Some of the worst weather I have ever encountered on the ocean blew up suddenly yesterday afternoon as we reached the coast of Iceland. The 50 knots plus winds closed Reykjavik port with the result being that we travelled back and forth along the Icelandic coast throughout the night. The wind peaked from 1:30-3:30 am. When it hit us abeam we were almost thrown out of our bunks. Everything went everywhere in the cabin. Everyone looked tired and a bit sore this morning after the pounding. The weather did abate enough to let us dock this morning. After farewells to some new friends we caught a cab to the Hilton where Carol has an Executive membership. We have a lovely 8th floor suite overlooking Reykjavik and the harbour, plus all the free food and alcohol you could ever want in the Executive lounge. I could get used to this 🙂
After we checked in and had a rest we went back into town to explore and check out the local arts and crafts scene. We started at the Church of Hallgrimur, had a look at the amazing pipe organ inside the church
……. and then drifted down the cobbled streets of the main shopping area in the city.
Reykjavik is a cosmopolitan city which is home to 200,000 plus people. The population of Iceland is around 300,000. The city was founded in 870 AD. The shopping areas are home to the famed icelandic wool sweaters. It is also home to some amazing artists – I got into serious retail trouble in a wonderful co-op run by 7 Icelandic artists to showcase their work.
Tourism is booming in Iceland, increasing by 30% a year. Last year they had 1.3 million visitors, this year they expect 1.8 million. Our shopping trip and walk about was rounded out with a visit to Baejarins Betzu pylsur – roughly translated it means the best hotdog in town. It is a little 5 X 5 foot shack on a street corner where people line up to buy their hotdog. It was selected as the best hotdog stand in Europe in 2006. We stood in line for 20 mins in the rain for a hotdog with the works. They did not disappoint.
We plan an early night tonight as we have a day long Golden Circle trip tomorrow. Many thanks to Carol for the photos today 🙂