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{02/01/2013}   Postcard from Reykjavik

This sums up a lot of what I love about Iceland

The weather was great:

Snow on lava with Kyla and Karina's shadowsSnow.  Lots of snow.  On the roads, on the trees, on buildings.  Lovely, soft, sparkly snow that was falling as we arrived and fell again as we left and stayed there throughout.  Ponds iced over with people walking across them, swans ice-skating  (seriously – though without the skates!), bitter cold wind to make you feel wide awake (c-10), a day of storms that had us literally being blown along icy paths (possibly more fun looking back than at the time as it was actually quite alarming/scary!), a bit of blue sky, glorious slow sunrises and sunsets and pretty much always just below zero degrees.  Proper winter.  And despite the roads being icy, covered in ice, our car did a great job (a 1.6 diesel Kia C’eed sort of estate) thanks to spikes in the tyres!The cold bit - one of my favourite places in the world

We had some memorable food:

THE Lobster soup at Sea BaronAte lobster soup for two lunches (big thumbs up and “bloody hell, that was good” all round), had fabulous fish and chips, lamb, lobster, cake, hot chocolate and a huge New Year’s Day fry up.Brunch at Cafe de Paris on New Year's DayWe swam. Outdoors.  And it was wonderful:

Me (sensible in hideous swim cap) and Kyla (not concealing how blinking cold it was outside the water) at the Blue LagoonWe languished in outdoor hot tubs (-1 to -5 degrees outside – how hardcore?!) every day, one day of which was at the Blue Lagoon (on a day when it was blowing a gale and there were veritable waves!).  On one occasion we went into the 44 degree hot tub (I managed less than a minute), then walked around (I stress that we walked around.  In just swimming costumes) in the -4 night air.  We even walked barefoot in the snow by the side of the pool (it tickles the soles of your feet!).  I found the whole outdoor hot/cold thing really invigorating.Chris in the choppy Blue Lagoon

 

 

We jumped around to keep warm:

Nicky keeping warmOn the day we went to an exposed end of Reykjavik by the sea, we reckoned the wind chill (real hold-your-hat-on wind) was about -10.  It was bitterly cold.  So we took jumping photos to get warm!  It was so, so cold and we were walking (and driving) on thick ice.  Ice.  None of this nancy snow, ice.  It’s Iceland, right?!

 

 

 

 

On New Year’s Eve, we danced, ate and drank:

Nicky looking underage to be pouring (let alone drinking!) champagne!Our New Year’s Eve evening was spent at an overpriced, sub-standard Italian (one of the few restaurants open), then we drank fizz and other things, sat in the flat, danced a bit, watched what Icelanders watch between 22.30 and 23.30 (when virtually no fireworks went off – the country was watching New Year’s Eve comedy!), then went out.Kyla throwing some shapes on the kitchen dancefloor

 

 

 

 

We watched and listened to more fireworks going off on New Year’s Even than you can possibly imagine:

Very cold early photos from New Year's Day 2013There are no official fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve.  However, people all over the city set off their own fireworks (for sale on the open shelf in supermarkets) and I’m not talking about a mere one or two Catherine Wheels and a selection of sparklers, I’m talking hours worth of explosives up and down every single street.  It was utter madness and we were all giddy watching them from a high point by Hallgrímskirkja (conveniently located at the top of our road!) in completely and utter awe.  I was reminded of the meaning of the word “awesome”.  It was so much fun.  And we opened champagne in the bitter cold wind and drank it from plastic cups at midnight.  A truly memorable New Year’s Eve.Somewhere around 2012 or 2013, outside watching fireworks in the snow and drinking champagne!  A very happy new year!

 

We fed the chilly water birds:

Hand feeding the geeseHow caring we are.  Under Nicky’s guidance, we saved bread for the geese, ducks and swans and went to feed them on New Year’s Day.

 

 

 

We sat in the pub and drank beer:

Chilling out in the pub after a cold, windy day of walking in snow and wet stuffBeer is good.  Beer is great.

 

 

We had some fantastic snow walks:

On the lava fields on the main road to the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik AirportMy perfect walking conditions: snow, low sun (c11.45 am), bit of blue sky, sea, lava, friends, cold, lovely warm clothes and knowing we’ll be sitting in the Blue Lagoon in about 30 minutes!Standing by Reykjavíkurtjörnin

 

 

We even got to see some cool buildings:

Standing in the windows of HarpaReykjavik is not a beautiful city, but there are soooo many cool and interesting buildings, Harpa (concert hall) being one of them.  I could (and maybe will) write a post about that building alone.

 

 

As ever, Reykjavik and Iceland did not disappoint.  I had a fantastic break and New Year’s Eve and of course I’ll go again!

 

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