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If adventure sports put you off, think again. Eskimos offers such a wide range of activities, it's hard to maintain that somber attitude. There's dog sledding, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding, snow safaris et al to enthrall you and test your bravado quotient. At the same time, appreciate nature's bounty in the form of fjords, glaciers, lava formations, geysers, waterfalls, lagoons and what have you. Be sure to get hold of the right gear and guide.
An immensely flattering imitation that traces the rugged mountainous features of Iceland's topography, the Hallgrímskirkja is a stunning structure in the heart of Reykjavik. Designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson, the church was completed over a prolonged span of 41 years. It stands today as a symbol of splendid modernism and Iceland's natural beauty. The Hallgrímskirkja features a dramatic gray facade with craggy edges that swoop upward to meet the detailed steeple. The spire towers at a height of 74.5 meters (244 feet) and is visible from far-flung corners of the city. Compared to the church's imposing facade, the interior is less pronounced, though it notably houses a 5275-pipe organ that was erected in 1992.
Beautiful and traditional Icelandic ceramic dominates the space in this gallery. The owner and proprietor Lana Matusa, was born in Serbia but now resides in Reykjavik. The troll tales are an inspiring factor in Lana's work. Icelandic legends narrate stories of sleeper-guards and elves living in the lava area. Hence the studio houses a collection of lava artifacts made of genuine material gathered from the island itself! So anyone interested in trolls and elves can make a beeline to this ceramic studio.
When Icelanders stopped whale-hunting several years ago, a new industry and tourist attraction emerged, whale watching. Húni II is a 130-ton oak vessel, built in 1963 as a fishing boat, and is well suited for the present purposes. The guide is English-speaking. There is probably no better way for children to see the largest animals on earth, than to see them in their natural surroundings. The ship follows a regular schedule, leaving in the morning, but afternoon trips can be arranged for larger groups. Sea angling trips are also possible for groups. Húni's scheduled departure is at 10a and the duration of the trip is 3-4 hours.
Dómkirkjan is located in the centre of Reykjavík, next to Alþingishúsið (house of Parliament) and Hótel Borg. It is thought that a church had been in this place since the beginning of Christianity in Iceland. The present church is made of stone, and was built between 1788 and 1796. Dómkirkjan has played a part in Icelandic latter-day history. Iceland's national anthem was first played there in 1874, and Iceland's sovereignty was celebrated in the church in 1918, as well as its independence in 1944. Since Alþingi was re-established in 1845, its sessions have started with a mass in the church every year. Dómkirkjan has many old and distinguished objects and pieces of art. Its baptismal font, for instance, was made and given to the church by the famous Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1839.
Hitt Húsið is a cultural center located in Reykjavík. It has been established to promote cultural youth activities and hosts the Unglist, a festival where young artists celebrate their youth and their art. The center is a hub for variety of genres of art that range from music, design, photography, dance, fashion, and films. Call for additional information.
A scenic repository that pays tribute to Iceland's seafaring culture, the Reykjavik Maritime Museum is located along the city's harborfront. The museum is built into a former fish freezing factory unit, a plant that was originally built on the Grandi landfill. It explores the time-honored legacy of Iceland's fishing past, alluding to the time when early settlers depended heavily on fishing for livelihood. Over the years, fishing practices burgeoned into a larger industry, thus accelerating Iceland's prosperous growth over the years. The maritime museum also hosts a stunning nautical relic that was acquired in 2008, the former Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn. Fastened to the pier adjacent to the museum, this grand vessel served a prime role in all three Cod Wars between 1950 and 1970. Iceland's first steel ship Magni, also stands at the pier in resolute magnificence.
A short distance from Reykjavík, Viðey is a charming island . The island's highest point is 32 meters (104.9 feet) above sea level. The island is thought to be around two million years old, a former volcano rising from the bottom of the sea. It rose above sea level only nine to ten thousand years ago. A day spent in Viðey is an ideal outing for the family. Besides walking the island, it is possible to hire a horse and see Viðey from horseback. The island is relatively well grown and rich in bird life. At least 30 species are known to lay eggs on the island. There are also beautiful, historic buildings on the island. Research has shown that people lived there as early as the tenth century and a church was built in the twelfth century. A monastery was established in 1225 and stood until 1539, when it was raided and everything from it stolen. The oldest stone building in Iceland is in Viðey and has preserved its original charm and grandeur. One of the oldest church buildings in Iceland, built in 1774, is also in Viðey.
Arbaer Museum gives you an opportunity to learn about the old Icelandic culture. Among the houses the Smith's House is the oldest, it was built in 1820. At Dillon's though you may be treated to delicious goodies, if you are tired and have explored the farm enough. Other dwellings on the museum site are ateliers, a printing press and a goldsmith's workshop. Furthermore, women and children dressed in the traditional Icelandic attire, (scarves and lacy petticoats included!) complete the picture. Now you may not look the part of a farm girl, but you have every right to buy yourself cookies at the old-fashioned sweet shop! Haymaking and Handicraft days are organized, so make hay while the sun shines!
Árbæjarsafn was founded in 1957. It is situated in Árbær, an old farm that used to be outside Reykjavik, but the city has grown and expanded so that this place is now within the city itself. When the museum was established, only farmhouses stood there but within the next years some old houses from Reykjavik's city center were moved up there and rebuilt. One of the museum's buildings is a church, built in 1842 and still used for religious ceremonies. As well as being an open-air museum, it also organizes exhibitions based on themes from the past. A case in point is an exhibition showing old cars and old garage tools. It is thought that the first settlers in Iceland built their houses in Reykjavik in 874. The museum is dedicated to Reykjavik's history from that day until the present day, showing artifacts representing the everyday life of Reykjavik's inhabitants over the period. For those wanting to get to know the history of Reykjavik, Árbæjarsafn is the best place to visit.
At Elliðavatn you will find a very nice walking path that will lead you around the lake. As you walk along you will pass people horse-riding, arctic flora and last but not least historic ruins. The ruins date back to the Viking age and are believed to have served as the first assembly building in Iceland. The walk around Elliðavatn will take about 3 hours.