Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reykjavik by Day

Today was a pretty low-key day as we didn't have any tours scheduled. Gilles slept in again and I went and read my book - "Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales" at Kaffitar while enjoying another cappucino croissant and a latte. Interesting fact - kaffitar translates directly to caffeine, and if you break down the word a bit kaffi means coffee. See? I have learned something.

I came back to the apartment at lunch time and Gilles and I went out to eat - as far as across the road at a nice little bistro. The food was acceptable, but nothing to remark over.

We then went to the National Gallery of Iceland - the main art gallery in the city, although it is one of several. The current exhibitions were Treasures and Memento Mori. Both Gilles and I preferred 'Treasures' it included a number of works from the 1850s - late 2000's, focusing on both landscapes and portraits. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed but some of the paintings were absolutely spectacular. Memento Mori focused on mushrooms and insects, and was... interesting.

After that we continued to the National Museum of Iceland. There were two floor, each absolutely packed with relics, beginning from when Iceland was first populated all the way to the modern day. (Seriously, there was  pregnancy test in the museum display!)

Here are some of my favorite photos:`

Swords, axe head, spear ends, and the metal centre of a wooden shield.

Roman-style crucifix, predating those used currently with the crown of thorns.

Drinking horns, as well as the original 'clothespins' - used to pin the cloaks of men over one shoulder.

The helmet and chainmail together weigh upwards of 15kg.

Drinking horn, carved by a South Icelandic farmer in 1598AD. 

I found this particular piece particularly odd. The Danish family in question found it appropriate to have themselves painted posing beside the crucifix. In addition, the family is separated male vs female, and the male side of the family each posed for their own face, where one person posed for all three females (they all have the same face).

Traditional Icelandic knit patterns on the mittens (recently knit)

Once used as a calendar in Iceland, the wheels include the year, the months of the year, the days of the year, and the christian holidays.

Replica of a 19th century home, including many of the articles that were included, up until about the 1950s.
Possibly some of the most antique items in the entire museum, an Atari (with Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. games), and a VCR.

Apparently the relics of the 20th century are laptops, collectible barbies, velcro shoes, alarm clocks, cell phones, McDonald`s toys (even though there is no McDonald`s in Iceland), and pregnancy tests... (yikes!)

Tomorrow is our last day in Reykjavik, before we fly out Thursday morning. We will go for a ride in a jet boat early tomorrow afternoon, after brunch. Tonight we filled out all of our tax-free forms, so tomorrow we will also be bringing them into the travel office for our tax rebate! (Yay for "free" money!)