So last night el suckoed. I decided to try a night without my zzzz quils. I tossed and turned and turned and tossed half the night. I got up at 1:30am and snapped this picture. This is smack dab in between what is supposed to be “sundown” at about 11:30pm and “sunrise” at about 3:30am. As you can see, there is no such thing as darkness this time of year. It’s weird. Like really weird. Thank Odin I brought my sleep mask, because there are no curtains in my room! Took my zzzz quils, and dozed off somewhere after 2:30am.
Didn’t wake up until 10am, and that’s because the kitty, Mani (pronounced M-ow-ni) started scratching at the door saying, “Hey, housesitter lady, you better get my food ready or I’m leaving you a craptastic review!”. Glad he woke me up, because I had adventures to attend to!! That is, if the weather was cooperative…Let me tell you something I’ve learned about Iceland weather in the past 4 days. What’s the forecast? ALL the weathers. You pick it, I’ve had it (except warm!). There’s a saying that Iceland is the place where the gods create the weather before they send it out all over the world. I’m sold on that belief system, because it’s the only thing that makes sense! I was beginning to think that I would only get warmish (c’mon, this is ICEland and I know “warm” isn’t really a thing!) sunny weather when unicorns danced through stars and rainbows (that’s the equivalent of “when pigs fly” in Iceland, at least in my mind). Well, well, well….what do we have here??
Yep! The day was GORGEOUS!!! Zero wind, blue skies, sunny, and warmish (low/mid 50’s)!! Ate my pb & j sandwich, layered up, packed my stuff in my daypack, and headed out to meet the free shuttle to the Perlan Museum. The free shuttle says it meets at Bus Stop 5 at the Harpa Center. I was standing at the bus stop. Thank Thor I turned around and saw the shuttle! If you’re coming here, the meeting spot isn’t at the actual bus stop. If you’re facing Harpa, it’s to the right, where the water starts. Quick ride to the museum. I was really looking forward to this, because I plan to create a brand new Earth Science class online in the fall- and the goal is to take full advantage of all of the major Earth Sciencey things Iceland has to offer, like volcanoes and glaciers and geysers and such! The Perlan exhibit called Wonders of Iceland had all of those things in one spot, so I was really excited….and man, it did NOT disappoint!
There were basically four parts to the museum:
–An exhibit on volcanoes and the tectonic timeline of Iceland
–Some animals of Iceland, including a recreated cliff where seabirds nest and a virtual aquarium
–An exhibit on glaciers, including a man made ice cave
–An observation deck
I started off in the volcano section. Oh my gosh!! It was SO. WELL. DONE!!! So much information, great images, and even a really cool movie that I recorded for class! I took pictures of literally every single piece of information there was- it was that good. Basically, the entire exhibit is on my camera! 😉 Seriously, it was the first time I got really excited about this new class, and I am so ready to dig in and teach this stuff. It’s fascinating!!! In an effort to not overwhelm you with the inner workings of plate tectonics, here I present just a few of the pictures I took of the general exhibition area.
The timeline kind of flowed into the animal section. There was an artic fox- the only indigenous land mammal of Iceland. There was a fossilized walrus skull. Walruses used to live in Iceland, but were hunted to extinction here by 930!! Crazy, isn’t it? And apparently a lot of places in Iceland are named for walrus, because the animal was so important. Practically every part of it was used. I guess not important enough to not hunt to extinction, though. :/ There was talk of the cod fishery, which we discuss in my Marine Zoology: Vertebrates class. Yet another species almost hunted to extinction, but we had sense enough to
stop it slow it down. Then there was a huge replica of the Látrabjarg bird cliff, which is the largest sea bird cliff in Europe. Did you know that over 10 MILLION puffins come to Iceland every summer?! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get to see some next week. The exhibit had these cool viewers that you could look through, zoom in on a bird, and it would show a realistic scene and give you information. So fun and innovative! The last section was a virtual aquarium, where you could sit on a bench and watch a movie of underwater life in Iceland. I had fun naming the phylums and classes in my head. 😛 #sciencegeek
I seriously can not tell you how impressed I was by these first two sections. But little did I know what was next… Guided tours of the ice cave were every half hour, although you could just go in by yourself if you wanted. They were handing out coats at the door. I really didn’t want to use one, because I was already looking like the little brother in A Christmas Story after his mom dresses him to go outside…in my SmartWool leggings underneath my water resistant outdoor pants and my two layers of thermal shirts underneath my puffy winter jacket. (Yes, this is what I was wearing for 50 degree sunny weather!!). The guide was nice enough, but I didn’t feel like she had a strong understanding of the glacial cave and its features. She was telling us about some animal that lives in the glacial moss that starts with a T and she can never remember the name but it’s one of the toughest animals on earth. Of course, I pipe up with “TARDIGRADE!”, and she says, “Yes, that’s it!”. #sciencegeekhermione Anyway, it was COLD in that cave!! -10 C, which is 14 F!! But I was like a kid in a candy store, trying to learn as much as I could! When the tour was over (it was 12 minutes long- it’s not a huge cave), I went back through by myself and shot video explaining everything. I was in there for probably 20 plus minutes and didn’t even feel cold. Until I was done and realized my fingers had kinda gone numb. 🙂 It was a FANTASTIC experience, and almost has me half persuaded to go into the real thing….there is a tour that leaves from Reykjavik…it’ll mean eating PB & J for the entire Scotland trip as well, though….hmmmmmm…. With no further ado, I present to you the pictures inside the ice cave!! It was really an amazing exhibit- I wish there had been more to explore!
I exited out into the warmth of the museum, thinking my glacier adventure was over. Not by a longshot! There was an entire exhibit all about glaciers!! It took a while for my camera to defog itself, but once it did, I took so many pictures and videos. I swear, the people in there must have thought I was crazy. The exhibits told all about the different types of glaciers, organisms found in the glaciers (using these cool microscopes- I videoed all of them for the class, about 8 in total!), seriously anything you ever wanted to know about glaciers. Who knew they were so cool (pun SO intended!!)?? And to top it off, this HUGE interactive screen exhibit. There were three different topics about glaciers, then 3-4 sub topics for each of those- things like geology, people, organisms, etc… You stood on the footprints for each sub topic, pointed to the wall, and information would come up! I was in science geek heaven, and kids would have a BLAST with this thing! Of course, I videoed a lot of it. Again, so innovative, creative, educational, and FUN!! At the end, there was a wall of little plastic disks, where you could write stuff and hang it up. 🙂
I had spent over 2.5 hours in this museum so far, and loved every second of it! Now it was time for the last part, the observation deck. And man, were the views amazing….
It was time to catch the shuttle back. But damn, it was SO nice out!! I google mapped it, and it was only 2 miles back to the house. Why not! I actually took off my puffy coat, stuffed it in my backpack, and headed off into the unknown parts of Reykjavik! There was a beautiful little hiking trail from the museum down to the main highway.
The hiking trail soon met with the main highway, and I was really concerned about there being a safe place to walk (I’m looking at YOU with a side eye, Malaysia!!!). No need for concern! This is Iceland!! There was a perfectly lovely walking/bike path literally the entire way from the hiking trail to the tourist center by my house!
I then took a quick detour. Someone on the Iceland Facebook Group told me that Dr. Pepper could be found at a store just a block or so from my house! I headed over there. No Dr. Pepper, but I did find this little guy! Oh! And remember the story of the two pillars from Day 2? Here are some. 🙂
Oh my Meili, I am in full travel mode, now! I admit, it’s been a weird past few days. The sleep thing, some anxiousness about the intensity and logistics of the next 2.5 months, and probably the gray skies (seasonal affective disorder…it’s a real thing, people) and 24 hour sunlight. But all that changed today! Adventurous solo traveler (that’s ME!) is back and ready to explore, discover, and learn! And speaking of adventurous….you’re going to fall over D. E. A. D. DEAD when you see where I’m going tomorrow!!!!