After a 2-day delay in leaving East Greenland due to a broken helicopter, I managed to arrive into Reykjavik in time to team up with Your Friend in Reykjavik for another of their city walking tours.
It turned out that Stefan (from the Mythical walk last year) was our Viking, and I was happily reunited with him at Ingolfstorg Square to began our exploration of the history of Reykjavik and Iceland in general.
Stefan has a great way of diving into historical stories, with loads of interesting information and anecdotes. For example, did you know that Iceland has the oldest running parliament in the world? Can you guess which year the first Alþingi (Icelandic parliament) was established (no, not the date on the current parliament building)?
Do you know what the people were upset about during the “Pots and Pans” Revolution” of 2009? The protests in front of the Alþingi were the largest ever held in Iceland.
Do you know who invaded Iceland during WWII? It’s probably not who you think!
Who is this dude? Why does he have a statue? And what is so special about the tree in the background?
I’m not going to tell you 😀 But I really encourage you to do the tour while you are in Reykjavik to find out!
Stefan also talked quite a bit about the architecture of Iceland, from the prolific use of the basalt column motif in iconic buildings such as the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrímskirkja
to why the exterior walls of many buildings are covered in corrugated iron.
He also touched on the mythology of Iceland as we re-visited the Elf Rock I was introduced to last year (though obviously you’d want to do the Icelandic Mythical Walk if this was your particular interest)
and strolled past several other points of significance in the downtown Reykjavik area – with Stefan keeping the stories and anecdotes coming all the while.
The Walk with a Viking tour from Your Friend in Reykjavik is a great way to kick off your trip to Iceland and learn a little about the history of this fascinating island and its capital city. It is also a great way to pick up tips on where to eat and hang out, and ask questions of a local about anything at all to do with Iceland and Icelandic culture.
Cost: 5,000ISK (~USD$40)
Time: ~2 hours