Reykjavik Subhurbs, Revolving Restaurants and Sneaking into the University Library

Day 8. 22 June 2004

Tuesday. Another gorgeous dayof sunshine and 20°C temperatures. I breakfast leisurely, and head out shortly after 9 o’clock to catch #14 bus to árbæjarsafn—the open air museum at árbær. I get the bus easily but the journey across town is not without excitement. I realise too late my stop for the farm and end up going on a tour round a housing estate and a short wait at another bus station for hitching on the return bus.

The farm museum, when I get there are thirty or so houses on a 12½ hectare site—no way near the size and scale of the excellent Open Air Museum in Tallinn, but it is no less brilliant. With the exception of a few buildings all the houses have been moved from their original Reykjavik locations, and erected in the museum, and situated within one of five areas: the town square, village, harbour, countryside, and machine hall; and the names of each refer to the locations they came from.

Appropriately I enter through a house on Laugavegur 62 (the main street) and this doubles as the ticket office and shop. A couple of houses round the square are reserved for museum offices, and as a home for the town curator and flats for staff.

Crossing the square I enter into Suðurgata 7 and realise immediately what Adi meant when explaining how grandmother would have kept a room in Breiðaholt for best. A guide in traditional dress explains how the house was extended twice.

Another favourite are the original farm buildings of árbær—still in their original positions—they are simple and rustic, yet comfortable and cozy, although there is just the one bedroom for the whole family in single beds.

I spend the whole morning wandering the museum, eventually leaving to catch the bus back to ártún bus station, there to change to the #7 to Pelllan. Again this is not without some excitement. I catch the #7 in the wrong direction and end up going to the new housing estate on the edge of town.

Pellan is a restaurant on the top of some water tanks—and I do see some water tanks on this route, all be it different, and very much in use one’s. Presentlythe bus returns to ártún and from there on in the correct direction. I feel slightly reassured in my mistake that a young girl with a bike appears to have also made the same mistake.

When at last I do reach Pellan, good views are to be had all across Reykjavik, and as far as Snæfellsjókull from he viewing platform on top of the four cylinders. Inside the glass dome is a café, and above, a revolving restaurant. I have a lunch of smoke salmon followed by skyr tart in the café with a view of the city before heading down into town.

Part of my novel uses uses the bus station and son in aid of research I take the direct, if not quite so pleasant main road to the BSí terminus. From there I wander on into the University District admiring the architecture of the Nordic Housewith it’s library of Scandinavian literature and the fan-shaped Natural Science Building.

Crossing the campus, I pass the main University building and visit the striking red and white University and National Library. Here, amongst many old documents and learned books I make use of internet access to check my email amongst the cool interior, disposed to careful study.

Circumnavigating The Pond again, this time I enter the City Hall to see the huge—and I mean massive—3D model of Iceland.

After this I wind my way leisurely home via the old town and Laugavata to a meal of fish soup, and plans for tomorrow…

Up and out by 8 o’clock to go and bathe in the world famous Blue Lagoon before finishing off with an afternoon in Reykjavik.

Day Nine: Finally, the Blue Lagoon and the Kringlan shopping mall…