Saturday 25 October 2014--Gray morning. We breakfast at a cafÚ, then take a poke around Tj÷rnin (the pond) and Rßh˙s (city hall).
The relief map of Iceland in the basement is always worth a look, if only to think about parts of the country I'd like to visit.
The one thing I want to do here is visit the National Museum of Iceland, which Win and I didn't quite get to last year. The permanent exhibit, The Making of a Nation, traces Iceland's history from settlement to the present through a collection of some 2,000 objects. Memorable artifacts include a figurine believed to be Thor with his hammer (or Christ with a cross...or maybe a session musician with a Jew's harp), dated ca 1000; the intricately-carved Val■jˇfsstaur Door, from a church built around 1200; an ornate drinking horn carved in 1598; and a 19th-century bastofa. The literal meaning of "bastofa" is "day spa", and the word probably referred originally to saunas. Somehow it morphed into a farmer's humble turf-and-timber dwelling unit. There is a quiet background soundtrack playing in the museum's bastofa, which includes a bit of scratchy fiddle music. This is the only reference, however oblique, to Icelandic folk music I have ever encountered. It's a topic that interests me keenly--or would, if there were anything to be found on it--but apparently no one else.
A Viking-era grave draws my interest, as does a crudely carved wooden mask. Truth to tell, I'm not convinced it's a mask at all; it might just be some odd bit of rough carpentry. We humans do find it easy to see faces in things.
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Friday 25 October 2002--Set out to get my laundry done. There is a tiny laundrette in Plockton, not in the main street, but up in the residential street behind the hill. Having found it, I found further that tokens for the washers were only available from the craft shop in town. To town I went, only to find that the craft shop was closed until 2:00. So I had lunch at the Buttery, then went back to the shop. The clerk didn't know where the tokens were. She finally found them--ú2.75 each!--and back to the laundrette I went. Realized I had no detergent, so back to town, where I bought the cheapest soap available. Finally got the laundry done. I must say that dingy little laundrette may well have the best view of any in Scotland.
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After lunch in the museum's cafÚ, we go for a walk. I've had in mind to go all the way out to the end of Reykjavik's peninsula, but we get only about halfway before the stiff cold wind turns us back. We see some interesting neighborhoods, anyway. Ron is somewhat bemused, I think, by my interest in Eiistorg, a suburban mini-mall, and Raua Ljˇni (the Red Lion), the bog-standard sports bar in its ground floor. Sometimes it's the mundane things in an exotic place that pique one's interest. Like the western point, a beer in the Red Lion will have to wait for another visit, probably one when I'm on my own.
Back in town, we have a couple of pints at Microbar, then dinner and another couple in Nora Magasin before calling it a day.