The Pearl

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The first thing we did upon arrival (after a little nap) was walk across the street from the hotel and up the hill to the Pearl.

The Pearl (Perlan) is a remarkable building, built in 1988, unique in Iceland and probably in the whole world. On Oskjuhlid hill, atop the huge tanks in which natural hot water is stored for heating the city, a glass dome has been constructed: under the dome is a rotating restaurant serving fine cuisine.

The dome also houses a café, while around the outside is a viewing platform with panoramic 360 degree views of the city and its surroundings. Access to the viewing platform is free of charge.

Below the dome, between the hot-water tanks, is a spacious atrium where various exhibitions and other events are held. Inside the building is a small artificial geyser which spouts every few minutes. Interestingly, one of the tanks contains not hot water, but a museum: at the Saga Museum, waxwork figures bring Viking-age Iceland to life.

Oskjuhlid hill, on which the Pearl is located, is a pleasant wooded area with many footpaths, ideal for a relaxing walk. At the bottom of the hill lies Nautholsvik geothermal beach, a popular place on a sunny day.


There's that church as seen from Oskjuhlid Hill.


And there's a bit of Reykjavik.  Note the proximity of the hotel to the airport.


Greg is making a bee-line to the Pearl.  He's heard there's food inside.


There was food.  And this day there was also a CD/DVD bazaar.


Greg found what he was looking for.


Bill had the big crepe stuffed with ham and rice.  He pronounced it good.


The Pearl has a nice area for viewing Reykjavik.


We even saw sunbeams breaking through the clouds.  We took this as a good omen.  Yeah, right.


It was nippy out there on the Pearl's overlook.


Bill thought this would be an artsy picture.  But it wasn't really.


Just your ordinary curlique fire escape.


There's the hotel and the airport again.


And that church again.  It's actually the Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church.


More Reykjavik.


Cindy and Charlie enjoy the view.


Once back inside the nice warm Pearl, we decided to take a tour of the Saga Museum to learn a little Icelandic history.


Did you know that only two Icelandic words have been adopted for common use in English?  "Saga" and "jerky."  How about that.  This lovely young woman appears to be enjoying some delicious shark jerky.


The human figures in the museum have all been carefully created using latex molds of the artist's family and friends.


The scary thing is that a few of these latex figures have been rigged to make slight movements -- a blink of the eye, or in this case the guy with his hand to his face is ever so slightly breathing.  Bill was convinced it was an actor just holding a still pose.  But no -- as Tammy has figured out, he's just a dummy.


Charlie is about to get spooked.


The early Icelanders burned their witches.


I wonder which of the artist's relatives this is?  I wonder if she's forgiven him?


As we left the Saga Museum, through the gift shop of course, we spotted this Icelandic tourist viewing a video on how the latex figures were created.  It's a very interesting video.


Good thing, because this guy isn't going anywhere.  He's latex too.


This Japanese tourist kept cuddling up to him.  I explain if you can.


These guys guarded the outside of The Pearl.


Empty-headed, but ferocious.


On the walk back down the hill to the hotel we spotted this odd construction.  Turns out, it's what remains of an old WWII gun emplacement used to defend the airport from invasion.


Tammy wanted her picture beside this Icelandic Christmas tree.


And there's Tammy with Reykjavik and that church in the background.


Reykjavik is nestled between the sea and some truly majestic mountains.


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