North of Geirsgata, the busy main road which runs parallel to the shoreline, Reykjavík harbour is built around reclaimed land – the beach where vessels once landed their foreign goods is now well inland from here. Street names around here, such as Ægisgata (ocean street) and Öldugata (wave street), reflect the importance of the sea to the city, and a stroll along the dockside demonstrates Iceland’s dependence on the Atlantic, with fishing trawlers being checked over and prepared for their next battle against the waves, and plastic crates of ice-packed cod awaiting transportation to village stores around the country. Keep an eye out, too, for the black whaling vessels, each with a red “H” painted on its funnel (hvalur is Icelandic for “whale”), which are moored here. Paradoxically, the harbour is also the departure point for whale-watching tours.

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