Sunday, 27 January 2008


A house on Bergstaðastræti. I honestly have no idea what's going on here...

Friday, 18 January 2008


Iceland's only army is of the Salvation kind. Their second-hand clothing store is located on the corner of Garðastræti (which runs just above and to the west of the main downtown plaza) and Ránargata, a street that has developed into a charming kind of B&B Row, with a number of guesthouses including Alfholl, Three Sisters and Vikingur. Without specifically endorsing anything, this is a quieter neighborhood than on the Laugavegur (east) side of the town center, a quality which some visitors find very attractive in regards to their lodgings. And while over there on the West Side you can pop in to the Salvation Army store where you may find a hidden local treasure and support a good cause at the same time.

Oh, and the answers to this post's quiz are:
* The Government House
* Governor Hannes Hafsteinn
* The Danish King Christian IX
(Both statues by Einar Jónsson commemorating the 1918 Act of Union, a first step toward independence. The King is handing over the official documentation of self-govenment)
* Bankastræti
* The new Music and Convention Center (see this video for a full 3D tour of the project)
* And lastly, the Men's public toilets (the Women's is across the street)

Thanks to all who played!

Monday, 14 January 2008


Skuggahverfi, or Shadow Neighborhood, is that part of midtown Reykjavik that lies to the north of Laugavegur, or above the blue-lined street on this map. Lacking the much sought-after southern exposure found on the other side of Þingholt ("Assembly Hill," or, the Hill the Big Church is On), this neighborhood is darkened during the winter months when the sun rides low on the horizon. In the summer, though, Skuggahverfi is blessed by the midnight sun as it cruises through the northern skies, making late-night balcony barbecues a beautiful experience.

Apartment towers are popping up along the base of the hill, which, incongruous as they are against the quaint wooden houses that pepper the area, help to block the neighborhood from Kári, the ferocious northern wind. Despite that benefit, though, what some people see as developmental progess in the heart of Reykjavik, others see as modern monstrosities destroying the charm of our little city.

(Nota bene: Answers to the last post's questions are on their way. This is final call for input from the world at large!)

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


It's late, so I think I'll let everyone else write the details on this photo:
What building is shown?
Who is the nearer statue of?
Who is the farther statue of?
What street is this taken on?
What are the cranes in the backround building?
And, where do the stairs from the sidewalk lead to?

I look very forward to seeing comments from you, my astute readers... (and locals, be nice and try not to ruin the fun for Reykjavik trivia buffs who might want to try to answer! As a matter of fact, locals might try giving hints to help out!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Happy New Year, Gleðileg nýtt ár !

May 2008 be your best year ever, wherever you are in the world!

By the way, get 20% off Iceland Eyes Zazzle T-shirts

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A star to sum up the holidays: simple, clean, warm and bright., and a good motto for 2008.

Maybe, as some think, the easy money party is over here in Iceland, like its showing signs of being in the US and UK, but somehow I don't think Icelanders would really mind. I think instead there'd be fond remembrances of these, the good old days, when nearly everyone (not, however, everyone) got a chance to stock up on goodies and toys and luxuries and experiences for a season or two before hunkering back down into survival mode. Remember, its only two decades since inflation here was so high that the krona literally devalued in your pocket, and M&Ms were illegal (red dye#12) and macaroni was the only kind of pasta you could buy.

There's no long-term sense of entitlement here: almost all our money is new money. Some people might even say that kids these days should get a little taste of what recession really means, to give them a sense of perspective and a jolt of respect for what their elders had to live through. Kids adjust fairy quickly, though, to new experiences. It's the grown-ups, the homeowners, the loan-takers, who'd really feel the pain.

Of course there would be a national case of whining and a big dose of panic while all our many loans went into default, but I have a feeling there would be an underlying sigh of relief, because, frankly, being, and staying, prosperous is hard work. Settling back into how life was twenty or thirty years ago when you were a kid, when choices were few and luxuries fewer, is almost just like going home.