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July 16, 2013 / Jim Fenton

Iceland Day 2: Exploring Reykjavík

July 2, 2013

We woke to a beautiful day in Reykjavík. After wandering around the neighborhood and finding a good café for breakfast, we set out to continue our exploration of town.

Þór (Thor) or Christ statuette, National Museum

Þór (Thor) or Christ statuette, National Museum

We first walked by the Alþingi (pronounced “althingie”), Iceland’s parliament.  It’s a very clean, modern building connected to a much more traditional-looking building that fits in well into the surroundings. It has a very modest sign on the front; we almost missed it.  Then we walked to City Hall, located at one end of the downtown lake. Inside City Hall there is a large relief model of Iceland, as well as a temporary exhibit on books. We then walked to the National Museum, a modern and well-displayed collection showing artifacts from circa 800 to 2000. They have incorporated multimedia nicely through interactive displays that complement the story told by the many items they have on display.

From the museum we took a bit of a walk to The Pearl, a restaurant located on top of the City’s geothermal water tanks. There was a well-maintained and well-used mixed-use (bike/walking) path the entire way; biking seems to be a popular mode of transit in Reykjavík.

The Pearl atop water tanks

The Pearl atop water tanks

The Pearl (Perlan) is situated in a mirrored glass dome atop six water tanks. There are actually two restaurants here: a cafeteria, with a moderately priced menu, and a high-end revolving restaurant on the top level that is open for dinner. We opted for the former. There is a great view of Reykjavík from the deck outside.

After lunch, we went to the Saga Museum, which is located in an unused one of the six water tanks. The museum had a good audio guide and dioramas of many events early in Iceland’s history, but was limited in its scope.

Dinner was at a fish-and-chips restaurant in the harbor area where we had excellent Icelandic cod. We are turning in early; we hit the road first thing tomorrow morning.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Iceland. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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