Tuesday was supposed to be a journo day, but I ended up with only one interview scheduled, and that at 8 pm. So I took it easy in the morning, walking along the harbor with a latte and taking as many pictures as my frozen fingers would allow. The wind picked up on Tuesday, and suddenly, my “It’s not that different from home,” refrain was silenced.
I showed up at the Viking Museum just as they were opening. Viking is the Icelandic word for seafaring (more or less) so it wasn’t actually about the Vikings. There was a small display about the ships that were used by the settlers and Vikings, and the rest of the museum was about Iceland’s dependence on fishing. I was really only interested in the settlement part, but entrance was free with my Welcome Pass, so it wasn’t a loss.
I picked up my Blue Lagoon voucher on the way to the National Museum, which was open this time. And I pretty much spent the rest of the day there. After a couple hours in the Settlement exhibit, I stopped for lunch in the café, bought some toys in the gift shop for the girls, and then spent at least another hour exploring the rest of the museum.
Walking back to the hostel, the wind nearly knocked me off my feet, and I swore to buy the next pair of woolen Icelandic gloves I saw. But first I saw the Reykjavík Art Museum. It was half an hour until closing, but the wind was so cold and my Welcome Pass was expiring, so I went in. I couldn’t find the pass, so the lady at the counter, noting how little time was left anyway, let me in without it. She advised me to start at the top floor because it was more interesting, and boy was she right.
I think I might have to make a separate post about the artist Rúrí and her lifelong fascination with water. The rest of the small museum was also quite good; there was a large exhibit dedicated to the exploration of the Icelandic physique (not as sexy as it sounds, but quite intriguing and effective in raising a lot of ethical questions about science); and quite a lot of space devoted to an anonymous painter whose primitive style I quite liked. I thanked the woman at the front desk, and commented on how much I appreciated the exhibits. Although the museum was closing, she talked with me for several minutes, ensuring that I hadn’t missed key elements of Rúrí’s work and explaining a sculpture that had perplexed me. The tiny museum was so friendly and engaging, with lots of multimedia work seamlessly integrated with more traditional forms; the half hour there was really a highlight of the trip.
Later, I met members of the band Beneath at Reykjavík’s only rock bar, Dillon. The music was playing so loud the bartender let us use the upstairs second bar, which was closed, for the interview. Once again, I was impressed by how down-to-earth and frank the musicians in this city are. I really feel like I’m learning from each one that I’ve met; they have such good insights about whatever I bring up.
I had meant to try out one of Reykjavík’s many Thai restaurants, but by the time I left Dillon, they were all closed. So once again, I ended up back at KEX, this time with a plaice fillet covered in butter and almonds, while the quartet Ragnheiður Gröndal played jazz the way I like it – in the background while I’m eating a nice dinner.
Yeah, Tuesday was a good day.