helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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Sunday in Reykjavik

Today was rather less successful than yesterday. The things on the itinerary were: AM - Get up late. Do whichever of National Gallery of Iceland, Einar Jónsson Museum & Hallgrímskirkja we didn't have time to do on Saturday & can be bothered with. PM - Get lunch. Take the bus to the Botanical Garden and Zoo. Find snack. Go to Laugardalslaug swimming pool. Stay there a while but not too late to get dinner (most restaurants shut by 9 pm). We foolishly thought that, having achieved everything on the Saturday itinerary already, we would have bonus spare time in which to do The Culture House today, thus avoiding a big rush tomorrow. Little did we know...

We were all suffering from staying up way too late last night, while Richard also has a cold. Alexa and Ludy managed to get up to have breakfast, but Richard and I didn't, and staggered out of bed sometime around noon. We actually left the hotel about 1.30 pm. Bah. By the time we'd had lunch (at Kaffi Hljomalind again, because it was sooo yummy yesterday), it was 2.45 pm. Double bah.

So we bought ourselves Reykjavik Tourist Cards (which include unlimited bus fare plus entrance to a number of attractions) and went over to the Family Park and Zoo. We already knew that the zoo is small and specialises in native species and farm animals. (There are no exotic animals as they would not be able to survive the winter.) However, we really hadn't considered how small and boring it'd be. The interesting animals consisted of 6 plump seals, 10 or so bunnies, a few salamanders, some ugly fish, a handful of unusual pigeons, and 1 Arctic fox. That was it. All the others were farm animals, plus some hreindyr that didn't look anything like reindeer to me. To make things even worse, there was no useful map of the zoo, so we spent about an hour longer than we needed to wandering around aimlessly trying to see if there was anything else to see. Triple bah.

Reykjavik Botanic Garden was much more interesting. Despite its lack of functioning website, it turned out to be both existent and free, and also open until the wonderful hour of 10 pm. (Too many other attractions in Iceland close at 6 even with these extended hours of daylight.) It even had a cafe that was open until 10, although I couldn't get anything to eat there. The guidebook claims that it contains 5000 species of plant, and I could believe that. Some areas were arranged in strict family order of the plants, so you could see clearly the similarities and differences between them, others were more natural & freeform. The labels were in Latin and Icelandic only, which was annoying, but at least we recognised a lot of the Latin names.

We didn't make it to the Laugardalslaug swimming pool, despite its promised Olympic size indoor pool, heated outdoor pool, seven jacuzzis, steam bath and a curling 86m water slide. The entire Laugardalur Valley leisure complex turned out to have no signposts whatsoever and we spent ages wandering around lost. By the time we actually found the pool, it was 8.20 pm, I was entirely out of spoons from all the walking, and with only one bus an hour due to it being Sunday, there was no way we could both swim and eat dinner. Eating took priority and we caught buses back into town, where we visited Á Næstu Grösum restaurant which had come highly recommended. I had a delicious cauliflower and nut soup followed by chickpea fritters rolled in many seeds and brown rice with tomato sauce and strange curry & salad.

Not sure what we're doing tomorrow. I really want to see the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, which currently features an exhibition by Viggo Mortensen - the actor! - entitled "life in the forest". However, I also really wanted to go to the Culture House and we all want to see its exhibition on Surtsey. Lexa suggested that we could go to the Sundhöllin Reykjavikur pool instead, which is much closer, but it doesn't sound anywhere near as good. And we have to do whatever we're doing and have lunch and get to the BSI bus terminal in time for the 13:30 bus to the airport. This all rather depends on getting up early, which I'm not convinced is going to happen. Quadruple bah.

The one thing that's rather impressed me today is that despite us all being tired and short of spoons, and all of us making the same stupid decision at different times (to keep wandering round somewhere we weren't enjoying instead of checking the time and moving on), we've managed not to have anything resembling an argument. Not even grumpiness directed at others. Just lots of reasonable communication, friendliness and consideration to each other even when exhausted. I've never attempted to go on holiday with all my partners at once before, and if this is how it's going to be I'll definitely do it again. Yay us.

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