Friday, 20 November 2009


Out on the mossy moors of Iceland stand houses collapsing slowly into themselves, still memorials of family dreams and lost hope. Iron roofs rust to a deep red that compliments the colors of the surrounding landscape and weathered timber frames take on the same kind of rough fragility as the lava that surrounds them. They seem to belong just as they are, slipping quietly into decay, making hard to imagine them new in such lonely places, filled with children and with the warm smells of a hopeful family's home.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Night Swim

Fall and winter night swimming is one of the luxuries of living in Iceland. This shot is taken at the Laugardalur pool.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Sometimes its all the indescribable moments surrounding a photo, in all dimensions and temporal directions, that make it beautiful. :*

Sunday, 18 October 2009


I'll let Professor Batty do the honors of relating his play-by-play of Iceland Airwaves as only he could: his photos are amazing and his writing makes you feel like you've known him for years. Salutations, Professor, and glad you're enjoying your trip!

Another abandoned house burned today, the same one I posted about recently when it was officially squatted and made a Schengen-Free zone. Arson? One could speculate...

Monday, 5 October 2009


This full harvest moon was accompanied last night by an "unusually bright" shooting star that lit up the midnight skies over southwestern Iceland last night. Here you can see it for yourselves.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Our first fall full moon glows in tonight's sky golden and low. Some things, like a moonrise, are sure in this life and that is a good thing to know.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


GusGus played an outdoor live set for us last night and we fell in love with them all over again.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Image by Óðinn, three years old.

Today is 20.09.2009 and I've little to say but that fall is here, and dark nights still warm enough to stroll around in without mittens or muffs or such. We walk a thin line these days between hope and dolor, and I think it's safe to say that, honestly, at this point, the waiting is the hardest part. Our collapse lingers, a slow motion graceless tumble, as infighting and fracturous party bickering keep us clinging to old structures and ideals when letting go, fully falling into true humility, admitting fault, releasing blame and dissolving useless, demeaning obligations might be the only way to save our national soul. But what do I know. I've always found politics, finance and the ways of the worldly truly confounding.

And then there's all this, the true measure of our life force: our art. Visit these links and know that our hearts are still beating and our blood runs as hot and cool as ever, and that we'll never, never give up:

Add This Song by gusgus, directed by Heimir Sverrisson and Jón Atli Helgasson

gusgus web site

Hljóðaklettar Icelandic Music Label, feat. Rúnar Magnússon, DJ Musician and Thor Magnússon

Anonymous feat. Tanya and Marlon Pollock, video by Berglind

Reykjavik Roundup

gogoyoko Fair Play in Music

E-label Designs by Ásgrímur Már Friðriksson


Reykjavik International Film Festival

Nikita Design

Eve Online


Ólafur Eliasson at

Ragnar Kjartansson at the 2009 Venice Biennial

Snorri Ásmundsson

Steinunn Designs

11th annual Iceland Airwaves music festival

Sequences Art Festival

And so many more...Do yourself a favor and check them all out *.*

Sunday, 30 August 2009


I've dug deep into classic Iceland Eyes and pulled out this photo of a little Valentína on the black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur, a most beautiful Icelandic landscape.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Íslendingur, originally uploaded by blue eyes.

Ok, people, time to vote!

Go to this link, Blog Tournaments, and check out my competition, then leave a comment on the Blog Tournaments site to cast your vote for Iceland Eyes.

Let's take this to the next level, my friends!

Monday, 24 August 2009


Squatters recently took over an abandoned house on Skólavörðurstígur, with the (approval) of the owner, who's looking the other way, ahem. For last Saturday's Culture Night they spiffied up the yard and announced a Schengen-Free Zone with a free-stuff bazar in the house's basement. Very cool.

p.s. Iceland eyes has been invited to take part in a joust! Really just a blog tournament, but cool anyway. Go here for more info and get yourselves ready to vote!

Saturday, 22 August 2009


Locally grown carrots in Reykjavik

The thing is, Icelandic carrots like these are absolutely delicious and while munching away one is hopefully not mulling over their price per pound. Local produce is, in general, super good, especially the greenhouse stuff like tomatoes, cucumber, paprika (bell peppers,) zucchini and various lettuces. I buy local, despite the cost, almost without exception.

Oh, of course, you nod understandingly, Iceland has all that geothermal power to heat greenhouses for cheap, just the reason why Alcoa and Alcan have set up aluminum smeltering shop there. And you'd be right about the smeltering part. But please know that greenhouse farmers are not subsidized in any way or offered reduced energy rates at all, though Big Aluminum is. Though I usually don't take political sides, this is a very dear issue to me. Read this article from Saving Iceland for more info. It's two years old, but totally on topic*. Here's a more recent one by a possibly even more controversial source, but it raises some interesting topics.

Here's the deal: Iceland is on the very verge of self sustainability, of creating a green eco-culture that will provide an international model of development. This book excerpt helps to define in more scientific terms our capacity to provide nutrient-rich foods for our local population. And this article from the Guardian adds a hopeful note to the argument. And here's a post of mine with links to great articles re: this issue of our future.

Out of chaos comes order, every time, without fail. It's the nature of systems at all levels, ultra-micro to macro and beyond. We have the opportunity, we have the technology, we have the attitude to make something brilliant, innovative and of lasting global impact out of the rubble of our economy. The Heart Park is a good start: a little patch of green in the heart of the city where obsolete structures once stood. A small gesture like that gives hope in an unmeasurable way. That's our future. We tried the other way and it failed us. Now its time to return to the land that made us.

We live here, we are forged and bound together by ancestors, survivors of tremors and blasts and lingering ash clouds that suffocated the less hardy, smothered the flora and culled our numbers to the quick. We were parasites then, half-dug into the raw skin of the island, barely covered by sod roofs and what we could weave off the backs of sheep. We were destroyers, desperately hacking away at the gnarled and primitive birch forests til the fragile soils ran loosely into glacial rivers, leaving nothing behind but the stripped volcanic muscle of our mother. We fought each other and killed, bore children too weak to live another day in the hostile depleted world into which they came.

Hundreds of years ago the island split and raged, taking back her own life through destruction. Dank black clouds lay thick in the skies for months, starving so much of what fed on her, breaking down the tenuous cycle of life until a numb stillness overwhelmed the last people, until the starved cattle and sheep could no longer raise their heads in protest. The oldest groves, home to Baldur and to sacred things, were finally felled, burned, lost. The island had sundered herself, had shaken and seared and smothered the desperate, uglied population that burrowed itself like lice into her fragile moss derma.

Yet some survived, and we are the children of those people. We are cousins, we are rare, and born of destruction. We are inheritors of a memory of overwhelming sorrow dusted with hope, and the progeny of the precious moments of lust between members of a dying race. We owe great debt to those who made us in the wake of devastation, and to the land that ultimately spared out lives.**

*I do not necessarily support the overall political views of the sources I link.
**excerpt, MAR 2004

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Mural at Frakkastígur in Reykjavik

I was tempted to post about the price of carrots [update: I did just that] but thought better about it and decided to display this artsy beauty shot instead. Who really cares out there in the world that locally grown carrots are up to 900 kr/kg ($7/kg., or ~$3.50/lb.) though organic? Not you. It may not even seem like that much when you do the currency conversion. It's more a local issue. Like the cost of milk almost doubling over the course of the summer. It's a relative thing. And we are on a remote island. And it's expensive in Hawaii as well, I've heard. And H1N1 didn't really even get a toehold here. AND we've had the Most Excellent weather EVER here this summer. So what's to worry about?

Everything's fine.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Óðinn leaps over the stream flowing from a boiling hot spring located about fifteen minutes from the city's edge. He getting some serious air there.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Hótel borg in the heart of Reykjavík 

Pabbi (Dad) told me that the wife of the owner of Hotel Borg* lived in this corner tower of the gorgeous Art Deco hotel back in the days. He worked there as a bellhop when he was a young teen and says that no on ever saw the reclusive wife...she was an utter mystery. Not so mysterious were the goings on of the adult staff in linen closets and corners, so I hear. And the dances and balls and parties that were held there! I've heard stories from the the older generations that would make today's youth blush. Somehow every generation imagines it invented the concept of drinking and dancing and kissing til dawn, doesn't it?

This is post number 492, everyone. Damn! Wow! Five years of Iceland Eyes, almost to the day. I'd have given up long ago if the international support hadn't shown itself in so many ways. I'm starting to consider what I should do to celebrate half a decade of this persistent hobby, and just exactly what my five hundredth post's photo should be. Ideas, anyone?

*Borg = city.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Monday, 3 August 2009


True beauty is found in subtle and wondrous places if we stop long enough to allow its emergence into our reality. This small miracle of nature posed peacefully for me, for which I'm grateful.

Thank You to all who made this holiday weekend an Amazing Experience and Thank the Gods for our heavenly weather! And remember to thank the humble and lovely Bee on whom our lives may actually, literally, depend.


This young man and his buddy were setting up to angle a few fishies when I drove by Elliðavatn last weekend. Our (spooky) good weather spell continues, with only one real day/night of rain in the past two months here in the southwest region, though last weekend a night frost ruined nearly all of potato-paradise Þykkvabær's new spuds. Bummer. Forever at the mercy of Nature, we are.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Little Ísadóra was presented to family and friends at her naming ceremony this past Sunday. Her mother, Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld (lead singer of Sometime) and musician father Finnur Hákonarson invited Jónína, a goði from the Ásatrú religion to perform the ceremony in the Hljómskálagarður public park by the town lake.

We welcome her with love and joy into the world and thank her parents for a wonderful, memorable event!

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Yeah, ok, we've got some bums here.

This one was just sleeping it off in the summertime sunshine. We're hoping his ankles didn't burn too much...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Where there wasn't one only months ago, a park appeared between Laugavegur and Hverfisgata, replete with a sweet heart at its center.

In this world of fleeting things it seems right to remind, in brick even, and in a very public way, of the power of that overwhelming, eternal and sometimes subtle constant we call love.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Hello beautiful World!

We've got a heatwave going on here in Iceland, so we're all in various states of undress (!) roaming around in the sunshine like pleasure seeking zombies. Or something like that.

It is lovely here when the days glow so warm (25°C-ish today) and as usual I feel so happy for the tourists who get to see our little land all dolled up in leaf-greens and rainbow flower hues, warm in the shade and with a big kissable blue sky...

It's Magical *+*

Saturday, 27 June 2009


Just a half hour's drive from our front door Óðinn and I found this crazy high-pressure steam release site. We drove right up to and under these massive plumes (the photo doesn't do justice to their true size) that droned and hissed and thundered at an unbearably loud level. It was amazing and a bit scary: I had to keep pushing away images of sudden earthquakes cracking the pipes and drums causing boiling spouts of water to explode around us. Not everyone's happy with this latest geothermal energy plant (Hellisheiðarvirkjun) but I have to admit it was very impressive to see how the human mind engages a fantastic force of nature like this.


For now, just take in the image. More on this bizarre location later...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


This is how we spend our evenings when we dream we're living in the 19th century...

Saturday, 20 June 2009


I don't know who these dancers are but they put on an amazing show at the Start Art Gallery on Laugavegur today just as I was strolling by.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Here's pretty people, joyful and shiny, celebrating the 17th of June in the 65th year of our Republic. The earlier day's festivities belong to families and strollers and fanciful foil balloons, but by evening downtown Reykjavik is teeming with teens and all they're made of, and all they stand for. This group represented their generation beautifully.

Update, June 17th 2012: As many of you know my daughter has been working at Eldur og Ís, the ice cream/crepe cafe on skólavörðurstígur. When she introduced me to Kristjána, the girl she most often works with, she said that we'd already met. Turns out, she's the owner of the pretty smile in back row of this shot from June 2009, the girl with the black headband. Our little city : ) ...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


This fowl and a dozen others followed me around this interesting plot of land on Álftanes, just south of Reykjavík, even after they (I'm pretty sure) realized I had no feed for them. Maybe they were lonely.

The house in the background is the Alsæla spa which is actually up for grabs. Anyone looking for a cool business opportunity in Iceland? Go Here for more info...

Thursday, 11 June 2009


This isn't a summertime version of the flaming protests of January (though some perpetually pumped-up and eternally dissatisfied ranters have gleefully engaged in a new round of struts and pot-banging down in front of the Parliament building) but a dramatic interactive diorama we found at Árbæjarsafn this evening. Push a button and the thing, about four feet square, lights up and crackles to reenact the Great Reykjavik Fire of 1915. We loved it. It was cheesy and cool.

Post Script: As you can see in this video there's more going on down at Austurvöllur than I realized, and I would be hard pressed to judge the elderly white-haired woman banging her pot in protest as a hot-blooded rabble rouser, or the woman wearing the national costume, or the nice-looking guy who's going to camp there as a stance against the ever-increasing cost of living. (Read more about the current situation Here.) These people obviously do not fall into the same category as those bores (admit it, you know one) who somehow get off on blame and injustice and (sigh) chronic, very public self-pity. Hurrah to the campers and may they enjoy their weekend tenting in the riot zone that is drunken 3 am downtown Reykjavik (no irony intended)!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


No words, I think, are needed...

(Just found this review of my book, though, after (yeps) Googling myself, as well as this interview from 2007 if you're, you know, interested.)

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Just pretty.

This is the little grove on the southwest side of the town lake where my father says he used to go with his childhood buddies for summertime picnic adventures. The trees, probably not much taller than he was fifty (ahem!) -odd years ago, have matured beautifully.

If you love old things and measures of our ever changing world like I do, you'll enjoy visiting the Reykjavík Museum of Photography website. The photo that I've linked shows an overview of the town lake, and from the very barren patch in the lower left hand corner of that 1919 image the lush little forest shown above has tenaciously emerged.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Thanks, all, for your support and visits to Iceland Eyes! We've got a steady average of 5000 views per month, about half of those new and a quarter regulars who drop by often during the month for new posts. Not too shabby for a little online hobby!

Read about His Holiness, the Dalai Lama's visit to our humble(d) island here. (Today's Fréttablaðið newspaper reports that China, which formally protested the visit last week, has now recalled its ambassador to Iceland. Go here to read China's latest bullying threat on the issue of Tibet.)

Yet while grownups threaten, war, abuse and defend in the world arena our children play at simpler games, hopefully, ideally, kept safe from the tensions and dramas of their fathers' lives.

Monday, 1 June 2009


A preschool trip with Oðinn to a Mossfellsdalur farm on Friday included a hot dog bonanza in the big barn with cookies for dessert.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Saturday, 16 May 2009

View from Here

Ahh, life is simple, sweet and lovely. Of course it all depends on your point of view...

Silence is golden, smiles are free, the sun shines and not so far from where I sit a bell tolls the hour. All is good.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Here's where the washing was done up until the late 1920's when the Reykjavik finally piped steaming hot ground water into the city center. Women lugged their dirty loads the 3 kilometer distance from downtown to Laugardalur, Hot Springs Valley, walking Laugarvegur, or Hot Springs Road. Going out there and reading the info plaques about what laundering was like and how it was all done less than a hundred years ago helps to put things into perspective . We've come a long way...(Here's a good link if you want to read more about Iceland's more innocent version of dirty laundry)

When we pulled up to the entrance to the Laugardalur botanical gardens this past weekend, just by the little zoo and skating rink, I saw some skinny young badass hanging about at the edge of the parking lot looking all jittery and expectant in his cool sunglasses and swanky sneakers. Two cars pulled up for whatever he was peddling in the time it took me to park and guess his game. By the time the third car was pulling away, the kids had run ahead of me into the gardens and the skittery, embarrassed-looking dealer knew that he'd been made by a 'suburban' mom. So just to bug him I called out in English Dude, you are So obvious and smirked. I know, he replied as he sheepishly jogged away, I know.

Times change.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Play, originally uploaded by blue eyes.
Our beautiful Eva Guðrún Gunnbjörnsdóttir presented her graduation production for the Theatre: Theory and Practice department at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts on Saturday.

The play, Pósteria, was written, designed and directed by Eva, who also acted the role of a sweetly ignorant, hopeful, frustrated, underpaid and disturbingly gullible post office worker (seen here at the beginning/end of the play reading a Cosmo quiz for her coworkers.) It was a painfully truthful, quirky and very funny look at the modern day feminist dilemma, full of awkward and loaded silences interspersed with roars of energized rebellion against the roles women adapt to and, often all too willingly, adopt. Cyclical, contained, explosive, sentimental, ironic and shyly childish, the play is like growing up, coming of age, becoming an adult in a world we don't quite understand, even if any number of subtle (and not so subtle) clues are left here and there to form and guide us. It asks What if I don't get it? What if I don't want to take part? How does this secret happiness thing work? What do you want me to do!? and leaves us with enough thoughtful detail to help us form our own, very personal answers.

Congratulations, Eva. Wonderful stuff!

Saturday, 2 May 2009


Springtime in Reykjavik, with pretty blooms and hints of blue skies, is finally here after our long winter of discontent.

New life is pulsing, quickening, in the warming earth and in our hearts. Elections have brought hope to many that our little island nation will survive our recent disgrace and grow again, if ever so humbly. We can't escape our pasts but are forced instead to review missteps, misdeeds, selfish living and a collective disconnect from the land we live on. But Nature, in her wisdom, always grants a new spring, a new chance to plant and nurture, sow and reap. The lessons never go away. They are revisited on us until we get them right, until we learn to cherish, selflessly, all that truly matters in our lives. What we run from comes back to us in ways we never imagined, offering new chances to bloom, and to grow.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


You've all read this Vanity Fair article about Iceland's crash, yes? Here's the tower Michael Lewis refers to. It's glorious, shiny and very very empty...

By the way, Mr. Lewis nails us in many ways, but yes, we do have more than ten or twenty names in circulation here, and no, not too many SUVs have been blown up and sorry, but even the women here can be stubborn and bumbling and inexcusably, unapologetically aggressive when in public.

It's a space thing: Dr. Seuss' Zax anyone? (and the Zax's even agreed to disagree, and not barge into each other sans eye contact, a disturbing local phenomenon for those from more cultured cultures.)

Sunday, 19 April 2009


"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," as Keats put it and to be boldly truthful, the resort casino down the beach from the ashram was a daily draw. Great pools and aquariums abounding with local sea life, the overly-manicured landscaping and the immense hotel structures towering over the gentle Paradise Island beaches testified to the human will to tame nature and erect monuments to the gods of engineering and ingenuity.

It was very worthwhile to saunter over for immersion in American family-vacation reality, a big reminder that while daily silence, yoga and meditation are a way of life, humanity in all it's baseness and glory doesn't disappear in the meantime, and that we're all in this life thing together. In other words, those little trips (along with forays into urban, decaying Nassau) proved that Oneness, Service and Compassion are always the order of the day.

All that, and a daily double latte to boot.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Paths wind through the ashram foliage, yours to choose.

Here you are not an accumulation of all you've been, but an unfolding of pure potential at every moment.

Doves flow through this compact jungle, cooing the name of Sumer's goddess, Hu.

If you step softly you may even hear the soft rustle of a swami's orange robes on a path nearby, or the gentle chanting of students in their morning meditations.

Here you stretch your heart to the sun, on a beach, by the trees...

...and meet like-minded souls over shared meals.

And, of course, there's always the sea...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Paradise, originally uploaded by blue eyes.

The dock at another little island in the Atlantic, called Paradise.

Keflavik to New York to Miami to Nassau and onto a small boat and suddenly you're there, at the ashram for a week of sun, kirtan, asanas and silence. Your mind stills, and all the pains of yesterday are washed away in the warm and salty sea.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


One of Kaffismiðja Ísland's owners, Sonja Grant, is refilling her grinders with fresh toasty beans, roasted on location in a fantasy-pink coffee roaster at the most cozy café in town. The location is sweet, the coffee amazing and barista Hjörtur makes the perfect drink every time.

Be their guest: stop by, order something warm and inspiring, flip through the selection of classic vinyl, put something on the turntable, have a seat, sigh happily, smile, and enjoy.