ICELAND II

9/22/2021   

The very first thing that caught the eye of the construction critic, Justin Jost (whose traveling costs were financed by his career in the trades), was a huge, architecturally pleasing tank on a hill. Who else would find interest in a water tank, except maybe a plumber? The huge tank afforded a magnificent view of the colorful city perched up on that outcrop of blackish basalt. Justin surmised that the city building codes required that the roofs of residential housing be of primary colors because the town below him looked like sunlight rammed through a cracked prism. In a land with few trees left, after the Vikings repaired their boats and built shelters, flora supplies little color in the harsh climate. With pumps humming and informational plaques displayed, Mr. Jost learned that the considerable, concrete cylinder held hot water extracted from the ground and fed each structure by gravity for heat. With a constant supply, the million radiators below merely dumped its spent water into the ground. A clever bunch these Norwegian and Celtic descendants. From his viewpoint, Justin spotted a unique church off into the backdrop and headed that way. Churches are a society’s attempt to illustrate, to themselves and others, just how important their God is to them, even if it means killing the disbelievers. Very impressive structures that reach for the sky and take decades to build, these monuments rely on the generosity of its members and go to ruins after that gene pool dries up. Look around. Hallgrimskikja is one of many cathedrals that populate Reykjavik. Its modern style and immense steeple is more of a sculpture than a church. The chrome organ pipes inside makes it look like the smokestacks of a hundred Peterbilt tractors, but don’t say anything. This is a religion, and you may go missing. With a night stay and a casual clip around town, the major museums and works of art were viewed. It was time to go see nature and its handy work that lay just beyond Reykjavik.

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