Iceland: Day Two

You get lost. The bus takes you into what might be the suburbs of Reykjavik instead of the Saga Museum. You expect that the museum stop will be easy to notice and it’s not until you’re on some strange Reykjavik highway that you start to wonder if things have gone awry.

The bus driver is probably the only person in Iceland that doesn’t speak perfect, fluent English, and struggles trying to figure out where you’re going. He suggests a different bus. You suspect he’s just suggesting a you get off the bus so he doesn’t have to deal with you anymore.

You transfer, getting on a bus carrying mostly youths and teens, and head off into small residential streets. This is not the way to the museum… Idealistically, you get off the bus hoping to catch one going the other way. Maybe you can retread your steps and figure out where things went wrong?

The places where real people live are very similar almost anywhere. The sound of children playing carry from a schoolyard. A bell rings, calling them back into class. There’s a strip mall, lawns, and houses.

It’s cold and it’s raining and you might be near one of Iceland’s famous thermal pools, but it’s hard to tell because everything just looks like suburbia. In the distance, the sign for a taxi stand mocks you with its lack of taxicabs.

Besides, you bought a three day bus pass so you could save money, so it’s probably best to wait a bit longer.

This damned bus is never going to come.

The Saga Museum, once reached, turns out to be an audio tour of Iceland’s discovery and settlement, up through the ages to shortly after the Inquisition. Seventeen numbered exhibits, exquisitely crafted by Special Effects people, the eyes of the past stare out at you.


Then one of them breathes and you freak out.

Later, the clerk explains that the building is actually a giant water silo, collecting the 90 degree Celsius water that steams from the ground and is held here, used to heat the homes of everyone in Reykjavik. This small exhibit is the only museum attraction in the museum.

(It turns out there’s a classy revolving restaurant in the top of the building the museum is in (The Pearl or “Perlan” in Icelandic), but the woman refers to it as a cafeteria at the time, so you have no idea until someone tells you this a couple nights afterwards.)

You trudge back out into the cold and rain, looking for a bus to get back downtown.


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