Monday, August 5, 2013

Horseback Riding at the Laxnes Horse Farm

Today was an easy, relaxing day. We started by going horseback riding at the Laxnes Horse Farm, outside of Reykjavik. It was a great experience. We were driven there in a large familly-style minivan, and were fitted with helmets, and then asked our riding experience. I said 'intermediate', and I'm glad I did. My horse had some spunk - he always wanted to be at the front of the line - to the extent that he often tried to start running ahead of the pack.

Most of the material available brags at how smooth the Icelandic horses run - of course I knew that it had to depend on the particular horse. Most of the time we spent "running" the horses we were trotting - and let me say I was glad I wore my sports bra! I did get the opportunity to canter for a little while though, and that was smooth as butter. I found it interesting that the majority of the horses on the farm that I saw were geldings, although I don't know if this is the rule and don't know whether this would be typical at home as well.

The majority of the ride took place on a dirt road, although we did cross a river twice and take a break on a grassy hill. While it was obvious that the horses knew the routes well, these horses had some spunk to them which was nice to see.

After we returned to the city we found lunch at Mezzo, a cute little cafe above a Chapters-esque bookshop. We did a bit of souvenir shopping there, and then took a walk in the general direction of 'the big church' (Hallgrímskirkja church). On the way, we found a gallery along the water that contained a large topographical model of Iceland.

We then visited a sculpture garden beside the church. Most of the sculptures had religious themes, although they were not the same as you would see in correlation to the Catholic church, or even a Lutheran church in Canada. (It is considered a Lutheran church here).

After visiting the sculpture garden, we were finally at the front of the church. It is guarded by a statue of Leif Erikkson, the first European to land on North American soil.

We were able to take an elevator up to the eighth floor, which is behind the clock. Although it isn't noticeable from the ground, each clock has an interesting photo behind it.

From there, we took a staircase up three levels, which took us behind the openings above the clock. The views were spectacular.

Tomorrow we are heading out onto one of the nearby glaciers for some hiking and ice-climbing. It will be a chilly day! Luckily I have a new jacket, new handknitted wool scarf and a beautiful headband and mitts set to keep me warm while I am up there!