Monday, 29 November 2010


Sunset over Reykjavik

James writes: Over summer this year, I finally started hiking regularly - something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Thankfully, this is Iceland and there is no shortage of places nearby to explore.

Across the bay from Reykjavik, one such place is a mountain called Esja which provides the perfect opportunity for a quick break from the city. Esja only takes an hour or three to climb, and for your efforts you are rewarded with fresh air and amazing views back to the city. In summer it is possible to climb it even late into the evening thanks to the long days, but as winter takes hold, the days shorten and Esja can often be covered in snow. On these days the experience of climbing it changes dramatically, and the sense of adventure heightens.

One thing in particular I love about winter in Iceland is the light from the low sun. Perhaps due to the short days, it takes on an almost magical quality as it paints the sky in striking but soft colours. On this particular day in late November, I was just finishing a hike on Esja - walking across a field back to where I had parked my car. Looking over the water to Reykjavik, the distinctive shape of Hallgrimskirkja was clearly sillouetted against the setting sun.

People often ask me why I moved here, I find it is not a very hard question to answer.

James, a native of Australia, is currently Virtual World Project Leader at Iceland's CCP Games, the innovative team behind the award winning EVE Online.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Right in the heart of Reykjavik is a fascinating little pop-up park, nicknamed Hjartagarður by locals. About a year and a half ago, it suddenly appeared between Laugavegur and Hverfisgata where once only shabby back-buildings had stood. The most interesting thing about it, though, is that it has become a sort of street art gallery with every bare available space on the surrounding walls and abandoned buildings filling to the brim with raucous colors and trippy imagery, including this charming pair.

It's movements like this, surreptitious, dark-of-night grand, illegal and fantastically vivid, creative and rebellious and often stunningly well executed, that effect their own kind of revolution. They make us react and opine and smile and remind us that there are still people out there who are willing to buck authority for art, and for what they believe in.

p.s. You can click on the image to jump to flickr and check out a few more photos from the park.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Winter in Strathclyde land

After enjoying the first snowfall at midnight, the snow-filled surroundings when the sun rised enticed many to come out and play.

The plan was to take pictures in the snow, go to places further than James Blyth Court. Unbeknown to us, a light snowfall the night before means icy pathways and roads the following day. Once we stepped out our front door, the walkway was entirely covered with ice, hence, giving us no choice but to brave ourselves to walk on it. The slip-proof Aldi shoe was a definite heaven sent! I should also add that buying a thermal outdoor pants (also from Aldi) does wonders too to keep me warm.

So, the plan to go far was aborted. We settled for pictures within the campus surroundings.

Gloves were essential. Eg: Just in case we decide to make a snowman or snowmen aka play with snow ;)

We built three mini snowmen. It felt like being in a beach building sandcastles.

After the snowmen project, we headed to the garden near the Village office for a couple of scenic shots.

One thing I deduced from all this was the need for a TRIPOD.

I left my brand new tripod back home in Malaysia.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Snow Xcitement!

So the snow finally came to Glasgow. Light snow at around 11.30pm.

Then heavier at the strike of midnight.
From my window, I saw beautiful white, snow covered roofs and backyards.

Everyone was pretty excited to be outside in the snow. I received a phone call and went out without wearing my gloves. Gotta get used to wearing it now. Almost forgot to wear my jacket too ;)

Mini snowball fights ensued and photos photos photos.... The adrenaline rush, I think, made most of us forgot it was midnight XD Making mini snowballs without gloves wasn't a good idea either....

I am also happy to say that the slip proof shoe I bought from Aldi worked its magic on the snow.

If you don't already know, being outside when the snow is falling is like standing in the rain. You get drenched! :P

Hello, earrrrly Winter!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Here's classic Iceland Eyes from 2006, with a young girl I know quite well (my daughter) enjoying an ice cream in a hothouse in Hveragerði. Many of you who have visited Iceland have stopped off at the Eden restaurant and gift shop in this small town just east of Reykjavik, with its seemingly endless array of greenhouses growing a surprising variety of plants, from specialty florals to very tasty greens and vegetables.

Greenhouses are very much in the news here these days, as our Björk has announced herself as a proponent of developing that industry over adding more aluminum smelters to those already scattered about the island. This is a view also highlighted in the recent documentary The Future of Hope, which introduces an intriguingly optimistic vision of a new era in Iceland's history.

I've mentioned over the years here on Iceland Eyes that this is the path we should be following, and maybe now we can actually take the first real steps.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


These white autumn berries have always intrigued me, though I am unsure as to why. This week they took on a new fascination, laden with the season's first snow.

For those of you who have heard rumors of a new potential volcanic burst here in Iceland, the official Icelandic Meteorological Office web site is a good place to visit for updates and information on weather, earthquakes and volcanic action.