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  • Day7

    Reykjavik: A beehive of activity

    November 29, 2019 in Iceland ⋅ ⛅ 30 °F

    For our last full day, we spent time seeing more of Reykjavik. We started with a stop at the Sun Voyager sculpture. The stainless steel piece is an ode to the Viking explorers who brought settlement to Iceland, as well as those who ventured on to Greenland and North America. The sculpture sits on the coastline, staring into the northwest, with the ocean lapping near the platform.

    Our next visit was Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Center. The exhibit is housed in a small building, dwarfed by the large ships and warehouses in the harbor. It is an intimate and small arrangement of information that is well organized and interesting. The first section covered myths, based on the siting of the lights, from different cultures. I think my favorite story was from Russia. According to Russian folklore, the lights are associated with a fire dragon that would visit villages and seduce women. The story recounts a time, when a village went to war, and all the men left for battle, except one, who was left behind to care for the women. When the village men returned, they found that all their wives were pregnant. They were ready to beat the man left behind, when he swore repeatedly that he’d done nothing; it must have been the fire dragon. Good one.

    The exhibit has a scientific area that explains how and why the lights occur, as well as an interactive display of the colors. The best part, though, was the last room. A small theater, with a wide screen, was set up similar to the Lave Center. Deb took a chair, while Kim and I went vertical on the bean bag mattresses. The 22 minute film loops video of the Northern lights. Many of the short videos were taken at locations we had visited this week: Thingvellir, Gullfoss, Kerid Crater, etc. With mellow, instrumental music playing in the background, I was entranced by the images. Had I stayed any longer, I would have been asleep. On our way out, we stopped in the gift shop for our complimentary hot beverage and look around. They provide a swivel chair and virtual reality goggles that display even more photos of the lights. We took turns “looking” at the lights and enjoying the amazing photography.

    We walked about half a mile to the Harpa Concert Hall. Relatively new, the hall was opened in 2013. Similar to Sydney, the building is right on the waterfront and boasts unique architecture. The exterior walls look like a beehive, with penta- and hexagonal shapes fitted together. The honeycombs turn different colors and, inside, light up the reflective ceiling. The interior is several stories high, with sweeping views of the bay. It’s an interesting building, and I was disappointed that we’d run out of time and wouldn’t be able to see a show here. I guess I’ll have to come back.
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