Flash
The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Tuesday 24 October
Reykjavik - Duck Pond, Town Hall, Concrete Church (Hallsgrimskirkja), Harbour, Sun Voyager - Lava Fields - Blue Lagoon - Grindavik
Reykjavik duck pond
Icelandic family at Reykjavik duck pond. [Photos below the journal. Take me straight to the photos!]

Woke at 9am and was dragged to breakfast by Mike. Ugh! We planned the day, spending time in Reykjavik before going on to the Northern Light Inn and Blue Lagoon (Blaa Lonid). Before we knew it, it was time to pack!

We saw Reykjavik duck pond, concrete church and harbour, then stopped for lunch at a very good bakery on Aegisgata, where I had a huge chunk of bread stuffed with salad and many different types of cheese. Then a little browsing of shops, stocking up on food supplies for the week, and we were off towards the Northern Light Inn.

The Inn is in the middle of lava fields near Grindavik and just down the road from the Blue Lagoon. We'd booked the veggie buffet but as there were no other takers we were told we would have to order from the main menu, with a few veggie specials on offer. Bother! We'd planned our route to come here on Tuesday specially for the buffet!

We set off sightseeing to the Blue Lagoon, but it is rather artificial. If it was the first thing we'd seen, it might have seemed impressive, but as the Icelandic way of understating their beautiful sites was growing on us, this seemed too commercial. As a result Mike didn't want to bathe, and we bought some gifts before heading on to Grindavik.

Grindavik is a small town, and the sun was out so the sea sparkled. There was nothing open, but we stopped to take photos of the church, which was made of corrugated iron. I also found a row of houses where every one was different - a block with "battlements", a chalet, a corrogated iron house, a concrete house - quite odd! With that it was back to the Inn to relax, open some wine and spruce up for dinner.

The food was ok - I had a starter of mozzarella and tomato salad, and I really should have asked to have it as a main, because my pasta was dull - spaghetti with chunky root vegetable sauce. Mike had asparagus soup and then chicken, which he said was pleasant enough.

There was no kettle in the room (in fact none of the subsequent hotels had them either, it must be an Icelandic trait) so we went to the lounge and ordered coffee and hot chocolate while we played cards. The host showed us the Northern Lights - just a misty white/green band, with moving edges. Not very exciting, but it was our first sight of it.

We went to bed with wine, and watched United 93 on DVD. Not a very impressive film. Oh well!

The full set of today's photos are here.

Reykjavik

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The large duck pond. We were told it had "all kinds" of bird life on it but only saw mallards, geese and swans similar to the UK.

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The Town Hall. Apparently there is free internet access here.

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An Icelandic family feed the swans.

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Looking to the Town Hall across the ice.

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The basement window of one of the houses near the church. "Dying can hardly be so terrible, somehow one will survive it."

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Our first sight of the Concrete Church close up.

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A sculpture of the son of Erik the Red, who discovered America.

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As much of Hallsgrimskirkja as I could fit in my viewfinder.

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View to the altar. It was a pleasantly light and airy church.

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The ceiling - gothic inspired arches (and CCTV!)

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Bells at the top of the tower. You could pay 350 kronur to take the lift, from where you were inside level with the clocks and could look through the perspex around them, or take four very shallow and easy flights to the top where the bells were located. The bells were automatically driven.

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The first view from the church, over Reykjavik harbour. It was strange not to see the church itself in the view, when it's such a prominent feature of the city's skyline.

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Another view.

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Looking down over the church.

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Looking out to sea.

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Trying to be arty with the shadow of the church tower.

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Last view, looking down over the statue out front.

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These hydrants were everywhere. Sometimes they had red waists too. They reminded me of Ronald McDonald for some strange reason.

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Laugarvegur, helpfully labelled "The Main Shopping Street".

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Here's the bakery where I had an excellent vegetarian sandwich, near the harbour.

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Panorama of Reykjavik harbour.

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Sun Voyager sculpture - from this angle it looked more like some kind of strange crab.

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This is the more normal sight of it - inspired by a Viking ship, looking like a rack of ribs catching the sun.

The road to Grindavik

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We headed out through basalt lava fields, the rock less than 700,000 years old, and covered in green moss.

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The view from our bedroom window near the Blue Lagoon - lava without moss this time. There's still a hard frost in the grass where it's in shade, despite being mid-afternoon.

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The Blue Lagoon, as seen through the cafe window. It seemed strangely artificial.

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Outside, the more natural formations around the Blue Lagoon.

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The water's edge shows how milky the water is, and how the pebbles become coated in white mineral deposits.

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We drove on to Grindavik, a small town but one with glorious views of the sea...

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Grindavik's corrogated iron church.

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A row of houses in Grindavik - all different.

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The perspective is odd in this photo. It's not a slight slope but a huge hill in front with massive rocks on it, as seen across a lava field.

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The Geothermal power station near the Blue Lagoon, which sends its unwanted hot water to the tourist attraction.

Continue to Wednesday...




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