I never knew when the day began. During my stay in Oslo, I had been enamoured by the fact that there was still light at ten pm. On my first night, I was chatting with a friend of mine at his backyard into the wee hours of the morning, and then I saw the first light. It was not even four am and I was so excited, for never ever had I seen such a short day.
But in Reykjavik, the light did not fade until about eleven pm, and then the sun rose by four am.
Mrs Edda served a great breakfast – freshly baked bread, muffins, cheese, deli and, of course, coffee.
And I went to the city centre, and Reykjavik was a new city, bathed in a bright sunlight.
Icelandic Phallological Museum
My first visit was to the Icelandic Phallological Museum.
The concept of a museum dedicated to the male sexual organ is interesting. It is home to almost 300 pieces of penises or penile parts of all sizes, preserved in liquids or just cured and set on walls. It also contains one complete penis of a man, but the owner hopes to have more soon.
I will have a separate post on the museum shortly.
The Golden Circle Tour
After a coffee, it was time to take the Golden Circle tour. Because of time constraints, I had opted for the half-day tour.
The Geysir/Strokkur Geysers
The first stop was the Geysir geothermal area. From afar, it looks like a rugged landscape with some grass and lots of barren earth, with the mountains in the distant.
As you get closer, you see small pockets with something similar to smoke coming out, as if there was some sort of barbequing going on below ground. Getting even closer to the pockets, which are mostly cordoned off, one sees the wonder where small holes are seething with boiling water. Geysir itself is inactive now, but the nearby Strokkur geyser is the rage, as it pumps out water metres high every 5-10 minutes, much to the glee of the visitors.
The Gullfoss Waterfall
The Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls) was the second stop. It is part of the Hvita river, takes a right turn, flows in a descending fashion through a number of ‘steps’ before taking a powerful plunge into a crevice more than 30 metres deep.
The awesome power of the falling water, and the mist hitting your face, while a blurry rainbow is visible is mesmerising and it reminded me of Canada’s Niagara Falls, though the latter is way more massive in its power and beauty. As one of my photos shows, a blurry rainbow only accentuates the magical moment.
The waterfall is connected to the Iceland’s history, popular culture and democracy. As the story goes, there had been repeated discussions, even attempts, to exploit the power of the fall to generate electricity but the daughter of one of the former owners kept opposing the project, even threatening to jump into it, to protect the heritage. The plan has been cancelled.
The third and the final leg of the tour was to the Thingvellir National Park system.
Thingvellir is another of those Icelandic sites with great geological, natural and political significance. It is home to the country’s largest natural lake, and to Almannagja rift, a canyon between two ever-shifting tectonic plates, the North America Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The plates run past each other along Iceland, but at Thingvellir, things get pretty dramatic as they break apart and the land in-between subsides.
But Thingvellir is also known for its political significance. Thingvellir means Parliament Plains, and it is here the country’s first parliament — and the world’s first continuing parliament – was formed in 930.
And then it was back to Reykjavik. It was still a bright day, and a long walk along the narrow streets full of locals and tourists made perfect sense.
The dinner was at Tapas Barin which, as the name suggests, is a tapas joint, and has made name for offering some of the best dishes. It was a crowded restaurant but we managed to get two seats. Food was excellent and service very friendly. Their desire to put customers enjoying their meals above those waiting to come in is one main reason I will write a separate, short review on Tapas Barin.