We were here in 2013 when we took the Holland America Eurodam home from Europe and stopped for two days, the highlight of which was the "Golden Circle" bus tour to Europe's largest waterfall, the geyser in the town of Geysir (after which geysers are named), and a valley where the tectonic plates for Europe and North America are pulling apart from each other, millimeter by millimeter.
This time we found an apartment with a kitchenette, and checked out Icelandic grocery shopping. We visited the two largest grocery stores in the heart of town, and each one was a whole lot closer to a convenience store than a Safeway in size and food selection (but pricier than Whole Foods, since most of what's there has been imported). Luckily an employee at one store told us how to find the fresh fish shop, which was fabulous. An hour later, Louise was serving up a delicious filet of Arctic char (a northerly relative of the salmon).
Our main destination, however, was Árbæjarsafn, an open air museum similar to Sturbridge Village in the U.S. or the Nederlands Openlucht Museum in Arnhem we described and pictured a few blog entries ago.
Though it looks like a country house, the sheet metal and stone home Louise is in front of actually stood where our Reykjavik apartment now stands, on Grettisgata Street in the heart of town, and was a laborer's home. Another building down the street had a display of traditional Icelandic dresses, and a third, a print shop, exhibited an Icelandic typewriter with the 30 letters of their alphabet.
A nearby turf structure is rural, a sheep shed that was on the property when it went from farm to museum in 1957. As Louise walks down the street, there's the farm's smithy in front of her, and the farmhouse to her right. The part with the turf roof was the horse stable attached to the farmhouse. Icelandic horses are distinctive! Here are three that live at the museum, and another that lives on in an historic photo.
The most interesting building, perhaps, is the kirkja, or church. It was built in1842 in a small town in North Iceland, but became a sort of dormitory about 1900 before coming to the museum and resuming its ecclesiastical character.
After two visits to Reykjavik, we think we've seen pretty much all the sights of interest, so probably won't stop over again. However, we have very much enjoyed learning more about this unusual country and its capital city. We're now off to spend some time biking and canoeing in Maine, which will be the topic of our next two blog entries.