Here’s another clue in the plane’s wingtip.
It is the Icelandair logo, and yes, we were on our way to Iceland, Reykjavik, the capital city, to be precise.
It had been an offer I found on the internet - £140 off the normal cost for three nights in Reykjavik plus four half day tours. I have always wanted to go to Iceland, preferring cool climes as you might know already, so decided to book it, and now here I was – on that flight. Seeing Inverness from above was quite exciting. It is so recognisable because of the Caledonian canal basin and the canal itself running alongside the river Ness. Being so clear I could even almost pinpoint my friend Janet’s house!, not that far from the canal basin.
The flight took 2 hours and 5 minutes – 1 hour 55 minutes on the return journey – and was very smooth until we began the descent to Reykjavik. Nothing to worry about though, and soon we had landed at Keflavik, Iceland’s international airport, a forty five minute bus journey from Reykjavik itself through 15th century lava fields! Quite astonishing! The area is pretty barren but here and there are pockets of green where a golf course has been created! On the way into the city there is one building that stands out – the Hallgrimskirkja, which we visited on one of our tours,the tallest building in Iceland. It was commissioned in 1929; the design agreed in the 1930s, but construction only began after WW2 and was not quite completed till 1974. Its dedication came in 1986. Apparently and not surprisingly there is a fantastic view of the city and surrounding areas from the tower. There is a lift for those that haven’t the time or energy to climb the steps. We didn’t even have the time, unfortunately.
Inside it is much more traditional and its pale grey concrete pillars and vaulted ceiling gives it a very calm appearance. I loved it! (Leifur Eriksson is the guy on the pedestal. He discovered America long before Columbus, they say!)
As well as Lutheran services here, there are concerts, theatrical performances, poetry readings, state funerals….
Also on our tour of Reykjavik on our first full day we were taken to Perlan (The Pearl) an extraordinary building consisting of five enormous (geothermal) hot water tanks, set in a circle with a restaurant and gift shop set over the top under a glass dome!
Unexpected things happen there too! I never did find out who, what or why?
This is the country’s government house in the heart of Reykjavik - built originally as a prison - with the statue of Hannes Hafstein, Iceland’s first native prime minister, as opposed to a Danish one I should think. I love the written Icelandic word for the Government House, Stjórrnaráðshúsið, which has one of the two letters that represent the two English letters th. We have this and that, these and those, the th being voiced. It is represented by the reverse 6 with a cross through – ð – while the soft th in thank, think, three and thirty is represented by a written mixture of p and b – þ! I þink ðat’s clever!
of which these are only two,
and with the sun shining through them, the colours were beautifully reflected into the building.
Back in the city later on I had a bit of an explore on my own, and reached the beautiful sculpture called the Sun Voyager or Sólfar down near the Old Harbour. It makes me think of Viking longboats and reindeer!
There was just so much to see but I think these were the highlights. In the afternoon we were to have a tour out of the city on what is named the Golden Circle. It was amazing to see the Icelandic scenery – but more of that next time!
Talk again soon.