Saturday, 3 January 2009

Hallgrímskirkja is ugly

I'm sorry, people of Reykjavik, but it is. You've made a valiant attempt to disguise the fact by a) making sure all tourist leaflet photos of it are taken from a great distance and b) covering half of it with scaffolding, but you haven't fooled me.

It's "Hallgrim's Church" in English - it dates from 1945, and it looks like a concrete space rocket.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll change the subject.

On New Year's Eve we met a lot of people. Some were Icelandic, some were British, one was Venezuelan, one was cross-eyed with booze but knew the "correct" way to kill a duck ("and that's what we should do to the bankers!"), and all were marvellous fun. Two who we got on with particularly well were a couple called Paul and Helgi, who live in London, but were over visiting Helgi's family for New Year. When they went home around 1am we told them it would be nice to see them again, maybe go out for a meal, and that we were in the penthouse for the rest of our stay (but of course!) and they agreed, but no numbers were exchanged so we didn't expect we'd see them again. So it was great to have them knock on the door this morning! Armed with cups of tea we sat around various maps, and they showed us all the best places to visit - and were adamant a hire car would work out cheaper than a tour bus.

The weather forecast isn't great so we're gonna stay in Reykjavik for a day or two yet. The flea market is open tomorrow, which should be fun, and in the evening we're having dinner and drinks with Paul and Helgi. Worryingly one of the places Helgi mentioned that he liked was one of the first restaurants we'd walked past, and immediately written off as far too expensive (~£35 for a fairly basic main course), so it'll be interesting to see where they've decided upon.

Interesting fact I looked up today: the population of Iceland is around 320,000. The population of Manchester (central, not greater) is slightly less than 460,000.

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