Tuesday, 17 January
First a note about the Northern Lights Tour. Our driver/guide, Michael, picked us up and we headed west in search of aurora borealis. Cloud cover made our driver believe that we would have better luck east of town so we headed in the other direction. We made a couple stops finally at a light house and saw some faint glow in the distance. After calling it a night at about 1 am we headed back to town without a truly successful sighting. The tour company offers a complimentary second chance so we head out again tonight.
After arriving back in our room at 2 am, Dolora and I slept until ten. Easy since it is still dark and the room has darkening shades. We headed in the direction of the walking tour and stopped for brunch at Deig. They have a morning deal with a filled bagel, donut and coffee. We walked around checking out some of the shops and two food halls. The food halls are much more upscale than those in the states.
The walking tour group was about twenty people. Tomas, our tour guide, had a minimal accent. Although he has lived in Iceland since he was a year old, his father is from Chicago. We met in front of the Iceland Parliment Building. There are 63 members of parliment representing 8 different parties. Tomas said it is hard for them to work together, same as our situation with only two parties. There was no security at the Parliment Building or later at the Prime Minister’s office. That’s different for us. We toured the old parts of town and were filled in on the history or Reykjavik. It felt cold even though it was warmer today but there was more wind. We did find out why some of the sidewalks are cleared of snow and why others are full of ice. Heat is essentially free in Iceland thanks to the hot springs. Pipes are being placed under sidewalks to melt the snow. In places where the pipes have not been put in yet, it is icy. Tomas said the Icelanders threw away their snow shovels when the heated sidewalks were started so no one is able to clear the remaining sidewalks! Dolora posed at the Monument to the Unkown Bureaucrat, peek at the photo.
After the walking tour ended, Dolora and headed over to the Reykjavik City museum located in the oldest remaining building in the city. The basement contains the excavation of a Viking long house. The interest in history and the records that have been kept are kind of amazing.
Dolora and I stopped for fish and chips at Reykjavik Street Food on the way back to the room. Time to rest a little and then head out to give the Northern Lights another try.