Monday, 28 May 2007


Thank you for all of you who've written such excellent words for the Great Comment Drive (see post below). I know there's plenty more visitors out there who've yet to jot down a quick hello, so don't be shy!

Here's a new set of intense Icelandic names, as promised. These are all men's names, and a very small selection of all the fascinating monnikers approved by the state. Most date back to the settlement age and as such are heroic as well as descriptive. The one exception is Blær, which can also be a girl's name. It's only in the last twenty five years that it's been used, namby-pamby hippie name that it is. Hard to imagine a true Viking suffering being called Gentle Breeze!

Austmann: Eastern Man
Ástríkur: Rich with Passion
Ástbjörn: Passion Bear
Álfur: Elf
Ás: [a] God
Björgólfur Rescue Wolf
Blær: Breeze
Búri: Peasant
Bogi: Bow (weapon)
Dómaldur: Judge
Eldgrímur: Fire Mask
Fífill: Dandelion
Friðbjartur: Bright peace
Garpur: Brave
Hugi: Thought
Hreinn: Clean
Knútur: Knot
Ljósálfur: Light Elf
Muninn: Memory
Safír: Sapphire
Svanlaugur: Swan Pool
Veturliði: Winter Traveller

Friday, 25 May 2007

Flow Those Comments on Down

Don't Forget to Join the Great Comments Drive...details below

This pretty stream flows down to the main street, Strandgata, in Eskifjörður, in East Iceland. As you can see at the linked site, this little fishing town in very long and skinny, skirting as it does the base of a fine mountain that looms over the fjord below.

As I've written of before, my grandmother grew up in Reyðafjörður just to the south of this town, in the house shown in this post from last summer's trip around the island. During the first part of June Reyðafjörður is going to be turned into a carnival, sponsored by Alcoa to celebrate the grand opening of their new aluminum plant. Should be sight to see. My mother is taking my grandmother, Ásta Beck, to visit the little house her father built, and that she was born in 93 years ago, right around the same time, but I don't think they'll be in town for the actual celebration. That might be a good thing...

If you've gotten this far in reading this post I'd love to ask you to quickly drop a word or two of comment before you go. This site is not controversial and doesn't necessarily beg conversation, but I recently checked Google Analytics to see how many visitors I've been getting (something I haven't done in almost a year) and I was blown away by how many people stop by (well into the four digits per month!) It would be a blast to see how many of you can take a minute to just write a quick hi! or somesuch (I promise I'm not fishing for complements.) And be sure to leave your own web address if you're not with Blogger so that people can check out your site too...Thanks in advance!

Upcoming post: Stay tuned for the next episode of Crazy Icelandic Names. Here's a sample of what you can look forward to!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Frank Style

Frank Style, originally uploaded by blue eyes.

My favorite sweater spotted on a train in Denmark...

Monday, 21 May 2007


Another brain tease from the streets and gardens of Reykjavik. This was part of this year's Reykjavik Arts Festival, though I don't know much more about it. There were at least six autos in varying states of trauma and discord sprinkled throughout the city, and if I'm not mistaken they're still there. Very fascinating and super entertaining for the kiddies, as you can see.

This wreck and the others are the work of a very grumpy giant who was awakened from his slumber beneath the streets of our city by French archaologists, and who rampaged through Reykjavik until he was consoled by his sweet daughter and brought home again. This very vivid fairy tale was the production of the Royal de Luxe street theater company who headlined the festival. I so wanted to witness their giant marionette performance but was, alas, in Copenhagen at the time. I'm told the experience was fantastic...

Saturday, 19 May 2007


P4090040, originally uploaded by blue eyes.

A little teaser...can you find the beer bottle in this picture? How it got where it got I can't fathom, but I'm sure it involved a tipsy+ person on a late Saturday night.

For those of you who've been here, this store, Stella, is located on Bankastræti, or Bank Street, so named because the first bank in Reykjavik was housed in this very building, circa 1886.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Volcano show

Just got back from Copenhagen! Went with Valentina on a mother-daughter trip, or mæðgurferð. We did Tivoli and Bakken and drank many 7-11 slurpees and shopped and shopped and shopped. We behaved like true tourists and had a great time doing it!

Speaking of tourists, this tiny little theater and it's Volcano Show is a perfect stop for visitors to Reykjavik. Even though it's about a two minute walk from our door, I've never been. I love the big red rock with it's cool iron decoration, though. I've heard that the film is a definite must for those who want to know more about our harrowing geological past (and future!), and since it's a homespun affair (a father-son production), I think that everyone should give it a go. I even promise to check it out myself. Soon.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


Here's our local seasonal Australian street clown come back to town just like the swallows and plovers. His name's Wally and he's real good at what he does, busking and entertaining in the town square and always, always gathering a crowd. Thank goodness, I say, for a big dose of down under humor to make our lives more fun!

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Red Rock

Some scenery from the wilds of outer Reykjavik. There's no snow on the ground anymore, but the pretty rises of Rauðholar are just as red as they were 4600 years ago when lava poured over this plain, gathering iron ore along the way that oxidized beautifully, if I may say so.

To read a little more about this location, go here. Or you can read this Planetary Science Research Discoveriespage about similarities between the rootless cones of Rauðholar and those of Mars. Fascinating stuff.

By the way, go to London Calling to read Luis's great synopsis of Iceland and its people. He's pretty much summed it all up in one well-written blog post.

Friday, 4 May 2007


A pump or a dial, I don't know. But this beautiful object glistened and steamed in the May sunshine on the rise behind the town of Hveragerði today. It's obviously connected to the thermal hot spots that puff and bubble in this region, though what actual purpose it serves is beyond me.

I imagined a town Pump Man, a brawny hunk of muscle, coming out every day to turn the iron wheel clockwise, opening the geothermal taps for business. And geothermal energy is well utilized in Hveragerði where hothouses grow our cucumbers, tomatos and roses all year round and the swimming pool steam bath smells of sulpher straight from the source. At some designated time of night, Pump Man would then walk with certainty back to the wheel and close the valves, containing again the intensity of heat and power that throbs eternally just beneath our island's crust.

Thursday, 3 May 2007


Spooky, eh? The first time Valentina and I saw this critter, or one jsut like him (her?) was at the Skógar Folk Museum in south Iceland. We were told by a kind old gentleman who worked there that he's seen plenty of kids burst into tears when they grasped what was going on with this lamb. Others, like my girl, just showed intense curiosity and a bit of wonder at the weirdness of the world.

This lambkins is displayed in the window of a nice new wool store (don't know the name!) on Hafnarstræti, just next door to the Dubliners pub, downtown Reykjavik, for all to see and marvel at.

While cruising and perusing the web I found a great and very up-to-date listing of Reykjavik stores on the website. The English language monthly Grapevine also has a good listing of shops here, and is well worth reading overall to get a good feel for what's really going on here in the political and cultural scene. Check it out.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

May Day

Happy May Day to all, whatever it may mean to you in your culture. Here in Iceland it's traditionally the day for workers to unite and show their solidarity with each other, much the same as in many other Western countries. I'll let Wikipedia do the honors of describing in more detail the history and meaning of this day, while I'll humbly offer up a snapshot of life in the town square today where the May Day parade culminated. A picture speaks a thousand words...