Day 13 was our last full day in Iceland and we spent the morning lounging about, looking through pictures from the day before, and I went for a walk on the beach near our cottage.

Just like our 2006 visit to Iceland, our last full day had the best weather of the whole trip, so after lunch we finally decided that we didn’t need to spend our entire final day sitting around and we headed back into Reykjavik for a guided walking tour of the city.

There are bunches of guided city tours from which to choose but we opted for the “Free Classic Tour” with City Walk. Our tour was led by the very knowledgeable and entertaining owner of the business, Martin, who operates his tours on a tip basis only.

We met our large group at Austurvöllur, the park in front of the Alþingi (Parliament Building). This park is where Reykjavikians stage all of their political protests, including the Kitchenware Revolution (Búsáhaldabyltingin) of 2009 in which they banged on pots and pans with wooden spoons to protest the financial crisis and demanded the resignation of government officials.

Martin led us through the city, telling us about the history of the Iceland all the way back to the Vikings. He talked about the odd Icelandic cuisine (although he said that they mostly eat Dominos pizza), the financial crisis, and the strained relationship with Denmark. He showed us the oldest tree in Iceland, located in Fógetagarðinum, the beautiful concert hall, Harpa, and the statue of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first permanent settler of Iceland in 874.

The oldest tree in Iceland

The windows of Harpa Concert Hall

The windows of Harpa Concert Hall

Ingólfur Arnarson

Ingólfur Arnarson

At one point Martin gave us a little lesson in the Icelandic language. Check out the video below in which Martin demonstrates the pronunciation of all 17 of the Icelandic vowel sounds.

After our delightful tour, we strolled around Tjörnin, a very large pond in the middle of the city. Tjörnin is a birdwatchers paradise and the view of the city across the pond is stunning.

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

Female Mallard Duck

Female Mallard Duck

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

The view of the city across Tjörnin

The view of the city across Tjörnin (be sure to click on this one to see it BIG)

We also came upon a bunch of beautiful flowers on the shore of the pond that are surely very close cousins of our Rocky Mountain Columbines.

After our stroll around Tjörnin, we headed to the waterfront to visit the beautiful sculpture, Sólfar (The Sun Voyager), by Jón Gunnar Árnason. According to the artist, this sculpture was designed as an ode to the sun symbolizing light and hope.

We then headed back to our cottage by the sea. I later returned to our beach for one last Icelandic sunset.

Don’t forget to click on the images above to see larger versions. View more images from Day 13 HERE.

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