NATIONAL DAY -- BY THE PARLIAMENT
During the afternoon pop groups performed on stage , not very good in my opinion, but i found some Vikings who were sitting outside their tent and a couple more were fighting with their swords as onlookers took photographs. The Viking fighters were very realistic and i would not like to tangle with them.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY --- COLD AT CITY HALL
At city hall by the lake the huge topographical map of Iceland had been rolled away and a choir was performing on stage. Well i am more interested in rock music so i did not hang around for long, but on the way out i saw two girls on a raft in the middle of the artificial pond performing in mime. They seemed to be pretending to drink a glass of wine and repeated this process over and over again. three cheers for the girls as it must have been freezing where they were sitting.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY -- HARPA & A SPECIAL MAGICIAN
On National day at Harpa there was a full program of artists to entertain the locals and there was something for everyone. Take your choice from choirs, singing, breakdance, circus shows, concerts and magicians. I particularly went to see the husband of our very own member Regina 1965 who entertained the kids with his magic show. Even though i did not understand a word i joined in the laughter with the crowd as Jon pulled item after item from a black bag, gave wands to kids that fell apart as soon as they held them, rope tricks and more.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY -- ANARHOLL STAGE
From around 1 pm on National day there were various performances by adults and children on stage just at the bottom of Anarholl which attracted quite a crowd. It was quite entertaining even though i could not understand one word of the local language, as i could laugh at their antics. All the shows seemed to be comedies that entertained the crowd.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY -- FUN FOR THE KIDS
On National Day some of the streets were closed and inflatable castles etc were set up for the kids, as they are not to be forgotten on this special day. Other games were organised around Lake Tjornin where any kid was fee to join the fun. Adults lined up with their children at all these attractions, but some had to be paid for as i saw signs indicating the price or more likely the tokens required for each attraction.
NATIONAL DAY --- CANDY FOR THE CHILDREN
On National day there are many stalls that are set up in the old town and most of them sell candy and snacks that are mostly for the children. Candy floss, which does not seem to be so popular in my country seems to be a favorite of the children as well as lollipops, balloons, and small toys.
NATIONAL DAY -- PARADE TO JON SIGURDSSON'S GRAVE
Once the speeches and singing have finished in front of the parliament there is a procession from there to Sudagarta Cemetery where the city council lays a wreath on Jon Sigurdsson's grave. The Icelandic flag bearers lead the way, followed by the brass band and the city officials. Not too many people follow the parade nor attend the wreath laying at the cemetery so you will probably manage to get very close to take photographs. I managed to get within a few feet of Mayor Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson. He seemed to do his publicity stunt very well as he hugged young and old by the cemetery, always smiling.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY -- OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT
The day begins at 9.55 when all the bells in Reykjavik chime and there is a mass at the Domkirkjan Cathedral followed by speeches in front of the parliament. The choir will sing and then the President of Iceland will lay a wreath at the monument of Jon Sigurdsson in the square before the choir sings again. Fjallkona (the mountain woman) recites a poem The Prime Minister makes a speech before they head off to Sudagarta Cemetery, led by scouts and guides carrying flags, followed by a band.Related to:
NATIONAL DAY --- VINTAGE CARS
On National day, June 17th there is a vintage car parade and afterwards they are parked by Tjornin Lake if you like a closer view of them. I guess that there were at least 30 cars parade by me with their proud owners at the wheel. I believe that the parade normally begins at around 12 noon. The parade is organised by the Antique Automobile Club of Iceland.
NATIONAL DAY -- STRONGMAN COMPETITION
A strongman competition is held on National Day, 17th June each year in Vonarstraeti at the northern end of the lake. There were 7 competitors including the Icelandic champion who won easily after carrying 60 kilos in each hand for 50 meters and later holding a battery in front of him for longer than the other competitors. If you are interested in this type of competition you can easily attend this and have a great view as i doubt if there were more than 200 people watching.
JOIN IN THE FUN ON NATIONAL DAY JUNE 17TH
If you happen to be thinking of visiting Iceland try to make sure that you are in Reykjavik for the country's National Day when the locals and tourists flock to the old town to celebrate. I really enjoyed the occasion as people were genuinely having FUN, something difficult to explain but it was completely different to anything i have experienced in London. It was more of an old-fashioned type of fun when people were carrying the Icelandic flag, some dressed in traditional clothes from previous times and no matter what you liked there is something for everybody. I stood in front of the parliament before 10 am where several people gave a speech, although they were sometimes interrupted by protesters who wanted a change of leadership. the national flag was seen everywhere and after the ceremony at the parliament there was a parade to the cemetery to lay a wreath on Jon Sigurdsson's grave. Later children enjoyed themselves on various rides and other types of entertainment by Tjornin Lake and Laekjagarta. . There was an antique car show, a stage for comedians and other types of artists at Arnarholl, a stage for musicians by the parliament, opera singers in the city hall and all kinds of performances in Harpa that included jugglers, magicians, Viking fighting, and the strongman competition etc.Related to:
GROFARHUS MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
The Museum of Photography is located on the 4th floor of the Grofurhus Building and to be quite honest i would give this place a miss. It was very small and not too many photographs were on display. The same building houses the Public Library and the National Archives which may have been more interesting.
THE UNKNOWN BUREAUCRAT
One sculpture that i thought was quite amusing was The Monument to the Unknown Official which is In the courtyard behind Lækjargata 6. A 1994 sculpture by Magnus Tomasson depicts an office worker in a suit holding a briefcase with his head and shoulders covered by a slab of stone. It is meant to be satire and is probably one of the few monuments in the world which honors the tiresome, thankless job of the bureaucrat.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
EAT A SHEEP'S HEAD, A LOCAL DELICACY
In the Philippines we have tuna cheek that comes with the head which is supposed to be the best part of the fish and i have to agree as the flesh is excellent. In Iceland they have a sheep's head which is considered a special dish and one place to eat it is at the restaurant at the BSI bus station. Although i never tried it i did notice the restaurant that advertised this meal.
The restaurant is called Fljott Og Gott (FAST & GOOD) and is at the bus station and inside you will see a post with the distances to various cities throughout the world.. It is open from 7.20 am to 9.00 pm and the world famous sheephead is one of the most popular dishes and at around 2,000 kroner it seems to be a reasonable price. After trying the rotten shark and the Brennivin i decided against trying the sheep's head.
In Icelandic it is called Svid and consists of a sheep head cut in half, singed to remove the fur, then the brain is removed before boiling. It originates from the days when locals could not waste any food and there are some very strange thoughts about the head. The ears are removed as they are taboo because the eater may be considered a thief. if they are eaten. If the little bone under the tongue is not broken a child who cannot talk will remain that way forever. And the Icelanders think the same way as the Arabs as they consider the eye the best part of the head.
THE BEAR FROM BERLIN
Ner the German and British Embassies you will find rather nice sculpture of a bear with the inscription "BERLIN BEAR 2380 kms", which is a gift from Germany to signify the friendship between the two countries. 2380 kms is the distance between Reykjavik and Berlin.
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