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Even for someone of my EXTENSIVE CHURCH EXPERIENCE it is impossible not to be impressed by the Hallgrímskirkja. Angular and incredibly ominous against a background of grey clouds, it stands alone atop the highest point of the city and visible from all across it. It's especially impressive when walking up the steep approach from downtown, with the trendy shop-filled sides of the road that runs up from the harbour to the doorstep framing its oh-so-symmetrical bulk. A huge iron statue of Leif Eriksson stands in front of it, gifted by the USA (who loves to claim him) on the millenium anniversary of the founding of The Thing. Although it seems like it must have existed since the dawn of time and the city simply grew up around its vast stature, Iceland's 6th largest building was in fact started at the end of WWII and only completed in 1986! You really need to stand at the bottom and just stare up for a while.

Once I'd got that out of the way though, I do make a point of climbing every European cathedral I possibly can, and although this one had a lift (booooo) it did not diminish the view from the top over Reykjavik's brightly-coloured roofs, and out into the harbour and beyond. Particularly pleasing to the eye are these vistas through the huge circular stained-glass windows right at the top - not particularly beautiful in and of themselves, but very lovely as a coloured lens to the city below. A real-life Instagram filter if you will. The huge church bells clanged in a most heart-stopping manner while we were up there, and on descent the sound of the organ filled the typically puritanical interior. It's a very impressive specimen, and the acoustics of the place are phenomenal (even if its gut isn't quite as spectacular as the outside view).

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