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.
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).
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.

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.
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).
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…
And here’s a mural that reminded Mark of the Ridiculous Fishing iOS game:


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