A PRETTY NEAT RECYCLING BOTTLE
Favorite thing: I saw this large metal bottle by the old harbour and realised it must be a container for people to deposit bottles in for recycling. One thing i did notice about Reykjavik was that it was very clean and the locals did not throw trash on the ground. There are plenty of trash cans through out the city.
CAMERA READY FOR UNUSUAL SCENES
Favorite thing: While walking along the road on the west side of Tjornin lake i came across this mad cyclist. I know the weather was quite reasonable that day, reaching 13-15C but i was surprised to see this guy almost naked.
There was a camera crew with him so maybe he was making an advert for something or other.
ADVERTISING ON THE GARBAGE TRUCK
Favorite thing: Usually garbage trucks are dirty, smelly and uninteresting but in Reykjavik they are also used for promoting tourism as the sides of the truck has a view of the countryside . This particular one is showing a waterfall and i guess cliffs that were once sea cliffs . Great idea to brighten up the truck
INGOLFSNAUST ---- A LITTLE HISTORY
Favorite thing: In the area between Vesturgata and Tryggvagata i came across one of these historical boards that told us something about the area called Ingolfsnaust. It was in this area that farmers beached their fishing boats centuries ago and nowadays their path to the sea is the famous Adalstraeti, the oldest street in Iceland. In the 19th century merchants set up their businesses along the shoreline and built jetties where the goods from bigger ships were transported there by smaller craft, as Reykjavik did not have a harbour until 1917.
THE ICELANDIC HORSE
Favorite thing: I did notice a difference between the Icelandic Horse and other European horses as they were much smaller and even be the same size as a pony. Another difference is that they have five gaits whereas most horses only have four. They tend to live longer and be more hardy then their overseas relatives, perhaps one reason is that there are very few diseases in Iceland. And to help prevent diseases it is not allowed to import horses and if one goes abroad for a show or something they are not allowed back into the country. Many have been exported and there are large populations in Europe and N America, but wherever i went in Iceland i saw many horses in the fields. The horses were brought by Norse settlers in the tenth century and through selective breeding the horse has developed into its present form. Of course natural selection had a lot to do with it as many horses succumbed to the cold and starvation due to the harsh climate. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the horses were nearly wiped out due to a volcanic eruption but luckily they survived and increased in numbers. If you are lucky you may see these horses being used for traditional shepherding.
An interesting fact is that there are around 80,000 horses compared to 320,000 people, that is one horse for every four inhabitants.
THE FUR INDUSTRY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS
Favorite thing: The photograph of the white mink was taken at Reykjavik family zoo but the mammal was never a native to the country but they were imported in the early 20th century with the intention of starting a fur industry. But, of course many of the minks escaped captivity and now they are permanently established in the country, much to the annoyance of some of the local farmers whose animals are preyed upon, and also upsetting some of the bird communities.
I THINK HE IS A NEWSPAPER REPORTER !!!
Favorite thing: When i was in the area by the parliament there was a demonstration by housewives who wanted to get rid of the government as they were not too happy with their policies. There were quite a few reporters present but it is the first time that i ever saw a car with the newspaper design all over it. Must have been quite a job to paint the car, or is this done in another way?
HLEMMUR--- A BIT OF HISTORY
Favorite thing: Hlemmur is the area where one of the city's bus stations is located and while waiting for my bus i came across another informative historical board that one can find all over the old town.
1910 the area got its name after a small bridge was built over a small river which is now hidden under the ground. The little bridge was nick-named Hellmur which means pot-lid and the name stuck until now.
1912 one of three water wells in the city was installed in the Hellmur area.
1920 Crowds gather to witness Haleys Comet hitting the earth but they were wrong of course.
1931 Hellmur became the final stop for route 1 in the city and the square was named .
1971 Hellmur became the main bus station
For more info and historical photos please expand the above photo.
AUSTURVOLLUR, A LITTLE HISTORY
Favorite thing: Another amazing information board informed us of the history of the square.
AUSTURVOLLUR means east field and in the olden days this area was the prime grassland in Reykjavik and stretched all over what is nowadays the old town, covering an area from Adalstraeti to Laekjagarta and from Hafnarstraeti to lake Tjornin. The rock to construct Reykjavik Cathedral was stored here while it was built from 1790 to 1796. In 1800 the town magistrate banned turf cutting from the field as it was in a very bad state, but in 1806 he claimed that the once beautiful field was just a peat bog and no use for building as it was marshy and uneven. Reykjavik expanded towards the field and in the 19th century it was used as a campsite for visiting farmers and villagers. In 1874 the town council of Coprenhagen gave a self portrait statue of sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen to the people of Reyjavik and was placed in the middle of the field, and it was fenced off, returfed and paths were made. The statue was Reykjavik's first of many public sculptures.
A LITTLE ROUND KIOSK
Favorite thing: At Laekjagarta Square there is a small round kiosk with a business called Center Tower which offers a free booking service should you require accommodation or tours. When i visited the girl who was working there was only to pleased to provide me with helpful answers to my questions.
KRUZENSHTERN, WORLD'S 2nd BIGGEST TALL SHIP
Favorite thing: Unfortunately the Russian tall ship (Kruzenshtern) which is the second biggest in the world will not be there when you visit Iceland but it was docked for a few days in June 2015 to celebrate 75 years since the war. The ship was built in 1926 and is a four masted barque which was built in Bremerhaven and originally named Padua, but was turned over to Russia in 1946 as war reparation. Today it is largely used as a training ship, but when it was in port members of the public were allowed to visit the ship. I found the old ship magnificent and fascinating and had some good conversations with the young Russian sailors. Unfortunately when leaving the port it rammed two Icelandic coastguard ships causing some damage.
ARNARHOLSTRADIR --- THE HISTORY
Favorite thing: Another interesting board in Arnarholl informs us of the history of the area as well as a few older photos. . Apparently there was a farmstead on the knoll of the hill . In 1759 a jail was constructed on the field by the hill and the farmhouse was turned over to the jail and soon became rundown, eventually being demolished in 1828.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
Favorite thing: Beer was banned in Iceland from 1915 to 1st March 1989 but there are two major breweries now, Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson and Vífilfell and they even have a Beer Day wich is celebrated on March 1st each year. Beer is sold in Liquor stores although light beer (2.5%) is available at convenience shops. I never did actually come across a liquor store on my wanders through the capital so i cannot tell what they look like. It makes you wander why beer was banned while Icelanders could drink any type of spirits. Beer is certainly not cheap in Iceland, costing more or less 1,000 ISK for a 500 ml beer in the pub, although you can find it cheaper when there is a Happy Hour.
The strongest beer is a smoked imperial stout called LAVA which has an alcoholic volume of 9.4%.
NEIGHBOURHOOD OF THE GODS
Favorite thing: in Reykjavik you will find these informative boards throughout the city. Most of them recall the history of the surrounding area as well as old photographs, and are a wonderful idea for the many tourists who are wandering around the city center. The Neighbourhood of the Gods is an area in Reykjavik where the streets are named after gods in Icelandic mythology. Odinsgata (Odins Street) was the first street to be named in 1906 but soon others followed, and soon it was known ans the Heathen Neighbourhood. By the 1920's the houses in the area were in a rundown state and it was known for its poverty so some people considered it Blasphemy and an affront to the gods whose streets bore their names. However as the population changed the area is now a fashionable place to live.
1906 Odinsgata Odin, god of war
1912 Baldursgata Balder known for his death and afterlife
1919 Nonnugata Wife of Balder who died of a broken heart
1925 Hadurstigur Hodr, the blind god
Valastigur Vali, son of Balder who kills Hodr
1920 Lokastigur Loki, a deceitful god
- Historical Travel
BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE TOUR COMPANY--- SAVE 10%
Favorite thing: If you are browsing on the internet for tours to take you will often see "save 10% if you book online". Well I was on a tour the other day which I booked online and made the saving, and I decided to do a tour with the same company the next day so I asked the driver to call the office as I wanted a10% discount as I was booking directly. No problem , I got the discount.
The next day I was at the Old Harbor and decided to go whale watching and again asked for 10% discount, which was agreed to immediately.
The many agencies around Reykjavik obviously get commission when you book through them so find the tour operator and book directly with them and hopefully you will save some money!!!