The land of fire and ice – By Thor’s Hammer!

As I said in my last post, there are no Romans in Iceland, so we’re not going to even bother our heads about Romans for the time being. We’re just going to bother our heads about Iceland 😀

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Thursday, Thor’s Day, my flight was a bit delayed so I landed later than expected. I had a toss up whether to go to the first day of ATP Iceland (having missed the last bus there) or whether to head into Reykjavik and walk up to the harbour to see what I could see. Sorry Iggy Pop, Reykjavik wins.

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One of the first things I noticed about Reykjavic is how small it is. I mean, it’s a capital city but it feels more like a town. This is probably a slightly exaggerated feeling for me because I come from a really big city. Nevertheless, it certainly isn’t lacking in personality and its character is literally written all over the city.

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The graffiti and more formal street art is everywhere. Every hoarding is covered in this fantastic art, to such an extent that I wondered if there were formal or informal agreements between the developers/contractors and local artists.

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I have so many pictures of this that I may have to do a separate post on it.

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The main shopping street, Laugavegur, is pretty fun. I suspect that this has become more touristy over the past few years, as tourist numbers have shot up in Iceland. It kind of reminds me of an updated Carnaby Street, with its striped road, funky little shops and cafes, and the aforementioned street art everywhere. Obviously these are the 2010s not the 1960s or ’70s so it’s all much tidier and less makeshift, but still pretty fun.

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And so, up to the harbour. Around the harbour there is a jumble of warehouses, fishing and tour-boat offices, ships, cafes, and hotels. The views across the bay were really nice, even if it was a bit of a grey evening.

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This smokers’ bolt-hole outside one of the hotels would never be allowed int he UK. It’s just too poetic.

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I walked and walked. This is what I do. Some stretches around there look a bit bleak, like industrial estates but I’m sure that there is more bustle and life during the day. These photos might be a bit deceptive because it’s so light that it looks like the early afternoon, when they were actually taken between 10pm and midnight.

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So I walked and walked until I found myself at this unrealistic grassy knoll!

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It’s a piece of public art called Þúfa by Ólöf Nordal.You can walk up to the top via a slightly alarming path (health and safety be damned)

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and at the top is a little hut containing…

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dried fish 😛

I daresay this makes sense to Icelanders.

When I was at the top, a couple arrived eating ice-creams. The man’s ice-cream was grey! Really grey. Like gunmetal grey. Grey ice-cream :/ The flavour was called Turkish Pepper, but  he let me have a little taste and it tasted of aniseed.

Walking back I also passed this magnificent motor.

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It looked so incongruous. Spotless perfection sat amongst warehouses in the dock. It must be owned by the Don of Reykjavik.

It was only then that I realized that it was nearly midnight. The lack of darkness, or even a really noticeable dusk is very disorientating. This had the effect of making sleep virtually impossible. I was cream-crackered by the end of the weekend!

Tomorrow is another day.

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