Iceland from a tourist’s point of view

Expect the chess update from Gawain in a few days but I’ll just say he finished on a score of 3.5/4! Our team ended up on 11 points, 7th on the table but with all to play for in the next weekend which is just before the Reykjavik Open.

Now that the chess is over, we have been very busy playing tourist. At first we tried to go to Videy, an island just off the coast of Reykjavik (5minutes on the boat) but we ended up at the ferry terminal only to find out it was closed (this happens often after October 1st and most things only reopen during the summer season). Videy at the moment has a “Peace Column” that Yoko Ono has donated in memory of John Lennon. It lights up every year from October 9th until the day of his death, December 8th.

We headed back into central Reykjavik and had two options either ride some Icelandic Horses or use the cheaper option of buying a 24hour Reykjavik Welcome Card (1900Kr), which I highly recommend as all the things we did were free with the card. We walked to the Settlement Exhibition, which was excavated when they were using the site to build a new hotel – it’s an interesting thing to go to and it doesn’t take long to walk through.

Next up, we decided to go to the National Museum of Iceland only to find that it is closed on Mondays (winter time). So we skipped that (will take note for next time) and headed over to the “Zoo”. Calling it a Zoo is really a stretch, it’s more like a farm and some of the conditions of the animals weren’t great – but with the weather being so cold outside it’s not easy to house them. Of course the ones that were outside are “natural” to this environment such as the sheep, seals and goats. The goats got a bit playful with each other after sitting around looking bored!

Our team “boss” Arnar, has been ever so kind to us (yesterday was his birthday! – Happy Birthday) and he then took us to a mountain local to his house. At first we were thinking of climbing Mt Esja (1000m) but settled on Mt Helgafell (350m). It was tough for me but I managed and of course the view was amazing. The scenery really takes your breath away.

Guess what we did after that – lie in the hot tub water at the pools  and, in this weather it was a well needed resting period. After a yummy bowl of noodle soup, we’re now about to go to bed as we have a long day tomorrow. We are heading to – and eating famous Lobster Soup and fingers crossed for some Northern Lights sighting!