One of the little known facts about Reykjavik is that it is a pedestrian friendly city. Even though the weather precludes pedestrian excursions during certain times of the year, it is a city that invites excursions by foot on days or nights when the conditions are at least passable. While much of the city’s restaurants and bars are clustered on or around Laugavegur Street, the city’s most visible – and iconic piece of architecture is the Hallgrimskirkja Church.
The Whaley House. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can say about this location that hasn’t been said before. (Don’t believe me? Click here, here, here, or here for a sample of these reviews). This destination is regularly listed as one of the Top Five “Must Visit” places in San Diego. If that wasn’t strange enough, the Whaley House has received international notoriety as one of the “most haunted” locations not just in California, not just in the United States and North America, but as one of the most haunted spots in the world. That’s right: in the world! (Don’t believe me? The website for the Whaley House discusses its “haunted nature”, and solicits ghost photos! But for more info, click here, here, or here). If all of that wasn’t enough, the Whaley House has its own B-Grade horror movie! (Don’t worry, for research purposes, I watched it, and…..it was truly bad).
After taking the tour, what struck me about the place was that it was a location that demonstrated the triumph of man’s will over just about anything. The castle’s creator, Boyce Luther Gulley was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the 1920s, which was basically a death sentence. Rather than give up, he headed down to Arizona with nothing. Using his knowledge of real property law, he acquired the land on which the castle on the cheap – it was near the Phoenix dump at the time. Then, using his architectural and engineering knowledge he proceeded to build the castle on his own with materials he either salvaged from various areas, or acquired cheaply as they had been discarded. The castle is truly an example of being able to construct something from nothing. Even more importantly, the castle is a classic example of the inscrutable nature of man – because Boyce Luther Gulley concealed all of this from his family until his death.