. This geothermal spa is one of the top visited attractions in Iceland and boasts incredible therapeutic spa treatments for those with psoriasis or other skin conditions. Two of the Ottawa girls we met said that they came out and their entire bodies felt soft like baby bum. I feel that this is a necessary event as Icelanders are known for their outdoor geothermal pools, and are known to frequent these types of establishments even when it's raining or snowing out!

(**NOTE: I know, I promised lots of photos but the wi-fi is a bit spotty tonight. So, I'll definitely be getting something together once I return home :) )

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