Tag Archives: Reykjavik

The Price of Settlement in Iceland

The foundational principle of Iceland is “settlement.” after 1100 years of it, we see that nothing has changed. In Olafsfjörður (for example), everything still comes from away.

And buildings are larger than they need to be. They too are settlements.

Even the driftwood, even the art, even the temporary housing made from shipping containers, comes from away.

Or so it seems to someone from away. However, to an Icelander, I think it comes from the world, which is synonymous with the sea.

And you can’t see it.

The result is Reykjavik.

It’s Complicated

Icelanders dress quite practically. So do tourists. There’s one on the right, in Akureyri.

But 66 Degrees North knows that we all like brightness. It brings us in the door. Then we buy the dull stuff.  This is complicated marketing! For example, this is what I came for in December:

And a couple times, this is what I got:

I was drawn into 66 North by the bright lights, but bought nothing. It’s a mysterious thing. Is it because Akureyri is only 65.8 degrees north? As for Reykjavik?

Well, that’s a mere 64 degrees north. What more needs to be said.

 

Reykjavik, or Akureyri? An Artistic Puzzle.

In Akureyri, the sculpture catches the sky.

Granted, the sky is falling, but still. In Reykjavik, however, the catchers are caught by the light. Granted, the light is an artifice, but still.

Somehow, it is the same impulse, one that Icelanders have been walking in circles around for 1100 years, as they try to figure it out. Out on Snæfellsnes, one just gives up and leaves it as an open gesture…

…while on Vesturgata in Reykjavik, one tries to shelter from the cold of that gesture and ignore the frostbite on the nose.

These are deep mysteries. One can only rejoice at the courage with which they are met!

Crazy Reykjavik Window Display

So, the climber who never gets anywhere, that works. Kind of a dream climber. Nothing like a tree to give you a leg up! Note the guy up front. In that sweater, not a climber.

That’s the fun part. Here’s the next window in the store on Laugavegur. Same stricken climber dude, hanging on now without his tree, and a woman up front in a tank top AND a climbing jacket, so, like ready for a night on the town, but look at the background:

PURE Mountain, the Dolomites. When did Reykjavik move to Italy? It must have been an expensive purchase. Is this why the Italian economy has been in a shambles?

Harpa: The Grand Lady of Reykjavik Harbour is Getting Tired

The beautiful view is closed off now, although the sun still shines in and statues still look out.

And for a palm tree just south of the Arctic Circle, where better? Is it Icelandic? The question is: what isn’t?

But the violinist playing to his city, now playing to an international hotel chain?

It can be exhausting to grow old and famous. Even three years ago, Harpa stood proudly out in the sea. Ten years ago, she was an open public space, with art shows and cool shops everywhere. Now she’s growing up, the dear.

So are we all.

So are we all.