November 9, 2013
Refreshed, we popped out of bed to catch our last breakfast buffet at the hotel. We definitely had enjoyed the daily smörgåsbord of Nordic breakfast treats. (Who doesn’t love cheese and bread for breakfast?)
After checking out and stuffing our luggage into the luggage storage at the front desk, we set out for another frigid walk. This time it was to Perlan, “The Pearl,” on a hilltop above Reykjavik, to take in the view.
Perlan is a complex built around 6 water tanks that houses a fancy domed rotating restaurant. It also has an expensive cafeteria and The Saga Museum, dedicated to the Sagas (traditional stories) of Iceland. From the city center, Perlan looks like a giant glittery boob (a la Barbarella), especially at night when it has a spot light shooting out of its nipple. We enjoyed the varying views and rested with some coffee and pastries in the cafeteria. The Saga Museum didn’t open for another hour, and we had one more attraction to see, so we ventured back out in the cold (it was 32 degrees).
Set right in the middle of town and visible from almost everywhere in Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja is an immense concrete church built between 1940 and 1974. We rode the elevator to the top of the clock tower for more views of the city. After the clock tower, a peek inside of the church revealed an impressive 5,275-pipe organ. Jeff liked the horizontal pipes that looked like “t-shirt cannons” and suggested (to me) that they shoot confetti for the Xmas service. I concurred. We made a few more off-color religious jokes (to each other) and stepped outside.
In front of the church, we found a statue of Leifur Eiriksson, aka Leif Ericson, a gift from the United States for the 1000th anniversary (yes, that says one thousand) of the Icelandic National Assembly, the Alþingi. He looked like a tough dude, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how these tough guy Vikings did not freeze their butts off. I would’ve taken one look at that “smoky bay” in Reykjavik (it was actually steam) and said “sail on!”
Apparently, Leifur did just that because he is commonly recognized as the first European to arrive in North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
After meeting Leifur, our time in Iceland had sadly come to an end. We walked back to the hotel, caughtt the bus to the airport and now we are flying somewhere over the northern territories back home again.
I am already planning what I want to do the next time I come back!
Bless, Island! (Goodbye, Iceland!)