Saturday, 25 May 2013

A Lovely Afternoon

I suppose at this point I should mention my accommodations in the Hotel Floki.


 I am quite taken with it.  Iceland is famous for being expensive and I felt very fortunate to find this hotel that has both dormitory style and single double and triple rooms (across as many as five different buildings.)  The history of the place is wanting to offer a room that the rest of us could afford and I heartily support that mission (especially as it has allowed me to come and visit a country that might be prohibitively expensive otherwise.)  It is not as close to town as many of the other hotels, but it is still an easy walk and in fact is also close tot he BSI bus station, so one could save money on the airport ticket if one wanted by walking from the station.  They put me in a building a little bit farther North from the main building, a very unassuming place, but also very clean and pleasant.

The rooms as you saw in my earlier post are tiny. I expected this and am actually very satisfied with mine. I believe it must be about 7' x 10' as the bed takes up an entire side of the room, but it comes complete with a nice desk, a very comfortable bed and a refrigerator (and after all the point is to be somewhere else and not sitting in the room all day.) It also has free wifi!

Our concierge is a very helpful gentleman from Belo Russia, who has put up with all my questions with patience and a great sense of humor.
For example, he recommended an eating place where the locals go - the BSI bus station.  So I had my Icelandic dinner today at the bus station - a lamb steak with brown sauce 9also known as gravy.)

The cafeteria was decked out like a bus-scape and included mileage markers and windows painted onto the big windows that looked like a motorcoaches'.

Those mountains in the background are painted on the windows. The little windows at the bottom are the actual exterior landscape.  There were regular people there including a man and his son each wearing a mask on his forehead.  The little boy was fascinated with the chess set there and chess sets seem to be found in many public locations. I also saw one in a sitting area at the National Museum (and in a coffee shop as I passed by.

There were many local specialties including sheep's head.  Everything came with potatoes and various carbs, but so far I have been vigilant. I had my lamb steak and also some yoghurt and lunch meat that I bought at the grocery store .

After lunch it was off hurriedly to the National Museum. I didn't really have much of an idea of where I was going, but it turned out to be farther down the same road and past a lovely park.

These guys were all over the place.

And these guys had a crest on their heads (but I didn't catch it on film.

You can find bronze statues all over the place and this park was no exception.

 Finally I made it to the museum. (I was worried I would get there at closing time and so I rushed myself a bit. ) I have to say, though that reading about Icelandic history and culture was quite inspiring.

I suppose I am guilty of being a bit blithe about Iceland and considering it just another rigid and severe Nordic culture. This however does not seem to be the case.  (At least this has not been my experience.) The people have been lovely and I do not find the buildings as star and social realist as I did the ones in Stockholm and Copenhagen.  I love the cleanness and the bright colors. Of course looking at the exterior of the museum doesn't take away from my earlier stereotype:

...but look how modern and exciting the front of the museum is.

 I found the artifacts beautiful and interesting. Iceland was settled relatively late for a European country (Karl der Grosse (Chralemagne) was already established in Germany at this time).

Christianization occurred through the Danes and tried to take away many of the stories of the old gods, but luckily it also helped get many of these stries written down.

What follows are some sundry images from various parts of the museum.

I wish I had gotten a clearer shot of this gorgeous Gothic piece. It is so beautifully carved and has similarities with the work of Lucas Cranach.

Here is an earlier Romanesque madonna from around 1200.

And still more picturesque artifacts.

The most exciting thing however was there was a special textile exhibit that had just opened that very day!!!!!!! That will be the subject of the next part of my blog.

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