Timetables and Ceremonies
Reykjavik Travel Blog› entry 3 of 11 › view all entries
I slept pretty well, but had to swap from my sleeping bag to my cocoon silk sheet, as it was simply too warm in the bag. I had a quick shower and a chat with a few other people sharing the dorm, Larrs from Germany and Adam the Anzac representative, obligatory when staying in hostel accommodation. I set out to have a look around the city and plan my excursions for the rest of the trip. Stopping off at a small coffee house near Hallgrimkirkja Church called Cafe Loki for a breakfast of smoked trout bagel and a latte. The cafe boasts a great upstairs view of the church, but unfortunately at the time of my visit extensive renovations of the famous tower were underway and the view was not much to boast about (it really does look like a space ship though!). Breakfast however was pretty good.
Suitably refreshed I headed off to sort out my adventures. I had deliberately left my driving licence back at home as I wanted to try to see the country making use of the bus service. I was pretty dismayed to discover that the passes on sale from all the bus operators; Reykjavik Excursions, SBA and Trex were only valid until 1st September and then the services either expired altogether or the timetables were changed. I enquired if this meant it was possible to get a reduction as it would only be valid for another four days, but it seemed that this option hadn’t been considered by anybody. It also was not possible to be shown the new timetables yet, I found this really quite strange, as they must have been planned and probably already printed ready for displaying in five days time.
The bottom line was though that I would have to have a good think and carefully plan my way of seeing some more of the island, including prioritising where it was I wanted to visit most. After asking at the tourist information and at both travel desks in the main bus terminus a plan was beginning to emerge but it would take some careful reading of the timetables which I decided I would leave till this evening and hopefully book tomorrow.
I then spent a chilled out day touring the city on foot and by bus. I had earlier purchased a Tourist Card which entitles me to free journeys on city buses, free entry to the seven thermal swimming pools, the zoo and to various museums and galleries, well worth the investment.
I also made a visit to Reykjavik Art Museum/Gallery as I was passing it anyway. I am certainly no art critic so nobody should be offended to hear that I didn’t enjoy much of the display. There was quite a bit of contemporary and abstract type paintings and it just didn’t appeal to me whatsoever, although I’m sure in its own right it is very accomplished. One thing I did find intriguing was a piece by a lady architect called ‘The Path’; it consists of walking through a door into a passageway, closing the door behind you and following what is in effect an enclosed, semi-dark maze. You keep going until you can’t go any further, although I did attempt to squeeze through the gap that seemed to be at the end and then you simply retrace your steps. There is a warning that it can be mildly claustrophobic as you enter but it can definitely be described as a “walk of art”.
The weather and I were playing a little game all day, it would start to rain and I would take out the umbrella, so it would stop, once I put it away it would start to rain again. So I would delay putting it away again and then try and sneak it back into my pack but it would just start to rain again all the same, I’ll obviously have to practice hard at being extra sneaky for future use.
I had noticed earlier that a stage was being erected near the ‘Old Harbour’ and some sound checks were being carried out. I hadn’t seen any advertisements stating a concert or anything of interest was about to happen but later whilst wandering around I spotted a television and the stage was in full view and some sort of ceremony taking place there. I strolled back to see what the fuss was about, and was in time to witness a welcome ceremony for their returning Olympic handball heroes, who won a silver incidentally, a big thing for such a small country. The streets were jam-packed with people and outpourings of Nationalistic pride were in full flow, very colourful with plenty of flag waving, with street vendors selling Icelandic flags, Viking hats and other memorabilia. The whole scene reminded me of a cup final at Wembley or The Millenium Stadium. Then the ceremony finished and everybody simply disappeared within just a few minutes, no street party or anything it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, miraculous!
I returned to the Aurora, Larrs was there chatting on-line. Once he had finished he explained he was meeting some other Erasmus students in the town for a drink and invited me along. We arrived in the main square to meet them, they arrived several minutes later and we traipsed all the way back up the hill in search of a bar that Edward a French speaking engineering student who had been here the longest knew.
The time was beginning to get late, so we said our farewells and I headed back up the hill with Larrs to our guesthouse.