A convenient stopover on the way to North America – but more than that. Although I stayed in Reykjavik, the symbolic start of the pilgrimage is at Thingveillir, home of the ancient Icelandic parliament, and one of the places where the rift between the Old and New Worlds is clearly visible, and growing wider every year.
The rift between the tectonic plates runs under the lake. I met a Dutch woman who had just been scuba diving and seen it for herself. But there are many rifts in the rocks above ground, which probably have some connection.
I walked from the Visitor Centre to the church. It was locked, so I said Morning Prayer in the churchyard.
My other trio was to the island of Videy, a short boat ride from Rekyjavik. From the thirteenth century to the Reformation, it was the site of one of Iceland’s oldest and largest monasteries, but most of the historical interest today is in the short-lived and almost totally demolished fishing village of the twentieth century. One of the houses was destroyed less than ten years after it was built. I spent four hours wandering round the island with Richard, who has been traveling the world for years.
I decided to visit the island on reading that Yoko Ono had designed a “peace tower” there in memory of John Lennon. Unfortunately this really needs to be seen on an autumn evening when this squat white prism is transformed into a tower of coloured light.
A pleasant evening meal of “Icelandic tapas”, four short courses served in glass jars at 500 kr (about £3) each. I had salmon, lamb, chips, and skyr (Icelandic yoghourt) with blueberries. Very tasty.
On my last morning, I stopped at Hallgrimskirkja on my way to the bus station. This is the only church in the Diocese in Europe I shall visit on the journey. It is a great landmark!
All except the tiny lockers at the bus station were in use, so I had to take everything to the geothermal beach, for a short swim in the sea and a long soak in the hot tub with about 20 other people.