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Reykjavik Part 1

Our initial impression of Reykjavik was less than favorable. We were coming in from Denmark where they had just experienced one of the biggest heat waves in history - temperatures in Copenhagen had been well into the 80's for almost a week. Reykjavik, by comparison, was barely above 40, windy and raining. We were trying to be optimistic but it still looked very much like a bad winter day back at home in Oregon. Our room in the Nordic hotel was very nice - WAY nicer than what we had in Copenhagen. Still it was hard to be enthusiastic..

Very high on my list of things to do in Iceland was a performance by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. I have this little hobby thing - attending concerts of major symphony orchestras in their home hall with their principal conductor. The opportunity to hear conductor laureate Vladimir Ashkenazy was just too good to pass up. In fact, I bought concert tickets before I had plane tickets! The ticket price is probably the best thing going in Iceland today. There's no other place in the world you'll get premium center seats to hear an orchestra of this caliber for a similar price. Here is the program from their website -

June 15th & 16th ´06
Háskólabíó, Thursday og Friday at 7.30 pm
Price in ISK: 2900 / 2500
Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
Soloist: Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir
Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson: New Work
Edvard Elgar: Concerto for Cello & Orchestra
Piotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 4

A bargain at any price. It was a spectacular concert. The theater venue was not on a par with the quality of the performance, but acoustically sound. I understand there is a new concert hall in the works. This world class symphony deserves a world class venue. This experience will go along side the Philadelphia Orchestra concert I heard in their last full season in the old Academy of Music hall.

Thus ended our first day in Iceland. Not bad. The next day we did a little shopping and sightseeing in the morning, picking up a few books and maps for our road trip. We were supposed to fly to Vestmannaeyjar that afternoon, but due to a little miscommunication between the airline and our travel agent, we missed the flight. We weren't too disappointed. It would have been an ugly day there, too, and things worked out much better later.

We really didn't do too much the rest of the day. Oh, yes, we did have a pass for a free day at a spa - sauna and steam baths, swimming pools, etc. Launa Rae enjoyed it. We found an Indian restaurant downtown for dinner, and settled in early for the evening. There was no way we could imagine how the trip would develop from this inauspicious beginning...

Just a few pictures -

On to the Road Trip - Day 1
Jump right to Reykjavik - The Return

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