A Sunny Day In Reykjavík


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Mist “waterfall” in Reykjavík

I saw this on my walk last night, thought it was pretty neat.

mist waterfall reykjavík Iceland

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Summer solstice – the midnight sun in Iceland

I took these pictures just before midnight. It never gets dark at this time of year.

Sunset in Reykjavík IcelandMidnight sun Iceland


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Snow birds for the new year

I’m alive! I don’t feel like writing much (too tired!) but I wanted to post some pictures I’ve taken over the last few days. I got a Canon Rebel for my birthday so I’ve been shooting lots, trying to figure out how to shoot manually.

I took this one in my garden yesterday. It wasn’t until I uploaded it on the computer that I realised that the sun looks like an egg. It would have been cooler if it was under the “chicken” instead of on top, but what are are you gonna do?

Note that it was around 1 or 2pm when I took it, pretty much the lightest time of day. The days are very, very short in Iceland at this time of year. We get maybe a couple of hours that could pass for daylight, otherwise it’s dark. The good news is that we’ve passed winter solstice, so it’s only going to get better from here!

And another ice bird…

My beautiful girls:

0snow1

Mimi is so happy to finally have some snow. The weather’s been really mild so far this year.

0snow2

Our downstairs neighbours have an indoor cat. Whenever we go outside she’s there, glued to the window, wanting attention. She kept sticking her paw out and giving Ellie kitty high-fives (she was gentle! ;)). Ellie thought it was hilarious.

Window cat

Happy New Year all! I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more pictures, and possibly even some words. ;)


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Gullfoss waterfall + Geysir

We got home from the summer cabin this afternoon. We didn’t make all the stops on the way home that we’d wanted to as we were tired and Ellie was getting fed up with being in the car. Oh well. We did however stop by Gullfoss (the “golden waterfalls”) and Geysir yesterday. They’re not my favourite places simply because they’re as touristy as places get in this country. Spectacular & well worth visiting, yes, but hidden treasures they are not.

I of course took eleventy bajillion pictures:

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Wildflowers, Gullfoss

Tourist by Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Strokkur, Geysir

Strokkur (in the Geysir area).

Strokkur, Geysir

Hot!

Blue geothermal pool, Iceland

Geothermal pool – too hot for swimming!

Geothermal pool, Iceland


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Caves near Laugavatn

Traffic jam.

We’ve been at a cabin in the countryside this week. I say cabin, but this place is huge! Way bigger than our little apartment. Just wonderful. We’re by a lake called Apavatn. It’s quite close to Reykjavík, about an hour and half’s drive.

We’ve been super lazy here, relaxing as much as is possible with two small kids (i.e. not very much). I feel slightly guilty about how little we’ve done, but at the same time it’s been nice to have a break without feeling like we have to cram everything into our schedule.

Yesterday we took a little drive to some caves in the area.

The view from the bottom.

On the way up.

Caves!

What’s interesting about the caves is that 100 years ago, people lived in them:

Painting of the cave house as it was 100 years ago.

From 1910-11 they were inhabited by a young couple, Guðrún Kolbeinsdóttir and Indriði Guðmundsson, then just 17 and 22 years old. They sold food to travelers passing by. Within a year they had earned enough to move to Reykjavík, and left the caves.

A few years later, from 1918-21, another young couple moved in. During their time there Jón Þorvarðarson and Vigdís Helgadóttir had three children, two of which were born in the cave. Can you imagine? One of the children, Magnus Jónsson, is still alive today. He calls himself The Caveman. Of course.

Looks cozy, no?

Mimi was insistent that she was going to find some baby trolls in the cave.

Nowadays the house is gone. The caves are covered in moss, and graffiti carved into the soft sandstone.

The view from inside the cave:

Remember the horses that were on the road?

The view standing on top of the caves.

I think today we’re going to visit the Golden Circle: Geysir (the original geyser), Þingvellir (Thingvellir National Park) and the Gullfoss waterfalls, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more pictures soon.


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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!