Wednesday, May 21
Nowhere to go today, so we slept in. We walked around town and did some shopping. The population of Reykjavik is about 100,000 of the total number 300,000 in the country. In spite of the small numbers, the town has a great deal to offer, with quite a few restaurants and small boutiques, and several art galleries. Everything is close enough to access on foot.
Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Confernece Center that opened in May, 2011, is located on the waterfront, just a couple of blocks from our hotel. The building’s glass facade was designed to resemble the crystallized basalt columns commonly found in Iceland. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric glass panels of different colors. It is stunning both inside and out. The roof in the atrium is glass, some of the ceilings are glass and mirrors.
We did some shopping downtown, then rendezvoused with the rest of the group for cocktails at Islenski Barinn (Icelandic Bar). There we sampled some beers, and I decided to try some Icelandic treats: fermented shark, dried fish, and Brennivin. The fermented shark smelled bad and didn’t taste much better; the dried fish had very little flavor, but the Brennivin was a hit. It’s a shnapps and considered to be Iceland’s signature distilled beverage. It has an anisette flavor similar to grappa, sambucca and ouzo.
We next went to The Hereford Steikhuis, where I ate more Icelandic food: a puffin appetizer, an entree of whale meat, and skyr for desert. It was all very good. Back to the hotel at around midnight.