20 June 2010

lucky number seven

I've just completed the move into my seventh home in Reykjavík, back in my original moved-to-Iceland postcode, and a few blocks from this place. It's a lovely old house from the 1930s with graceful proportions and funny little details like a frosted glass window on the narrow bathroom door, and a pantry. Unlike my last apartment, the ceilings here are so high I can only see into a third of the kitchen cupboards, so I'm no longer ducking to get to my fridge or closet.

One of the grand things about this neighborhood is that it's old enough to have proper vegetation, so the view from the kitchen window to the back is a jungle of berry bushes, tall trees, shrubs, rhubarb, and cats that prowl through the underbrush. From the front of the house the view is bounded by the mountains to the southeast, with bits of ocean visible between the cute houses opposite. It's a street I remember walking down in 2005 on my way to the immigration office, never imagining that someday I would occupy one of these lovely places.

Our downstairs neighbors have lived here for decades- he's been in the house since he was 3 and he's now in his 80s. They've got a book binding room and a Finnish sauna in the basement, and the garden overflows with plants I didn't know could live happily here, like deep pink peonies that are blooming now against the warm stone wall of the house. It's a lovely place to live.

Since returning to this neighborhood I've returned to Sundhöllin as my local pool, a spot that seems most frequented by tourists who wander lost in the mysterious maze that is the locker room. These mini-dressing rooms are one of my favorite elements of this pool, as well as the generously sized hot tub on the roof with views over the city (and into the apartment opposite once occupied by a friend). I've noticed that the locals who go there seem to have certain locker loyalties, so while I'm lacing up my shoes I overhear the classic old pool-going men specifically asking for locker sixty-two please. I haven't noticed any particular difference in the lockers, other than the importance to get a high number so as to avoid the boring overflow lockers, so I do wonder what the attraction is.

But back to lucky number seven, where I am typing this while watching the little calico cat that lives opposite prowling the territory, and admiring the flowering trees that line the street. I've realized that with the exception of my first home here, I've always had a view- a snippet of mountain, a sheen of sea, maybe both. It can spoil a girl to have a couch oriented so that the seagulls and the airshow are all on display. This is why there's no need for a TV- an open windowshade is all I need.

I'm still finding out about the neighborhood essentials though. Yesterday en route home from downtown I found a video store, and there's a bakery that seems heavy on the chocolate-themed baked goods but not so much on the breakfast staples, but I'm still hunting for the last-minute-open-late shop. Plenty of guesthouses and hotels around though, and we certainly don't lack for tourists because of that. It's a great place to walk around, full of architecture that varies from late 19th century to a few more modern 70s looking places, trimmed with charming gardens and friendly cats patrolling their section of pavement. The only downside is that I've had to learn how to parallel park properly for the first time in my life. Can't have it all, I guess.

1 comment:

Professor Batty said...

Good to see you posting again.

Especially love the ones with "the awesomeness of Reykjavík living" tags, they really make my day.