30 June 2007

no other place

Yesterday was a new kind of Iceland I've hardly seen, the Hot Weather Iceland. I left work a bit early to pick up my branspankin new visa, and on my way home my jeans actually started to feel uncomfortably hot, a rare experience here. So I changed into a short sleeved dress to head down for groceries, although all the reports of the temperature said it was just around 60f.

This Friday afternoon Laugavegur brought to mind Newbury Street in Boston on any sunny weekend. Everyone had pulled out their best Hot Weather gear, since who knows if this is your last chance for the year. Cafe patios were all jammed to full capacity and beyond, and every patch of grass and garden was cluttered with chairs and squirt-gun toting kids.

Tourist influx has hit hard, and also served to remind me that it wasn't really that hot, since there were plenty of windbreakers, mackintoshes, and fleeces. This is summer as it should be though- never hot enough that shorts are the obvious choice, always a smidgen (or more) of crisp breeze, and the endless light that makes it seem that you've got all the time in the world.

Everyone living here scrambles madly to take advantage of these short months of spectacular awesomeness, and the weekends are crowded with barbecues, road trips, rafting expeditions, camping, hiking, and plenty of time at the pool. It's pretty easy to find all kinds great things to do here with this much amazing landscape so close.

Even just in Reykjavík it's easy to love the land. Yesterday evening I went for a rollerblade down round the airport and by the geothermal beach at Nauthólsvík. The air was blooming with the scent of wild roses, and on the imported-from-somewhere yellow sand, people played volleyball and did all the usual things one does at the beach. Odd looking here.

Returning from the airport circuit, I continued along the edge of Fossvogur, skirting the bottom of Öskuhlíð. Here the lupines have taken hold fiercely, and although they are an invasive species, it's hard not to feel a surge of glee when sailing through a craze of purple all spotted in yellow buttercups, a sea breeze tickling your back. In summer there is really no other place quite like Iceland, especially after having seen it through the winter months. It's been hard for me to sleep, so much do I not want to miss all the amazing light, the stupendous midnight skies, the scents of sea, growing things, and lava.


PAUL said...

I felt like I was there, especially because you stared with Newbury as a basis. Sounds great. The midnight sky is brighter than I would have imagined.

ECS said...

paul: It really is so much like Newbury! The crowds, the superexpensive stores, the see-and-be-seen mentality, the people driving down it just for the sake of driving down it. Such a parade!

And now that you've seen the 1:30 a.m. sky, you might imagine how hard it can be to sleep sometimes! I'm averaging like 6 hours a night now.

tsduff said...

Your pictures are as amazing as ever. Yes, I understand the subject matter is stellar... but your photos really do allow the viewer to see it as it is. Missing Iceland. My Sweetie's Mom is over there now - up in the west fjords visiting her hometown with 2 of her siblings. I'm so envious.

cK said...

Lovely post! I've been traveling quite a bit--nowhere of note, really, just work stuff--and have had visitors in town otherwise. Just now back to normal and reading again.

Great to find these summer updates from Iceland, especially when you have so many distractions! Thanks for taking a bit of time to record these days for those of us scattered about and jealous.

Happy days,