Friday, December 4, 2009

Knitting, Bingo... No! I'm not getting old!

Iceland is cool. Ice cool.

But honestly, I think of all the places I've been, it's here that it's going to feel like I just don't have enough time. After a hop, skip and a flight from St Austell to London, I transferred to the North Terminal of London Gatwick and boarded the flight to Keflavik Reykjavik Airport. The flight was mercifully short, and we arrived in snow. I took a taxi to my apartment, which was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because the taxi driver knew the place I was staying and knew to call ahead (he did it himself, in Icelandic [Islenska]), and kind of a curse, because the fare was over $100. Woops. Big woops. Luckily for me I'm a rich person in Iceland, and things other than taxis don't cost so much.

I arrived at the hotel-apartment, which is absolutely rediculous - you know, my kind of place. There's a good 30 square meters on the third floor, with polished wood floor boards, wicked furniture, 400 channel satellite television, a huge flat screen, and an apple tv with about 40 films and tv shows. Then my gosh, the bathroom! I'm in love.

I wandered around briefly in the snow, feeling the strange crunch under my feet, kicking the powder around, and sliding on the slippery bits. In some places it made everything look clean, fresh, and white - however, mainly on the roads, it made a horrible brown sludge. I marvelled at the warmth of my new jacket, and frowned at the lack of warmth jeans held. Yet again, my waterproof boots came in infinitely handy.

I met my friend Haffi just after dinner, and soon his friend Eric came to pick us up. We went to his knitting group, which consisted of one girl (half Icelandic, half French, and brought up Brittish), and six guys (including myself). The diversity was intense; 3 Icelandic, 1 "Brittish", 1 Pole, 1 Sweede, and 1 German. I was taught how to knit (again, it's been a long time Mum), did something strange, invented my own style of casting on, had a minor disaster, then managed to create a bracelet-sized knit in the four to five hours we sat. We played 80's power ballads and moved onto musicals later. Many conversations were had, and new friends were made. Eric cast off for me, so I have a little souvenir to take home.

Tomorrow we sight-see. The snow's going to melt, in Haffi's opinion. I'm just glad I got to see it at all, it's gorgeous. Cold though...


The standard routine begun again, except much later in the day. Even the Sun doesn't get out of bed here until 10:30, and who sets an alarm while on holiday? (Unless you have a plane/train to catch, of course.) It was a wander about the city, simply letting my feet take me wherever the wind blew. Hmm, I might have mixed a metaphor in there somewhere. The snow had started to melt, making crispy icy bits, and round, slippery icy bits everywhere. In some places the water had pooled and then refrozen overnight, oddly freezing blades of grass in time. I'm thinking perhaps Talitha should reconsider her trip to a place where it snows, because I'm sure she would have slipped on every bit of ice there possibly was to slip on in Reykjavik. I journeyed down to the harbour, where the view across the water was absolutely breathtaking. The sun which was almost perpetually in sunset cast a golden hue on the far mountains, still recently covered with reflective snow.
I stood, awed for a moment, then continued through the city. I came back to Hallsgrimkirkja (which I can almost pronounce correctly), the architechtural gem of a church, and wandered around the grounds briefly.
Eric is taking part in a concert there on Saturday afternoon, so I'll return and hopefully hear the organ being played.

I wandered down to a bus station, and caught the bus to one of the three major shopping centres, Kringlan. There's no metro, tube or train system in Iceland, but a comprehensive bus service. I got myself some lunch, and bought another beanie, cause my ears were getting cold. That was all it took to kill most of the daylight hours, so after returning, I walked to Haffstein's coffee shop, and had my first decent latte since getting to Europe. Thankyou, Haffi. He, rather embarrassed, said that the plans he already had tonight were going to a LGBT Bingo night.
He was rather embarrassed because it set an awkward pattern. Knitting... Bingo... perhaps tonight we'll play draughts. In all seriousness, it was very fun, and strangely hardcore. We didn't win anything (and boy did they have some serious prizes), but we came close a couple times. What did happen is I rather quickly learnt Icelandic numbers. Einn, Tveir, Þrir, fjórir, fimm, sex, sjö, atta, níu, tíu. It also keyed me into a way to recognise more words; think in thees and thous. Two, for instance, Tveir, is pronounced in a way that it's kind of like twain, and "you" is "Þú", kind of like "Thou". Haffi and I both love language, so it's been fun finding these sorts of connections. Tonight is Friday night, where apparently the whole city gets stupidly drunk on just the one street. I have been invited to a party. I have to admit, I'm slightly scared, though somewhat relieved that apparently the worst of the fights involve two people chasing each other and drunkenly swinging and missing until someone passes out.

Once again, Perth, LEARN SOMETHING HERE.

Should I survive, I'll return to you with my final post from Iceland. The plan so far is to go for an evening swim outside. No, I haven't finally lost my tenuous hold on reality, it's The Blue Lagoon, a thermal pool. Who knows, maybe it'll snow. Again.

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