Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Worldcon 2017 Trip Day 14: Last Full Day in Iceland

This was our final full day here in Iceland, and essentially the final day of the "vacation" part of the trip, as the remaining days are travel to get home, with two stopovers scheduled. Knowing our limitations, we scheduled nothing today, set no alarm, and stuck to Reykjavik.

Parliament Gardens

During our walks we found Parliament House, where the Althing, Iceland's legislature, meets. The back side of the building (which is not that large) has this nice little garden area. Like the other government buildings, it's all open to the public. I found this very refreshing.

Reykjavik's Pond

After breakfast this morning, we walked down past The Pond to visit the National Museum of Iceland. I found this interesting, and I'm glad we did it so we could learn more about the country, but there wasn't anything in particular that grabbed me enough to take a picture.

Reykjavik Harbor View

After the museum, we walked to the waterfront, where thanks to the lovely weather we had some nice views across the harbor, and undertook some shopping.

We were unable to find in any of the stores any rain jackets that were (a) our size, (b) our desired color and style, and (c) not Made in China. In fact, we only managed to get (a) and (b) to match once. There were way too many things with DESIGNED IN ICELAND in big type and "made in China" either hidden in small type or left off entirely, where you had to ask the staff, who would admit that despite the way the stores' signage suggested, the goods weren't really made in Iceland, or even within the EU economic zone. Annoying. It looks like we may have to go back up to Salem, Oregon, and have some coats custom-made from a place we know there.

We did, however, find a pair of work gloves that was not Chinese made and will come in handy moving wood when we get home. Nearly all heavy work gloves I can find in Fernley and environs are all Chinese.

Parliament House

Returning downtown, we sat in Austurvöllur across from the Althing.

Jón Sigurðsson

In this square is a statue of Jón Sigurðsson. Thanks to our visit to the History Museum, we now knew who he was and also why his picture is on the kr500 bill. His birthday is celebrated as Icelandic Independence Day, commemorating the foundation of The Republic of Iceland on 17 June 1944 as a deliberate tribute to Sigurðsson.

Oddly, according to the Wikipedia article about Sigurðsson, there is an additional casting of this sculpture in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I'm not sure why.

Spot the Bear

The Tourist Information Center in the City Hall was open (every day until 2000). It includes this large model of the city of Reykjavik. Can you spot Lisa standing on the site of the City Hall and Kuma Bear sitting where the Liefur Ericsson Monument is?

We walked back to the hotel and had a "picnic lunch" in the room, eating up the last of our supplies purchased over the past few days. I was also a Very Bad Diabetic. Just across the street outside our hotel window there has been a Waffle Wagon every day. Today I broke down, went over there, and bought a chocolate-and-cream covered waffle, which I enjoyed over a coffee back in the room. (The hotel won't let you eat outside food in their common room.) It was excellent. I'm rather glad I won't get another chance to have another one now. Mind you, with over 33,000 steps walked in the past two days, I'd like to think I've earned a few indulgences.

Iceland's Oldest Street

For dinner, we walked back downtown to Iceland's Oldest Street, Aðalstræti. At the corner of Vesturgata, at #2 where the city's center point is located, is Restaurant Reykjavík, where we had made reservations. Unlike last night's Culture Day madness, we really didn't need the reservations, but making them assured us a nice window seat.

Restaurant Reykjavik

We splurged on the large buffet, including a wide selection of seafood as well as beef and lamb. It was good enough as far as it went, and the cheesecake on the dessert menu was nice, but we found ourselves appreciating the lunch buffet at Sjavárbarinn from two days ago a bit more. We'd go back to Sjavárbarinn if we return here. While I'm glad we experienced Restaurant Reykjavik's advertised meal, we didn't consider is sufficiently good value to repeat the experience.

After that big dinner, and especially the desserts, we took one last long walk around The Pond, and then up the hill to our hotel. We took a different route this time, which took us by the British Embassy (housed in the same building as the German Embassy), then past a cafe located in what a streetside plaque said was once called "Red Square" because the coffee-house was a center of Communist organization in past days. For what I expect is the final time, we climbed up to the top of the hill and returned to the hotel.

It has been an interesting four days here. We've booked our reservation for the prepaid return bus transfer to Keflavik Airport tomorrow at Noon, which will get us there a little earlier than strictly necessary, but we want extra time. Our return ticket is KEF-MSP on IcelandAir Saga class, then MSP-SEA on Alaska Airlines first class, all using Alaska Airlines miles. The first leg leaves KEF at 16:45. I checked with IcelandAir, and there's a direct KEF-SEA flight at 17:45 that has plenty of room in Saga class. However, over the phone, IcelandAir won't change the ticket because it was issued by Alaska. The Alaska agent with whom I spoke said they can't change the ticket either, despite the availability, due to the limitations on how many IcelandAir seats Alaska can sell. They both said that my only hope is to show up at the airport and see if the folks at check-in can see some sense and book us directly to Seattle, saving a great deal of hassle and transfer at MSP. Fingers crossed that is works.

There's a pretty good chance that I won't be online here again until we get to Seattle on Monday night, after a very long day in the air no matter how you slice it. Knowing that we could only get Saga class one direction, we deliberately scheduled it for the return trip. At this point in the trip, I really hope I am able to get some sleep on this portion of the trip, albeit not so much sleep that I'm ruined for returning to Pacific Time.

So long, Iceland. It's been fun. I don't know if I'll ever get to come here again, but I'm glad we came. I think I can see now why certain persons were trying to goad some of us into bidding to hold a NASFiC here.
Tags: #2, iceland, lisa, restaurants, reykjavik, travel

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