Saturday, 9 July 2016

Reykjavik and Iceland History

Reykjavik, flea market, national museum, cocktails at Marina  

The blackout curtains at our hotel were the best I have used and Joan and I slept until 8.30 having woken at 5.30. I guess we were both very tired.

After breakfast we walked down Laugavegur and I tried some designer earrings on. We then went to the flea market which was huge and filled with slightly tatty stuff, but there was a food section at the back. I shall also buy some lava bracelets there as prezzies for people. We walked back along Hverfisgata past the Iceland art gallery and enjoying seeing all the different styles of houses. I said good bye to my fellow travellers at the hotel. I enjoyed sharing a room with Joan and got some insight into being a farmer. She had a hard time in her thirties but now seems to be having a easier time. There are strong pressures on the children to work on the family business which reduces their work and professional development options. It is a very different life to a young professional where one has to strive to get qualifications and then jobs. The farms are also heavily supported by the EU, they get £180 000 pa from the government and that money will stop. Surprisingly her daughter has worked with my family friend and hatmaker Rachel Trevor- Morgan. The Scarborough cyclists were a nice group to travel with, nobody tried to dominate the group.
I took a taxi to my next hotel, the trendy Icelandair Marina at the harbour side. I talked my way into getting a harbour side room, but then could not check in straight away. So I walked around the town. The Harpa building is beautiful and has a daily concert at 12.00 so I shall go to that on Sunday. I then went to the national museum and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours looking at the displays on Icelandic history. The narrative was in themes that were illustrated with items, with sections about the first settlements from Iceland in the 10c, then the spread of Christianity and the conversion from paganism to Christianity. I suppose that when one has such a small island population one can convert en masse. I also understand the massive effect of The Enlightenment better and how that opened up new scientific thought. Iceland took a long time to be freed from Danish colonisation and this was lead by a couple of leading intellectuals. There was a nice display about the census of 1703 when the population was only a few thousand. I wandered back, stopping for coffee and cake in a cafe that used to be used by Icelandic intellectuals, now it feels very touristy. My hotel is very trendy with interesting designer furniture and a quirky downstairs with lobbies and places to sit. There is even a fake fire with a cardboard statue sitting next to it. I had supper of fish pie in a fish shop close by and ended the evening with cocktails in Slipbaarn. The barmen were busy creating many cocktails including one that involved drilling frozen raspberry juice out of a bottle. I had a very expensive slug with white tequila and but then the barman split a drink on me on me so I had my drink on the house. Bed late and the curtains were very poor at keeping out the light. Good: National museum

Bad: price of cocktails 2000 Kr apiece

Surprising: quirky Marina hotel

Hotel Icelandair Marina

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