sailing away (like vikings!)

I’ve been meaning to (and wanting to) post since I got here, but I’ve been out and about doing so much exploring… and when I get home at the end of the day, I pretty much just crash in bed. I wish I would have been posting all along as things were happening, but I’ll try to remember as much as I can at this point! I backdated entries about the past few days, even though I just wrote them... because I'm trying to keep straight in my head what I did which day (which is difficult already and that was only our first port!) Also, I have taken loads of really awesome pictures, which I will try to get up soon. Our wireless internet on the ship has been iffy recently, so I wanted to at least get these words up while I could and pictures will follow when I have more time and the network is up!

Today we decided to go back into the city to see some things we hadn’t caught the first time around. We started off at the Hallgrimskirkja Church, which is a really tall and architecturally interesting building. We paid a few dollars to take the elevator to the top (they call it an “ascent to heaven”) where you have an amazing view of Reykjavik from the bell tower… definitely worth it. After that, we went to this little contemporary museum called Asi, where they had an installation called “El Ruido del Dinero (The Sound of Money)”. It consisted entirely of mostly-empty rooms with speakers playing various sounds of industry and such, and was meant to portray the changes that the fishing industry has brought to Iceland, many times from the perspective of Spanish-speaking immigrants. We then headed into the center of town, where we stepped into a flea market which was really cool to see (because it wasn't so touristy). It was like most flea markets... a glorified yard sale, but for us it was a way to buy some souveniers for a lot less than in the quaint (but pricey) shops on the street.

While walking through one of the main squares in town, we saw a small group of people from Amnesty International doing some sort of demonstration. We walked over to investigate and it turns out they were inviting people to voluntarily sit with their ears, eyes, and mouth covered to experience what the prisioners of Guantanamo Bay go through every day in isolation. It was particularly interesting because the whole demonstration was about how the United States is holding these people under torturous conditions and something needs to be done about it... so I thought that if they knew we were American, they'd be put off by that. But instead, they were really informative and understanding that half our country did not vote for Bush! They were supportive, optimistic, and encouraged us to write directly to our representatives rather than signing their petition (more for Icelandic citizens). I guess the neatest thing to me was to see that they were working on issues so far from them, and won support through discussion and conversation (even with Americans).

Awhile after that we strolled through the Reykjavik art museum to see the three-dimensional map of Iceland, and then onward to the Museum of Photography which had a beautiful exhibit documenting a lot of the conflict in various parts of Africa (like South Africa, Mozambique, and Ethiopia). We ended our day in town with an Icelandic hot dog… hot dogs (often made of lamb) are very popular here, especially late at night when the bars let out.

So now we’re back on the ship, which has just pushed off from Iceland, heading toward Norway where we will arrive in a few days. I’m just now getting to see what the ship is like when everyone is living on it and when all of it’s snack bars, services, and bookstore are open… and tomorrow I’ll have my first day of classes. I’ve got quite a bit of work to do for my classes, so I best tend to that. The captain also notified us that we’re going to be crossing soon through an area currently occupied by a pod of whales, so I’m hoping that we’ll get a glimpse of them!

Goodbye Iceland… I hope I don’t get seasick.

view of reykjavik from the top of hallgrimskirkja church

leifur erikson, looking rather heroic (he settled iceland)

view of the church from down the way

icelandic hotdogs - yum!


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