Out with the boys

Today I went out to Kolaportið (The Plaice Yard), the Reykjavík flea market which takes place on Saturdays down in a warehouse-like building on Tryggvagata. As I was leaving the house, the 11-year-old and the 6-year-old asked if they could come too, so we all went.

Like most things in Reykjavík, Kolaportið is smaller than you might think, but there is still quite a wide selection of rubbish to be had. There were a few second-hand-book stalls that looked pretty good though, and one selling lopapeysur (the traditional Icelandic woolly jumpers - you know the ones) at probably cheaper prices than in the shops on Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur. The whole thing looks much like you might expect, and much like all flea markets.
We were just having a browse around though, really, until we got to the food section. Well! If you like fish and/or offal, Kolaportið is a real treat. You can buy a whole carp. Or a bag of salmon-heads. Or any number of vile-looking Þorramatur-style foodstuffs.
Yes, that does mean 'salted horsemeat'. The horse is as surprised as I was.
Svínasulta is pig-head-brawn, and sviðasulta is sheep-head-brawn. To the right you can see smoked eels. I think magáll is just general sheep-offal soured (of course) and mashed all together like a disgusting paté.
Here is some ýsa harðfiskur (dried haddock). These bits are roðlaus, which means 'skinless'.
There was also soured whale blubber, which could conceivably rival hákarl as the most disgusting food invented by man. I didn't intend to buy some to find out, though. Interestingly, hákarl was being advertised in English not as 'putrefied shark' but as 'cheese shark'. Peculiar euphemism. I bought a bag of harðfiskur (with skin) for me and the boys. I think perhaps Iceland is the only place in the world where a six-year-old child will ask you to buy him some dried haddock for a treat. But it is actually really nice.

Then we went out to wander around Reykjavík a bit, and we saw this statue, which I actually remember laughing at the last time I was in Reykjavík. That was about five years ago.
This man is sad because he has misplaced his genitalia.
On the way out of Ingólfstorg the eleven-year-old spotted that a place which was normally full of water was no longer full of water. This is what happened next.

I felt like perhaps I should have stopped them scrabbling about in mud collecting ten-krónur pieces, but I suppose it was actually quite enterprising. We went to the city library of all places afterwards to clean the money/children. They ended up with about five thousand krónur (over twenty-five quid), which is nothing to cough at when you’re eleven/six and sweets are basically your only aspiration.

Then I took them up the tower in Hallgrímskirkja, which the eleven-year-old had done once before. It was the first time for the six-year-old. There isn’t any snow at the moment, so you can see better how colourful the roofs of Reykjavík are.

The boys sheltering in the statue of Leifur Eiríksson.

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