Downtown Reykjavik - Hallgrims Church, Museum of Iceland, The Pearl, Viking Ship, and Hofdi House

Reykjavik Travel Blog

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Statue of Leifr Eiricsson and Hallgrimskirkja Church.

This morning we booked today's trip with Reykjavik Excursions "Reykjavik Grand Excursion". It was a two and half hour tour. It's a good way to get an idea of what you want to see. Then go back on your own and spend the amout of time you like at each stop. The tour was a little rushed.

Our first stop of the tour is Hallgrimskirkja Church.

The Hallgrímskirkja (literally, the church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft), it is the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland after Longwave radio mast Hellissandur, Eiðar longwave transmitter and Smáratorg tower. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

The Peral
State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937. It took 38 years to build the church. Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986, the landmark tower being completed long before the church's actual completion. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings were completed in 1974. The nave was consecrated in 1986. It is situated in the centre of Reykjavík and is visible throughout the city. It has become one of city's best known landmarks. It is similar in style to the expressionist architecture of Grundtvig's Church of Copenhagen, Denmark, completed in 1926.

The church houses a large pipe organ by the German organbuilder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has mechanical action, four manuals and pedal, 102 ranks, 72 stops and 5275 pipes.

Whaling vessels
It is 15 metres tall and weighs 25 tons. Its construction was finished in December 1992. It has been recorded by Christopher Herrick in his Organ Fireworks VII.

The church is also used as an observation tower. An observer can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains.

There is a statue of the explorer Leifr Eiriksson in front of the church, predating its construction. It was a gift from the United States on the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament.

Our next stop was The Pearl. Perlan (English: The Pearl) is a landmark building in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. It is 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high. It was originally designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson.

National Museum of Iceland
Perlan is situated on the hill Öskjuhlíð where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. In 1991 the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. This project was largely done at the behest of Davíð Oddsson, during his time as mayor of Reykjavík.

There are three shops in Perlan, all on the fourth floor. They are the Gourmet Shop, the Souvenir Shop and the Christmas Shop.

Gourmet Shop: In the Gourmet shop you can buy a variety of foodstuffs, amongst them oysters, langoustine, mushrooms, world jams, beef fillets, wild game fowl and smoked salmon.

Souvenir Shop: The Souvenir Shop is located behind the cafeteria and sells items including playing cards, statues, t-shirts, postcards, Viking helmets, wool sweaters and original Icelandic art.

Viking Ship

Christmas Shop:The All Year Christmas Shop is located within the gourmet shop and sells Christmas related items such as statues of the Icelandic Julelads, Christmas tree decorations and handcrafted Icelandic Christmas artwork.

The top floor (fifth floor) of Perlan houses the revolving restaurant. There is a cafeteria and gourmet shop on the fourth floor.

Cafeteria: Perlan cafeteria sells breads, coffee cakes, and pastries. You will also find hot soups, sandwiches and assorted salads. It also offers home made Italian ice cream.

Restaurant And Bar: On the top glass domed part of Perlan there is a revolving restaurant and cocktail bar. The revolving floor does a complete turn in two hours. It offers a good view of Reykjavik and the nearby areas.

Hofdi

Our next stop was the port of Reykjavik. We got to see their whaling ships. Our guide told us that Iceland had started hunting for whales again. The ships went out and killed only six and returned to port never to go to sea again.

Our last stop was the The National Museum of Iceland. Being the last stop of the tour you can spend as much time here as needed. They only give you thirty minutes if you stay with the tour. We left the tour at this point looked at a few things and headed across the street to our hotel. There is no photography in the museum at all!!

Mike had rented a car from Hertz the day before. So we jumped in the car and went back downtown to see a few things that the tour did not stop at. We made a stop along the port at the Viking Ship. Very nice.

IKEA - they have one in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and are building one in Tampa
I have seen a lot of pictures of this and had to get a few of my own. Then we drove right up the street to Hofdi. This house was built in 1909, is probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Reykjavik. It is best known as the location for the 1986 meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov, that effectively marked the end of the Cold War.

Mike and I had some time left at the end of the day. So we decided to drive to the Kringland Mall. It reminded me of a lot of back home. It's has three floors. The first and second floors are your typical clothing and music shops and the third is the food court. We found McDonald's. That is where we decided to eat dinner. In the States you pay about $5.50 for a Quarter Pounder, fries, and a drink. Here is was around $9.00 for the same.  We saw and Ikea and a store called Bonus. They were everywhere. It reminded me of a 5 & 10 store.  They sold groceries and about anything else you may need.

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Statue of Leifr Eiricsson and Hall…
Statue of Leifr Eiricsson and Hal…
The Peral
The Peral
Whaling vessels
Whaling vessels
National Museum of Iceland
National Museum of Iceland
Viking Ship
Viking Ship
Hofdi
Hofdi
IKEA - they have one in Fort Laude…
IKEA - they have one in Fort Laud…
Inside restaurant
Inside restaurant
Hallgrimskirkja Church
Hallgrimskirkja Church
Leifr Eiricsson
Leifr Eiricsson
Hallgrimskirkja Church
Hallgrimskirkja Church
Reykjavik harbor
Reykjavik harbor
The fourth floor outside viewing d…
The fourth floor outside viewing …
HOFDI - Reagan and Gorbachev had t…
HOFDI - Reagan and Gorbachev had …
Electronic store
Electronic store
Home and Garden Center
Home and Garden Center
Mike
Mike
Me
Me
Me
Me
Mike
Mike
Reykjavik
photo by: MadeleineGL