Friday, 8 January 2016

Iceland 2.8: Cafés, Cathedrals and other Reykjavík delights

Harriet's group didn't leave to catch their flight until after lunch, so I had a free morning to wander around Reykjavík.  I was sorely tempted to go into the local photography shop, but restrained myself just in time.  As for the "tights, knickers and suspenders" shop, I simply crossed to the other side of the road.

It was clear that, in Reykjavík, it's possible to get every possible cuisine - unlike the rest of Iceland which is limited to local produce (lamb and fish) or the ubiquitous burger/pizza.  Unsurprising, I suppose, given that Keflavík has set itself up as a hub airport between western Europe and north America.

Having failed to get inside Hallgrímskirkja - Reykjavík's cathedral - on my previous visit, I was determined to rectify the situation.  Rather optimistically I took a tripod with me, completely failing to anticipate the sheer number of tourists which would be milling around.  As a result, all the pictures here are hand-held out of necessity - quite a good test for Fuji's image stabilisation.  The interior is painted white and is flooded with light coming in through lots of clear windows, but the Fuji coped admirably with the huge dynamic range.

Later on I discovered why Reykjavík's streets are so clean and tidy: a nice man with a street Hoover goes around and makes them spotless!

This hydrant appeared to have been attacked by an Icelandic "Banksy", but I also managed to capture another one in its natural habitat.

Reykjavík was positively glowing in the morning sunshine, given that many of the buildings are painted white.  There are three examples here: a church, a synagogue and our hotel.

Having said goodbye to Harriet's group we decided to go and grab some lunch - not at one of the emporia photographed earlier, but a very particular location where I'd taken a picture called "Waiting" on my previous trip.  The image had since been published on the cover of the RPS Visual Art magazine, so I had decided to give a copy to the proprietors on my next visit.  They were  truly appreciative of the gesture, and offered both Harriet and me anything we wanted from the menu.  Who says that there's no such thing as a free lunch?

By the way, we can thoroughly recommend the the Stofan Café, both for its atmosphere and the quality of its food.  It was voted "Reykjavík's best place to sit and read a book", and I'm not at all surprised.