Live From Iceland!

Monday, June 20 update

As we started to head out of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we saw a sign for an attraction, and a fair number of cars parked. It didn’t look like much from the road:

canyon distance

We stopped, and saw that this was Rauðfeldar Canyon. You can see the tiny crack in the middle of the picture above. After a 10 minute or so hike, it turns out this is more than a crack. Looking in:

 

cavern waterfall

And looking back out:

canyon inside

It’s open on top, and so the lighting is good. And it definitely has an otherworldly feel. Note that you have to carefully step across the river in order to get in.

Next stop was Ytri Tunga, otherwise known as seal beach. And we did see seals, though let’s talk about what you actually see. Here is about what it looks like; see those 2 seals in the middle?

ytri tunga seal wide

No? Maybe? Let’s zoom in on that skinny rock in the middle:

ytri tunga seal close

Cool, but very far away. I had to zoom in on the camera to make sure we were really seeing seals. Given that we had already seen seals that were a little bit closer, we didn’t stay for very long.

As we headed toward Reykjavik, we stopped in Borgarnes to see a couple of museums. First was the Borgarnes Museum in the library. The main exhibit is called “Children Throughout a Century”, which tells the story of childhood in Iceland through photographs.

children borgarnes curve lighter

But, some of the photographs double as doors, revealing an item behind the wall:

childrens open doors

The text is in Icelandic, but a guidebook you can borrow provides an English translation. You have the option of a few other languages as well.

In addition, after you walk through a dark hallway to symbolize the lack of electricity, you can see a cottage:

childrens cottage past dark hallway

And, if none of that interests you, you can check out the crazy mirrored room of birds:

childrens bird

(It’s not nearly as big as that picture makes it look; you’re seeing many copies of the same room!)

This museum was much more unique than many other folk / heritage museums we have been to. At just under $10 per adult and free for kids under 18, I think it’s a worthwhile family stop.

Half a block down the road is the  much more famous Settlement Center. Here there are two exhibits– one about the first settlers in Iceland, and one about a Saga. For each, you weave your way through a well-designed exhibit, paced by a digital audio guide. Here’s some scenes from the first one:

settlement boat better

(You can sit or stand on the boat, and it slowly rocks as you listen!)

settlement relief map

And from the second, the saga story:

settlement saga monster settlement saga wood people

There’s no way to fast forward the audio guide, so you’re there for half an hour at each exhibit. They are both very well done, but also very, very detailed. Are the kids bored when the guide starts talking about which person settled in which place, or what they named each of the rivers? Well, your options are limited.

The kids enjoyed the saga story more. This can be a great museum; just know what you are getting into. Admission is $20 for anyone 15 and older, and free otherwise. (Dare I say that for the price of one adult at the Settlement Center you can get the whole family into the Borgarnes Museum exhibit? That would be my choice, especially for younger kids.)


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Monday, June 20 update was last modified: July 12th, 2016 by Eric