Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cultural day in Reykjavik

My last day in Reykjavik was also the "Reykjavik Culture Night" or Menningarnott. Although it is referred to as "night" there are events all day all over the city. Museums are free (without charge) to enter, and even people in private homes open their doors to visitors and give the visitors coffee, pancakes and one family even cooked chilli-con-carne. A former mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson opened his house and served pancakes to visitors. The current mayor was standing outside.
I had my breakfast in the hostel and as the weather was damp, I decided to visit the National Museum, which is only a short walk from the hostel. Entrance was free due to the Cultural event, which is the Saturday on or after 18th August. The museum staff offered guided tours, and exhibits in the museum are from the 9th century to the late 20th century. Iceland was first occupied by Celtic monks and then Nordic voyagers, mostly from Norway and Denmark. There are examples of ships and personal effects from these early times, and our guide started our tour in this part of the museum. Later Norway and then Denmark ruled Iceland. One of the prized exhibits is a carved church door.As well as the permanent exhibition, there were temporary exhibitions, one was a collection of early photographs all taken in Iceland, which highlighted how Icelandic people lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Another was a collection of silverware.
After spending 4 hours I realised I needed to visit the library building which also had a "photographic" exhibition, but I arrived there & had a look around, there only appeared to be photos of American bikers.
I also received a message from Regina, and we met soon after, and made our way to the old town.
Here we saw more cultural events, two sisters singing lovely songs in English & Icelandic and some of their songs are on you-tube. Here is their recording "Desire" which is sung in English, but the scenery is definitely Icelandic
Almost at every corner there was something happening, magic shows, dancing and Viking battle re-enactments, and we saw another singer playing an acoustic guitar.  I think her name was Ingunn Huld, but I have not been able to find any reference to this name on the schedule as published on the internet, and if anyone can help me please let me know.
Later we visited a home, where the family had a "yard-sale" selling knicks-knacks, but they also offered us a coffee and a pancake.
All too soon it was time for me to leave Reykjavik, and I caught the 18.00 bus to Keflavik. It was still heavy drizzle, when I arrived at the Fit hostel in Keflavik. The hostel looked like it was in the "middle of nowhere" and I wondered how on earth I would be able to get to the airport. There was no receptionist the hostel, and so I had to use a telephone, and talked to a guy, who told me how to get a key, and to reach my room. I met Andrew, who was also leaving the hostel and catching the same 'plane home, and we arranged a taxi to get us there in the morning.
It was getting quite late, and I wanted something for my supper, and managed to find a small grocery store and I had some pasta and beer, back in the well equipped kitchen. The hostel also had free WI-Fi and a computers, which were being used by children.
As I needed to be up early the following morning, the taxi was leaving 05.30, I had an early night, and met Andrew, just after 5am.
The flight left Keflavik airport at about 7.30am and was busy, although the staff were not as entertaining as those who brought me to Iceland.
I was quick passing through passport control and managed to catch the 11.08 train for reading and was home by about 1,15pm.

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