A Sunny Day In Reykjavík


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Thyme for tea

We found wild thyme at Mimi’s preschool and took it home and made some tea. The pictures tell the story. Enjoy!

Wild thyme growing at Mimi’s preschool

Collecting thyme.

You use the flowers for tea and the leaves for cooking.

The fragrance is unbelievable. Best smell ever.

We didn’t have a bag.

Flowers rinsed and ready for some hot water.

Steam! We didn’t have any tea filters so we just threw the flowers right in.

Sugar added.

And stir.

Scoop the flowers out and drink!

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Ocean eggs

The Kolaport market is an anomaly. In contrast with Reykjavík’s chic design stores and sanitised tourist shops, Kolaportið is eccentric and jumbled, a hoarder’s heaven piled high with a fascinating blend of junk and oddities (mostly junk). Like most markets, there are also treasures to be found: vintage clothes, jewellery, books, antiques and, of course, lopapeysur galore.

The most interesting part, however, is the food section. There, you can find traditional local produce such as graflax and dried fish (which is far tastier than you’d think) as well as more controversial fare such as horse meat, whale meat, and the infamous hákarl (rotting shark).

Usually we buy some smoked salmon or baked goods, but this time Mimi had her eyes on something else:

The blue eggs at the top of the picture come from a species of auk known as svartfugl (literally: “black bird”), a sea bird found off the coast of Iceland. The birds themselves are occasionally eaten too. (They’re not a threatened species, in case you were wondering.)

We bought three eggs and took them home. I pierced both ends and blew out the contents so that we could keep the pretty shells.

Auk eggs are large, roughly equivalent in volume to 2-3 chicken eggs, and the yolks are a deep reddish-orange. I cooked them in a simple omelette for Mimi and the man of the house.

Yum?

The cooked eggs had a fishy/ocean smell, so I expected Mimi to recoil at the taste. To my surprise, she ate them with enthusiasm, so much so that we went back and bought more the following week. My partner tried them too and said they were okay but a bit dry and rubbery. I have to confess that although I’m generally an adventurous eater, I didn’t try any myself. Eggs are one of the few foods I really dislike, and the ocean “fragrance” did little to sweeten the deal.

The eggshells are so beautiful, in shades varying from white to pale blue to deep turquoise. I’ve been obsessed with these shades for a while now. They remind me of the ocean and swimming pools and other pretty things.

I’d like to incorporate them into a design somehow. The challenge is to illustrate blue eggs in a way that doesn’t end up looking like an Easter card. I’ll give it some thought and see what I come up with!


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A sunny day in…Grundarfjörður!

My wonderful mother came to visit a few weeks ago. The girls were so happy to see their Grandma! Ellie hadn’t seen her since she was a newborn and I thought she’d be shy at first, but she wasn’t at all. I suspect she recognised her from Skype-ing.

Grandma’s here!

Just in case Mum wasn’t sure she was in Iceland, it immediately started snowing…in May.

Snow!

We went to a summer house in Grundarfjörður (on the Snæfellsnes peninsula) for a few days. The location was stunning, right under a mountain with nothing around except one little sheep farm maybe hundred metres below. The cabin had a hot tub and a little playground, so Mimi was thrilled. So was Grandma.

Nearly all of my photos are of the view from where we stayed. We traveled around the peninsula a fair bit but didn’t stop to take many photos as Ellie had been screaming in the car. If you’ve ever been trapped in a car with a screaming baby you’ll understand why we weren’t in any hurry to wake her up when she did sleep.

(Excuse the lens scratches. I need a new camera.)

Stop off at Borgarfjörður.

We’re here! (You can see how dry it’s been.)

The view from another angle.

Not sure about all this nature nonsense.

So happy to have a playground all to herself.

Evening on the porch.

Sunset.

The farm by the river by the sea.

The next day it started raining. This is Iceland, after all.

Down at the farm.

Rainbow!

SOON

The view from the restaurant we went to in beautiful Stykkishólmur.

“How fascinating, do continue…”

Car-screaming aside, it was a really nice trip and the kids did well. It’s been way too long since I’ve been out of Reykjavík, which is crazy because it’s just so beautiful here. One of the many nice things about having my mother visit is that it forces me to do all the fun things that I normally wouldn’t make time for. Note to self: GO OUT OF TOWN MORE OFTEN.

Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to my mum for now. There was some talk of coming back for Christmas, so fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we see her again!