Journal of a July 2005 Cruise

Cruise 2005: Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway
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This page last updated: 20th May 2006.
7: Reykjavik

Reykjavik kitten named Cleo Laine After Nuuk we have two full days at sea. Sailing down the western shores of Greenland at a distance of about 35 miles, thick fog is encountered, especially in the area known as Danas Banke. We can see the snow capped peaks jutting out behind the fog. Due to large pack ice, the original plan to cruise through Prince Christian Sound is abandoned.

On the evening of the second day we attend another classical concert. This one is devoted to Mozart and Geoffrey Haydock reads out some intimate letters which the composer had sent to his friends.

We arrive off Reykjavik at 8am. The skyline is dominated by the Hallsgrímskirkja. I leave on a tender about 9.30. It drops us off by the docks and the ferry to Viđey Island. From there a shuttle bus [free, unlike the one at Dublin] takes us to Tryggvagata.

My first port of call is the Tourist Information Centre. I get some stamps and post all the cards from Greenland. I consider going on a whale-watching trip but decide to explore the city instead. I wander through a square which hosts an exhibition of photographs. Beyond is the cathedral or Dom Kirkje dating from 1847. Further on is the Tjörnin, a large lake where people are feeding the ducks.

Down a side-street I come across a little kitten playing outside a wool shop. The shop's owner is sitting in the sun with her daughter busily knitting. They tell me the cat's name is Cleo Laine.

I then walk up the steep street called Skólavörđustígur. In a little supermarket, a 2 litre bottle of diet-Pepsi [Christine has been pining for her favourite beverage — only Coke available on the ship] cost the equivalent of Ł3, triple the price back home. The street leads up to the Hallsgrímskirkja. This is the modern Lutheran church. Inside it is relatively plain but has a very impressive organ. A number of the ship's crew on shore leave are within saying quiet prayers.

Frakkastígur leads down past some charming brightly-painted wooden houses to the main shopping street, Laugavegur. It is busy and the traffic is constant. I notice a woman driving a large car and talking on her mobile phone. She is instantly pulled over by the police. Everything seems frightfully expensive. I discover the Red Cross Shop. Here I find a lovely hand-knitted sweater. It is more than a third of the price of new ones here, although similar in price to what I'd pay for a new sweater back home. I also buy a hand-knitted cardigan, but find later it is several sizes too big to fit Christine. It makes a present for someone else though and she loves the sweater.

At the corner with Skólavörđustígur, a group of dancers with bare mid-riffs are entertaining the crowd. Several onlookers are quite bemused by their performance.

I'm quite worn out by now so get the shuttle bus and tender back to the ship. In the evening we go to the theatre. The ships company do a presentation called Rave On. A lively tribute to the life of Buddy Holly it is a foot-tapping success.

Photographs Journal page 8