Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The start of a new adventure

Today we said goodbye to our "Iceland" guests and said hello to our "Greenland" guests. In actual fact our new guest will be a bit of a hybrid because we are planning to spend a couple of days in Iceland before we head for west Greenland. So we  are in Iceland's capital of Reykjavik, a sophisticated, modern city. Yesterday we had fine weather nearby in the Westmann Islands, but today we woke to very strong winds and cold temperatures. Iceland can be cruel!

Did you know that Reykjavik is one of the northernmost capitals of any country in the world? Did you know that about half the population of Iceland (over 300,000 people) live in greater Reykjavik? The city is clean and bright with a bit of a bohemian feel. Restaurants and coffee-shops abound. Tourism is very big in Iceland these days (second only to the fishing industry in national earnings), and Reykjavik is the jumping-off place for most travellers in the country, whether they are travelling by air or by sea, like us!

An outstanding landmark in the city is Hallgrimskirkja, which is the largest church (Lutheran) in the country. Its design was commissioned in 1937 but it seems much more modern than this. The architect took as inspiration the basaltic columns you see in many parts of Iceland. In front of the church you see an imposing bronze of the famous Leifur Eriksson who sailed to Greenland and on to Vinland, modern day Newfoundland, where he founded a settlement now called L'Anse aux Meadows.

Of course once our guests boarded the ship, there were several "must-do" activities including check-in, blue jacket pickup, the safety drill and the Captains welcome reception. Those who have been on Fram before are very familiar with all this! It was fortuitous that as we had two bronze fishermen standing on the wharf and pointing to the boarding point for our ship!

Here are our blue jackets waiting patiently for new owners!

Our Captain welcomes all on board. The officers and staff are presented.

The light was reflecting beautifully from the windows of the brand new concert hall finished in around 2009. They are crazy about puffins in Iceland! We are too! As sailed out of Reykjavik harbour, the light and clouds over the nearby mountains were magnificent.