Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keflavík and Reykjanes Peninsula

This past weekend I took an afternoon trip with friends to Keflavík and around the Reykjanes Peninsula (more commonly known as 'the area with the blue lagoon and the airport'.

We first stopped at Duushús, which could be considered one of the only 'cool' places in Keflavík, being the town that sprang up to service the US Army base that was in Iceland for decades (from about 1942-2006). Duuhús houses a multitude of things, count 'em: art gallery, restaurant, cafe, model ship museum, photo museum, theatre, army artifact gallery, and possibly other hidden surprises. And it's free to visit! I loved this model desk of the army base, here I am making a very important phone call on a 1990's phone. I'm not even sure if you should be sitting at their installations, but there's nothing saying you can't reenact some top-secret conversations about nuclear warheads, the cold war, and whale meat.

We saw an art exhibit of printers from Reykjavík, among them my Fulbrighter friend Nicole Pietrantoni had a few great prints on glass, which when light was projected upon them, would show their images as shadows on the walls.

And here is a recreation of the American foods that came to Iceland. It's all a little strange, as it's quite familiar for me to see these products, but really out of their natural context (i.e. in Iceland, where we don't even have a McDonalds, thank heavens, but thankfully we do have Honey Nut Cheerios).

Near Duuhús was a little cave-like thing attached to a coastal rock cliff. I wandered over to it and it turns out to be the home of a literal giant- one named Sigga who is definitely involved with Christmas celebrations. But the best part about the interior of the cave was this:

A million icicles; we must have discovered the cave at just the right time between freezes and thaws, and the light coming in was beautiful!

We drove on to see several lighthouses around the coast of the peninsula- I had been to the Blue Lagoon before and to Seltún's hot spring area, but never in the other direction on the coasts. It has been snowing a bit lately but the weather was quite beautiful for a drive.

The southmost coast of the peninsula has the most dramatic rock formations, and you can see the bird-filled island of Eldey in the distance from here. These cliffs are known for their bird colonies all swarming around- it's not yet crazy bird season but it will be soon! This will be a beautiful place to hike in the summer, and perhaps reenact a little Sound of Music. The hills will be alive...with the sounds of gannets.

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