The flight went very well, here I am writing this the next day and I can hardly remember pleading for it to be over, so, excellent.
From the airport I took an easy-peasy bus to the main church and from there walked the one block to Freyja Guesthouse arriving around 10:30am. It’s lovely, I have a pleasant and modest room, nice windows, and a comfy bed, plus a good bathroom and kitchen and lounge shared with two other rooms. I’m happy!
Back to the church, called ((Hallgrímskirkja (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈhatl̥ˌkrimsˌcʰɪr̥ca])). This is how google thinks you will to learn to pronounce Icelandic words. Don’t be fooled by the English looking letters or the missing Icelandic markings in this particular word. Pronouncing Icelandic place names – it’s going to be a project!
I walked around town for a couple hours, it’s adorable. I’m not sure if adorable is what they were going for but on first flush that’s where I’m landing. Adorable.
Here are a few murals from around my ‘hood. I’m quite sure there are more.
I caught a couple hours nap this afternoon because I had 8pm tickets at the Harpa Concert Hall to see Eva Ollikainen (everyone calls her Eva) conduct the Iceland Symphony Orchestra playing the Shostakovich Symphony no. 5. I had orchestra center seats and I wondered why they were so inexpensive. Maybe because the concert was a perfect 1 hour in length? It was an Impressive performance.
Guðbjörg is Hilda’s Uncle’s Icelandic girlfriend and we had a great day today thanks to Guðbjörg who drove me around for the afternoon, took me to her house for coffee and cake, and then we went out for dinner at her favorite restaurant. What a day!
Let’s pronounce Guðbjörg! I tried to type it out and created more confusion in my mind. Here is a link so you can listen to Guðbjörg and to my church Hallgrímskirkja. You might think the church should at least start ‘Hall’ but oh no. And here’s another good one that will come up a lot: Þingvellir. These will make you smile out loud!
This picture was from yesterday, around my corner. True Story. Not one of my not infrequent ‘poetic license’ mix-ups. Thursday I awoke after having eaten mostly on-the-road food for a day and a half and I said to myself, I could eat a carrot. After I finished writing Wednesday’s story I went to this cafe and Lo! their soup of the day was carrot ginger. It was meant to be!
Connected to the cafe is a gallery, I showed a picture of a cat statue yesterday from the gallery. So outside the cafe and gallery these guys were working on a project. They told me the big reveal would be Saturday at noon. So I asked them if there would be a party. Oh yes there would be a party and I was most welcome to attend. Oh you bet I’m going to that party!
Guðbjörg picked me up and we were OFF!
Below the inset is from the internet as is this, mostly from Guide to Iceland: “Þúfa was designed by the Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal, who sought to create a place of serenity. On top is an old fishing shed, the kind used historically to wind-dry fish, as a callback to Iceland’s past. Fishing was the lifeblood of the country for centuries, and how Icelanders managed to work in the tumultuous seas, harvest their catch, and utilize it for lasting food, clothing and oil, is a fascinating story. The hillock of Þúfa also has ties to Icelandic culture; the hidden people in folklore were said to be able to live in an alternate world within rocks and such hillocks.”
Here come some scenes from around Guðbjörg’s home. She said in Reykjavik you can get out easily all year round, they don’t get snowed in and all these paths are walkable.
Another cool mural on a side street I could easily have missed. I’m sure I missed plenty.
Today was the first sunny morning since I’ve been here and everyone was so excited. The streets were full of people looking like this, with their faces soaking up the joy. On the corner of my block is the renowned Einar Jónsson Museum where there is a large sculpture garden that I stroll through often.
I found a new street to walk on and first thing, what’s that smell? What are those people lined up for? Bakery Treats! Of course I went in there and it was worth it.
Above, an art project at My Church, Hallgrímskirkja, that wasn’t there when I left!
On the way into town I stopped off at The Settlement Center in Borgarnes. It’s a museum of the early days in Iceland and also a walk through models telling the story of the Egils Saga. The audio tour was quite good – a modest, lovely detour, well worth it if you have the time.
Back in Reykjavik I dropped my bag at the guesthouse, then dropped the car, and then walked to the guesthouse through downtown. Look at this house…you know you’re back in Reykjavik.
Guðbjörg and I had a wonderful last day in Iceland. We went to Árbær Open Air Museum and it was delightful.
Remember back three weeks ago (of course not!), next door to my guesthouse was a small local art gallery that had many pieces out on their lawn. These folks were working on a project and The Big Reveal was due on the day before I was to leave on my drive, so I was anxious to see it. I didn’t swell with joy but it was fun:
And here we have how it looks 2 1/2 weeks later. They’ve mulched it up and what they said was they had no idea what to do next – tend to it? change the plants? let it go wild? Now I’m a little invested in the whole thing and I want to know what’s going to happen. So..success you guys!
Then in the morning, Home Sweet Home. The flights went well. Goodness I was so grateful for Global Entry and TSA Pre. Those lines in JFK were a killer. Comfort+ on Delta, thumbs up. Now it is the 11th so yes, it’s taken me some time to finish and I haven’t done a polish on these posts, but thanks to Marsha for keeping up with the proof reading!