Perlan is a upper-class restaurant built on top of water storage tanks at Öskjuhlíð hill near downtown Reykjavík. Controversial while being built but now generally viewed as a beautiful building and major landmark in the city. In the vicinity is a small forest and a popular outdoor area for Reykjavík´s citizens. Also there is a artificial geyser that blows at regular intervals.
Fondest memory: Perlan restaurant offers both fine dinner and you can drop for a coffee and cake during the day. I haven´t dined there for a while, it is more of a tourist attraction than a regular place for locals. Still it is probably very interesting to see when in Reykjavík, great views from the balcony or the rotating restaurant.
Öskjuhlíð however is very popular amongs locals for hiking, jogging and cycling. It connects with Nauthólsvík beach. The hill is also inhabited by rabbits and there are not many other places in Iceland you see wild land mammals on regular basis :)
I'm also going in Mid-Nov (19-26th), Iceland is going to be cold no matter the season but temperature is expected to be around -1c to 2c. Similar to England, however I hear the wind mixed with rain is the real killer in Iceland. Apparently umbrellas are useless in Iceland, and expect rain and wind on your face at any time even if it appears sunny in the morning.
I just bought a wind/rain jacket for £180 made of a very thin plasticky kind of material. This is all right as I have a fleece jacket to go underneath, a kathmandu thermal top and undergarment. Most people are saying to wear layers of clothes instead of 2 pieces of bulky ones (like a ski jacket and a thick jumper as I would normally do). With layered clothing you can take off/put on depending on where you are travelling, stopping over for a break or visiting a site.
I have ski pants that are water and wind proof, but I'm still bringing jeans for walking around town. Someone said not to wear jeans but I don't really want to be walking around in plastic clothings :-)
Finally, I am definitely bring a pair of gloves though the ones that I bought (£25) look more like thermal/wind proof gloves than waterproof (it says that it allows the hands to breath better). I wanted thin gloves because I'll be carrying a camera and so still need some sensitivity when I operate it.
If I'm expecting strong winds then I'll probably bring some hand cream lotion and lip balm, I'm not too sure if there will be extremely glare from sky or snow so I don't think I need a big bottle of sunscreen.
I'm not sure if any sites will be closed during November but I hear that the local buses may not be running to the east side of Iceland as they would during summer, so you would definitely need to book a tour to get there. I was planning on cycling or using a scooter but could not find any information on these.
I'm also bringing some snacks and finger food as well as several cartons of beer and maybe a few bottles of Chardonnay :-P
Hope that helps but I'll be there for a week which I hope is not too long (financial wise) and not too short (photography wise).
The weather over the past few days in Reykjavík has been very cold and wintery and snow arrived as well. The best advice would be to bring a clothes that keep you warm, wind and water proof. The temperature today is around 2degrees and can get colder, so nice warm, cosy clothes is a good recommendation.
It can get very windy in the winter time here and also alongside with the cold weather, I would recommend also to get a pair of decent shoes as well, they don't need to be expensive but warm and cosy shoes that are waterproof as there tends to be a lot of rain, snow, ice, slush in the winter time as well.
The tourist office in the BSÍ Bus Station and also in Downtown Reykjavík is open all year round, so you should have no worries.
Have a fun trip.
Favorite thing: "What's On in Reykjavik" is a free brochure, actually more like a brochure on Reykjavik events and activities, culture and practical tourist information. A handy mix of advertisements and info and calendar of events. Very useful - get it at first opportunity! Check www.whatson.is if you have no paper copy.
Favorite thing: The Icelanders are big pushers of free maps. A lot of space is taken up by advertisements, but the following map can be recommended as suitable for walking and driving in Akurayri, Reykjavik, Kopavogur and Hafnarfjordur: "Big Map", by Enjoy More of Iceland 2004-05.
Favorite thing: Iceland is one of the world's most expensive countries. Car rental or van rental, as was the case with our family, was unquestionably the most costly part of our Icelandic adventure. To truly understand Iceland one must travel outside the city and experience nature in all its majesty and variety. Plan to spend more time and money than you expect.
Favorite thing: Oh - I'm not sure of the name of this piece, or who created it. I should take good notes when I'm walking around. This piece is found in the public park just to the south of Lake Tjorn in central Reykjavik. It has that identifiably "modern nordic" look to it, doesn't it!
Favorite thing: Olafur Thors (1892-1964) was a leading Icelandic politician of the 20th century. Associated with the Independence Party, he helped lead the country in the early days after its detachment from Denmark during World War II. In all, he served as Prime Minister on five seaprate occasions. His statue is located in the public park just to the south of Lake Tj?rn.
Favorite thing: Reykjavik doesn't really have a skyline, but there are a number of nice places to get a sense of the cityscape. The mountains are never too far away - and the winter snow makes them appear even closer.
Favorite thing: Reykjavik's City Hall is a modernist structure with considerable heft. The facade which faces the city is rather brutal, even barbaric with its massive plain face of unadorned concrete. But the side of the building which faces lake Tjron ("the pond") does a good job of integrating with its surroundings.
Favorite thing: Iceland lays claim to the oldest representational institution in the western world, the "Alpingi". It was this council which met for the first time in at 930, at the big rift lake some 30 miles east of here. The Alpingi was disbanded under Norwegian, and later Danish government. But the rebirth of Icelandic national identity in the 19th century saw the reconstitution of the assembly. The Alpingi has been meeting in this grey basalt building on Austurvollur since 1881.
Ingolfur Arnarson is usually credited as the original Norse settler of Iceland, but actually it was a Swede, Gardar Svavarsson, who established the first human habitation on Iceland sometime around the year 850. That fact notwithstanding, it's Arnarson who gets the honor of having this heroic statue on Government Hill in the center of Reykjavik. Quite the man!
(Someone has put a band-aid over his mouth. Perhaps that relates to part of the Sagas I haven't read yet.)
It's nice that the people of Iceland recognize King Christian IX of Denmark with this statue. He was the monarch of the mother country when it first granted Iceland a limited measure of self-government. Here the King is shown handing the Icelanders their first constitution.
Iceland severed its last ties to Denmark in 1944, but Copenhagen is still a major destination for Icelanders.
The statue of Iceland's first Minister stands in front of the Government House in the center of Reykjavik. It's at the corner of Bankstraeti and Kalkofmsvegur. The sculpture is by Einar Jonsson.
Hannes Petuesson Hafstein (1861-1922) was a lawyer, banker, poet and political leader. In 1904, he was appointed to represent Iceland in Danish Cabinet as the Minister for Icelandic Affairs. He served two terms, from 1904-1909, and again from 1912-1914, during which pride in Iceland's heritage continued to grow among its people.
Favorite thing: Iceland's President has a proud palace out on the isolated Alftanes peninsula. I wonder, though, whether this isn't used primarily for ceremonial occasions. This seems like an awfully windswept place to live!
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