QC Blog: Iceland Part Two

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Iceland Part Two

This is me, in Boston, at the Boston Commons Swan Park.

I might have mentioned this, but we had to catch our flight to Iceland in Boston, so we travelled there and spent a few days in Princeton because my sister has a friend there. We stayed there for 2 days and nights, then went into Boston and did some sightseeing in the city for 2 days, then caught our flight to Iceland. We left on Saturday, flying to Boston, then traveled to Princeton. Along the way, the signs called out names of places we've read about in Robert Parker's Spenser novels. We saw people canoeing down the Charles River, and fall leaves slightly more vibrant than in Pittsburgh when we left. We spent a relaxing evening in front of a fireplace getting to know one another. On Sunday, Chrissie's friends drove us to Portsmouth, NH, where we shopped, and then we drove across the bridge to Kittery, Maine to sight see, where we had lunch and a New England clam chowder that was terrific, and then on to Ogunquit, Maine, before relaxing in front of the roaring fire again that evening to talk about life and enjoying an atmosphere that was quiet with no TV for a change. On Monday, we took a limo into Boston. I ended up with two suitcases and it was quite a feat to fit all 4 bags into the "limo." Our taxi driver was from Sudan and we had him talking about the state of this economy and what we should do to fix it. We enjoyed the numerous accents we heard on our trip and the variety of people that we met.

Once in Boston, we took a cab to the subway (scary place - that underground subway), and went into the city on a trolley tour. We went to Copley Square and saw Trinity Church, very beautiful, and walked into Boston Commons (the park) and saw swans and a guy playing a soulful sax, and then stopped for lunch/dinner at a place called Tealuxe, where we had sandwiches and a Pumpkin Spice Chai tea. (They seem to sell lots of tea in Boston). I was starting to declare my "picture for the day" that was my favorite at this point. Of all the photos that day the swans were my favorite.

The next day, we again hopped on the trolley right from our hotel. Chrissie was pretty tired because my snoring had kept her awake all night, and she hadn't been able to find her earplugs. Not a good start to our trip. Our trolley passed by Fenway Park, and then we traveled to Beacon Hill, where we walked into a small area called Lewisville where Theresa Heinz and John Kerry have a house. We walked the Freedom Trail and saw the Old Statehouse (where they were having a job convention and happened to have free samples of candy and pound cakes to hand out). We went to the Old South Meeting house, where they voted to protest the tax on Tea (of course women weren't allowed into that meeting). We ate at Boston Harbor, at a place called Joe's American Bar, where we had better clam chowder than in NH. My picture for today was at Boston Harbor of the boats. Near the end of our day, we walked through Little Italy (which I'd like to explore more) and found Paul Revere's house, (did you know he had 16 children?) before we took a taxi back to the hotel to get ready to fly to Iceland. Our flight left at about 9:30 (Iceland Air is very prompt in their departures), and we arrived in Iceland at 6:20 am their time (1:30 am our time).

After we arrived in Iceland, and made it through the passport checks, etc, our AAA tour guide, Barry met us at the airport. This is our first glimpse of Iceland from the bus. They drove us to the Hotel Plaza in Reykjavik, and told us we had about an 2 hours to freshen up, because our rooms were ready, and we'd meet at 10:00 am to take a 3 hour bus tour around the city. They try to go easy on you, because they know you're exhausted. We saw a huge Lutheran church with the Leif Ericcson statue in front of it. Then we went to the Saga Museum that has a Viking display, and to an artist's house where all these sculptures are in the yard. The most impressive thing we did was go to "The Pearl", a place that has a 360 degree view of Reykjavik. It was so breathtaking.

The mountains were topped with a tiny bit of snow, and the day was beautiful and sunny. They kept telling us this was unusual and the weather was great today, but we were too tired to appreciate that part. The village was like a Christmas globe and looked so charming and cozy. But there are no skyscrapers due regulations about earthquakes. After that, we had some time to sleep and then met for dinner with our group of 9 (10 if you include Barry) at the Restaurant Reykjavik. They served a white vegetable soup that was scrumptious. Then there was a buffet of fish, served the way Icelanders eat it - mostly cold. It's all cooked, of course, except for a few sushi dishes. They did have a few warm dishes for those of us who couldn't eat the fish cold. They also served whale, which I didn't eat, but heard from everyone who did it was terrible.

In this restaurant, they also had an Ice Bar, where people pay $15.00 to go in and sit in this room that is 6 degrees Centigrade (about 26 Farenheit), and sit on a block of ice in coats and have a drink. On this night they were filming a Bachelor type show where they were having their final date in this Ice Bar. After that we went back to the hotel to sleep so we'd be well rested for the next day.

More tomorrow.

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