Iceland, Day 2 – More Reykjavik

Walked around more of Reykjavik again today. Crossed a small lake, and into the Parliament area. Apparently there’s a town square where the locals held a “Kitchenware Revolution”: during 2008 after the economy sank, a bunch of people took their pots and pans and banged on them in the town square to protest the government.
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We strolled towards the waterfront again to check out the Opera House and ships docked in the harbor. And lo and behold, we found the hot dog stand! (This time I took a photo of the intersection for reference).
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The opera house is called Harpa. Apparently when it was being built, it caused a lot of controversy because it was really expensive and the economy was going through a slump. Now it’s highly regarded as a city treasure, and could be considered Reykjavik’s main concert hall. It’s a big building, and I’d recommend seeing it at night when all the lights turn on, it almost looks like a bunch of blinking pixels from a distance. There was a conference happening inside for ICES, some oceanography/undersea exploration committee, and for a while it felt like I wasn’t in a foreign country because everyone spoke American English.

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So this was an morbidly odd attraction: on the waterfront was a maritime exhibit celebrating all ships that sank off the coast of Iceland from 1870-present.
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We stopped by a place called Volcano House that serves as both a cafe and a museum about volcanoes. They have a small (free) hands-on exhibit showcasing different rocks from recent eruptions, and an hour-long documentary about eruptions from 1973 and 2010 (not free).
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We spent a bit of time in the cafe, as it also doubled as a tour booking center, and rescheduled our Northern Lights tour, and booked an additional day tour to see the Golden Circle. I’m actually getting a bit nervous about how much we’re pre-spending already, as the cost of these tours is actually quite expensive. We are considering renting a car this weekend and going off on our own to see various sights, but since gas is expensive and I can’t drive manual, I’m wondering which would be more economical. =/ We’d still like to see glaciers, waterfalls, and take some time to jump into a thermal pool, eat whales & puffins, and get our toes nibbled at by parasitic fish.

Anyway, to round up the night, we ate at a restaurant called Icelandic Fish & Chips, which likes to emphasize their organicness. The fish texture was quite good, and the potatoes were nice, but overall the whole plate was bland–but for a reason! They happen to sell special sauces on the side for your fish & chips. I chose coriander & lime, and Mark picked truffle & tarragon. I ended up adding salt to my plate. But it certainly tasted fresh! And to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure what a “organic” fish should taste like…
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And here’s a mural that reminded Mark of the Ridiculous Fishing iOS game:
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