Laugavegur is a street of constant change. There's a whole building halfway down that's in the process of disappearing. Chunk after chunk is being carted away to who-knows-where, making way for something that's probably the usual barren New Building they do so well here, with the same generic doorhandles, and same generic metal balconies.
Things in other parts are better off though, with all kinds of new and interesting shops constantly opening in the cute old buildings along the street, leaving an empty space repopulated almost instantly. Iceland's gone so spiffy that Reykjavík was even featured on a page the New York Times magazine. We've assembled enough Designers with Long Foreign Names to make note with the style crowd, apparently. We've even got stores where you can buy very very expensive soaps in whimsical boxes. Movin' on up, we are.
With only a small shopping/café area, Reykjavík is a town that keeps pretty busy. Shops will close, only to be replaced weeks or even days later by a new place. Some expand to the next storefront, others will move across the street and have their old location snapped up and immediately transformed. Weekly evaluations are required to keep track of what changes are brewing on Laugavegur, and any little modification anywhere is the stuff of note.
In the midst of all this riotous change though, there is one place that remains comfortingly, mysteriously the same. Just past where Skólavörðustígur breaks off and marches up the hill, there's a little storefront on Laugavegur. Two or three steps rise to a door opening into a shop that's only slightly wider than it, adorned with a red sign. The Reykjavik Bagel House. It's been shuttered and dusty since I arrived, seemingly impervious to the flurry that goes on at all sides around it.
Is it just because Iceland has not taken to bagels? What has caused this one storefront to be so forgotten by the maelstrom of urban renewal? They tried bagels down the street a few blocks, which closed for a bit and then refashioned itself as a pizza place, one food Icelanders never seem to tire of. Whatever the reason, I now watch this lonely bagel place every time I pass, wondering when it too will cave in and become something new and trendy. I'm still hoping for bagels again, because now after all this bageltalk, I'm really yearning for one, all properly done up with the tomato slices, the sprouts, the salmon. Make it a garlic one please!