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Blokk mín Dec 1, 2009

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri.

Compact and freethinking; harsh, but still a refuge; vibrant and calm – Reykjavík has a special charme in various ways. Here, music, art, sports and party culture do a St.Vitus dance with economics, history and nature, and all of them toast to the uniqueness of their country. Now that I stopped strolling around the whole country every weekend, I spend more time on exploring Reykjavík and its surroundings. Join in on a semi-chronological stroll through my block!

To start with the highlight: This is the car I drove into at 7 am on my way from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík some weeks ago. The streets were frozen and I suddenly found myself and the rented car majestically sliding into a roundabout and the shown car. But as you can see, nothing really happened, and the guy I had rented the car from (more or less a guy who pretends to be a car rental but in fact just gives away his own car) was actually a little bit annoyed by my uninteresting story of some accident with his car: “You know, it’s Sunday in Iceland. Call me again tomorrow.” When we met he was mostly interested in if the car is filled up with gas – probably he wanted to spend his monday driving down Laugavegur and listening to 50 Cent. Take me to the Candyshop!

As I at least knew now that it was Sunday in Iceland, it became also clear that I had to do something with the accident car and our time. So five of us drove to Hveragerdi, about an hour drive away from Reykjavík. There, a small, at first rather inconspicious valley leads away from civilization and into a overwhelming hot spring area:

After the exhausting 3-km-walk we reached a river which had about 40°C and kindly invited us to have a bath and enjoy the sunset.

Before we enter downtown for some big city life, another nature experience which is about half an hour bus drive from the city center away. This is the view from Esja formation, the house mountain of Reykjavík, to the Southeast (the volcanically active area ahead, for enthusiasts. öhem.).

On the way down (round 16.30) there was another sunset (they seem to happen more often here than somewhere else on earth), which made us all cry and hug for some time. I wrote a poem about it but ate it later to conserve the moment.

When the tears have dried and we’re back in Reykjavík, it’s time for 20 seconds of history:

Leifur Eriksson, son of Iceland – some random guy discovering America. This statue is right in front of the Hallgrimskirkja, which looks like this:

This church is the declared heart of Icelandic Protestantism and tells you what time it is every 15 minutes. Whether you want that or not. Maybe it’s useful to know that the church is about 100 meters away from the place I’m living. Inside is not much going on (protestant church), but you can take the lift to heaven for 400 ISK, i.e. drive up to the top of the tower, accompanied by angel-like children’s choir music in the lift. When you leave the lift, it’s very likely the bells are ringing in just this moment and happily greet your hangover-bedevilled brain. Once the eyes stop bleeding, you can also take some pictures there and see how small and clear Reykjavík actually is.View to the Northwest, the white thing is  Tjörnin, the city lake. Almost the whole lake is frozen now, so the ducks and gooses have to crowd on a small area, which makes them very easy to hunt. At the right end of the lake, there is the town hall, where I was playing Florentiner Marsch last week with the communist marching band I’m playing with. Gauditime! My house, Loki 101,  is the third one on the left of the first street leading away from the picture (if you come from the right edge of the pic). Easy!

Continued to the more Northern Northwest. Reykjavík 101, downtown baby. Leading to the old harbour with its fleamarket, fish restaurants, danish war ships, unfinished concert halls and amazing hot dog & sandwich places is Skolavördustigur. The whole area right of this street is the commercial + party heart of Reykjavík. You will find basically everything there (including Stuttgart loosing every week; but except for MP3-Players). You will probably meet the most people on a friday or saturday night at 4 o’clock. If you want to have real fun, drive down Laugavegur with a car and listen to Lingua Loca at half past three on a weekend. You’ll be the king! (Also notice the Christmas decoration in Skolvördustig and my house again.)Close-up of the concert hall the city was planning before the crisis came. There are still some information stands telling you how great everything will be when it’s finished…possibly in 2080. There is no money left to pay the workers, so there were about 5 people working at the whole site.

View to NNE. Esja on the other side of the fjord and the moon. The humble Southwest: Perlan, the  half ball on a hill with some “forest” around it, is the water reservoir of Reykjavík and also hosts an artificial Geysir. – It’s better than nature! The forest also serves as a great make-out plac, at least if you have a car. In summer, it can be somehow crowded and the unsuspecting Icelandic moss-collector is likely to get traumatized by some Hollywood loving. Right of Perlan is the Nautholsvík Thermal Beach. There you can swim in the warm water (today: 2,2°C) an/or sit in the hot tub and drink beer.

On the way back you can admire the beautiful domestic airport and some graffiti.

Back to Hallgrimskirkja:

View to the West. This is where all this fancy studying happens: Háskólinn Íslands. To the right is the main building + mensa, on the extreme left is Askja, the most appropriate natural science building I’ve seen so far. My way there:

Tjörnin at 10:30 in the morning

“Snowy streets? Wow, I have to post that on Facebook with my iPhone to let my friends know. Can you hold the steering wheel for a second?” – I personally see at least 5 cars exploding after a apocalyptical crash 5 seconds after that picture was taken. In the background you can see the landing corridor of the domestic background. Safe!

Askja at 12:30. No matter how long I sleep, the sharp air and the frozen light wakes me certainly up. On my way to Askja I like to cite “Der Knabe im Moor” and shiver.

After that intriguing stroll it’s probably weekend again. It happens fast. Last weekend it was our choir concert. I can so that much: It is absolutely recommendable to tumble from bar to bar until 6 o’clock in the morning when you have to sing the next day.

Another night with the amazing icelandic beer later it’s  Sunday again. If you go to the main bus station Hlemmur and sit in the next best bus without knowing what you are doing, you will probably end up in a suburb area in the middle of a lave flow. Lucky children!

Yes, time’s melting away..Iceland’s 13 Santas (!)  already scare people away from the milk, you can buy jólaöl (sugar saturated mixture of malt beer and appelsín) and soon it’s stingray time. It’s a precious family tradition to eat it on December 23rd and then puke together. I HAVE to organize an icelandic girlfriend until then so I can eat that stuff, too. -And that’s not the only plus!


1. hagen - Dec 27, 2009

when I was seventeen, I had a very good beer – just to let you know. anyway, your life seems to be boring, your pictures are avarage and this choir sounds like a herd of coprohpilic sheeps. stupid.

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