Reykjavik in February is beyond cold. With a thermal vest two jumpers and a ski jacket I still wasn’t warm. It was dark, windy and about minus 7 but it was amazing!
Reykjavik was the earliest permanent settlement in Iceland. First built on in around AD 870 it’s the worlds northernmost capital. It has colourful buildings, unusual statues, great restaurants, museums (at least one of them unique I think), churches and weather, lots of weather. So despite the cold we wrapped up and took in the sights.
Harpa, the concert hall is a glass honeycomb used by the National Opera Company. It was opened in 2011. You are able to walk round inside and sit at window seats admiring the view and the architecture. They even have good coffee.
Sun Voyager, the most famous statue in town is a steel boat by Jon Gunner Arnason. It stands on the coast looking as if could sail away.
Another famous sight of Reykjavik is Perlan. On a hill above the city there are huge water storage tanks. In 1991 these were updated and a huge sphere was erected on top. From the viewing platform there is a fantastic view over the city and a charming woodland hillside walk. The cafe is great, but of course, extremely expensive. I think they are making some kind of museum there on the ground floor at the moment.
Walking round we found Tjornin a small lake right in the centre next to the modern city hall. It was partly frozen and apparently safe to walk on as it is not very deep. There are many types of bird that make it their home.
After that we needed to warm up and get out of the cold. We found an amazing restaurant that served soup inside bread bowls. Delicious and filling.
We only had time for one museum so of course we chose the Phallological Museum mostly because we thought we might never see another one. They say phallology is an ancient science that needs serious study. There are specimens from every land and sea mammal in Iceland including seals, walruses, a polar bear and four humans.
Look quite unpleasant don’t they?
Our last famous sight was the Hallgrimskirkja a Lutherian parish church designed to resemble the mountains and glaciers of Iceland. In contrast to the outer design inside it is very plain. There is a large electronic pipe organ and an observation tower with a lift for a different view of Reykjavik.
There was lots more to see if we had longer but we needed time for the real reason for our visit. The golden circle and the northern lights.