Classic doors with stoops (from the Dutch word stoep) or stairs. In New York many still call them stoops. When the Dutch colonists settled in New York in the 1600s they added this style of stairs to rows of apartments called tenements and brownstones. The second photograph has the now closed historic Fedora Restaurant in the basement.
A mix of places in Reykjavik July 13-22, 2021. We stayed at Castle House Luxury apartments by Tjornin (the city pond). There are lovely private gardens in Reykjavik. The boat being painted in the shipyard was almost finished in a week. Pity we didn’t get time to climb up the Perlan dome to see the view. We were running around looking for where we had parked the car instead of sightseeing on the last evening.
Here is Marc’s 8 best things to see in Reykjavik:
To call Reykjavik a city is a bit of an exaggeration. With a population of barely 123,000 I would call it a large town. Apart from the Hallgrimskirkja (the cathedral in the center of town) the tallest buildings are new glass apartment blocks along the shore side of town. Reykjavik has the appeal of a small town. The town center hasn’t been developed like more populous cities with their steel and glass monoliths. Reykjavik still has many one family houses built around the end of nineteenth and early twentieth century. Most have exterior walls of corrugated iron and are painted in a riot of colors. Some are lucky enough to have enough space on their lots for gardens which they take full advantage of by planting as many flowers plants and shrubs as can fit.
All the Icelanders we met were friendly. Just about everyone speaks fluent English. Perhaps better than I from N.Y.C. There are also many British and American ex pats working there. On our last day there we parked on a street many blocks behind the cathedral only to forget where it was later that evening. Sherry was beside herself for her laptop and binoculars were in the car. After wandering the streets for hours, we went to a police station for help, thinking that it might have been towed or worse stolen. Then two young policewomen drove us around the area for over an hour but with no results. They said they would keep an eye out for it that night. We returned to our rooms in a most depressed state. At 5 A.M. the front door buzzed and there were the two blond policewomen with the news that they had found the car and forth with they drove us to it. With an hour to spare before leaving for the airport. We wrote a a glowing review and thanks. I hope their captain sees it.
Iceland has some of the best restaurants on any side of the Atlantic. Their lamb is internationally renowned. It is the sweetest best tasting lamb on Earth. There are 800.000 sheep in Iceland and only about 323.000 Icelanders. The sheep roam freely over the island feeding on the lush green fields of grass that grow up the sides of the extinct volcanos. In Iceland lamb is inexpensive compared to here. If one is going to Iceland for a trip of a lifetime, I recommend dining at the better restaurants for the exceptional cuisine. Guide to Iceland booked us excellent rooms and dinners at some of the best restaurants. Two of the finest in Reykjavik are Kopar at the harbor and the Sjavargrillio seafood grill restaurant.
A walk along the shore drive at Saltjarnes is a must for birdwatchers. There is a parking area near the light house. There are fields full of nesting Terns and other birds.
a short boat ride to Videy island less than a mile offshore. In the 18th c. this was the home of an early governor of Reykjavik. The island is covered with deep grass, cliffs of basalt columns, and thousands of birds. The Governor’s mansion has been turned into a part museum and part restaurant where they offer of course lamb on the menu. By then we were trying to save on lunches so did not imbibe. All along our drive we usually had lunch out the back of our S.U.V.
Then there is the closest thing to a skyscraper in Reykjavik, the Hallgrimskirkja. The façade of this Lutheran church mimics the great basalt columns that can be seen in many places along the shores of this isle. In keeping with the tenants of Lutheranism the interior is stark compared to other churches you may have seen before. But this is one of the beauties of this great interior space. After entering turn to face the entry and see above you the pipes of one of the most magnificent organs which ascends several stories in height. Forget the elevator up the tower for a view of the town, what for?
For me it is the bookstores. Many shops don’t open until 10 am and close early. It is said that at least a third of the populous are writers and poets. Of course, you can also find the Sagas and books about them. Sherry bought an expensive book on the birds of Iceland. We saved the receipts to get a tax refund at the airport.
The Handknitting Association of Iceland shop where they sell apparel hand knit by Icelanders using fine Icelandic wool. The quality of their work is exceptional and is priced accordingly. There are many other shops selling the popular Icelandic sweaters, but none can claim to be “handmade”. There are also thrift shops where one can find sweaters in almost new condition at a fraction of their original cost.
The highlight of July 18 was the Hoffstadir Country Hotel. I wish we had arrived earlier because our room had a veranda overlooking the most gorgeous scenery and it would have been nice to sit there and soak it in. We have the end room in an outbuilding down the road (see link). We couldn’t find it at first because a tractor was blocking the road and we drove back and forth looking for it. Finally the tractor moved and we saw the road down to the rooms. That was amusing.
The delicious dinner was earlier than usual which was fine with us because we were very tired. There was a lovely little baby wagtail by our dinner table.
Next morning, we walked around the area and scared up some more nesting birds. It really is a gorgeous place, and I would love to go there again. Breakfast was at 8, an hour later than usual, which was inconvenient because we needed an early start. It was a great breakfast buffet though. I like the owners too.
An unusual thing is the bedding for couples in Icelandic Hotels. We each had our own single duvet which isn’t a bad idea. Marc couldn’t complain about me pulling the cover off him.
At Holar on July 18 we looked at the turf house, the church, and paid to go to the horse museum which was somewhat interesting. I enjoyed this website a lot horsesoficeland.is The tolt gait is very interesting.
I preferred the drive there better than Holar. The café was open, and we had a drink there. About Holar.
In the evening of July 17 we arrived at Hotel Kia in Akureyri – Wikipedia and ate dinner at the hotel. After dinner we went for a short stroll. It is a nice little town. Our hotel room could be accessed from the street in the right in the first picture.
Then we high tailed it off to the Gentle Giants whale and puffin tour at Husavic, Northwest Iceland on July 17. I didn’t get to see puffins up close. The boat didn’t approach close to the island with the puffins. I was told that the currents were too fierce that day. We were supposed to head out to see the whales but the but one of the engine’s broke and we had to turn around and head back to harbor very slowly. I managed to get a few shots of Puffins, a Guillemot, and a Skua. They offered a refund or a later tour. We had no time, so we opted for the refund.