Another night out in Reykjavík

I am just recovering from a cold which I managed to inflict upon myself by going out into the freezing cold and damp night a few weeks ago. I met up with Brynna, who is a Canadian also working as an au pair over here, and Ahmad, who is from Jordan and is half-Icelandic, and we went on a little bar-crawl round central Reykjavík. We went first to Hemmi & Valdi on Laugavegur, which is a nice café in the daytime. It has comfy seats and a pleasant atmosphere. We were out way too early though - starting in a bar at 9.30 is seriously un-Icelandic. Everyone in there was speaking English. There was a guy sort of DJ-ing, but he must surely have been friends with the people who owned the bar or something because he was absolutely dreadful. My lasting impression is of some sort of terrible reggae and a voice repeating the word 'fire'. I'd definitely like to go back to Hemmi & Valdi sometime at a later hour, hopefully when the reggae guy isn't there with his laptop.

After we left there, we headed down Laugavegur to Kofi Tómasar Frænda, which is also a nice café with comfy seats. It was pretty dead, to be honest, but the music was less upsetting. And so to Kaffibarinn, which was more lively, possibly because it was a bit later, but also because it's just a really popular bar. On a different occasion, I saw Hallgrímur Helgason there (author of 101 Reykjavík, which I read in English and 10 ráð til að hætta að drepa fólk og byrja að vaska upp, which I read in Icelandic). I almost made up my mind to go up and say something to him, but then he left before I managed to compose myself sufficiently. Kaffibarinn is co-owned by Damon Albarn of Blur fame and Baltasar Kormákur of Icelandic director/actor fame. Baltasar directed and appeared in the film of 101 Reykjavík, and the bar itself features in the film. So it was cool to see the author of the book drinking there. But as I say, that was a different night.

After Kaffibarinn, we headed down to the new Laundromat bar on Austurstræti. It was pretty good - I wouldn't say I like it as much as Kaffibarinn or Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar (which I visited for the first time last weekend). I think it was about 2.30 by the time we left. We went to stand shivering in the freezing, wet, snowy queue for Bæjarins Beztu and I got eina með öllu, and promptly managed to get sauce all over my gloves. And then we decided to go for a walk on the Tjörn, because this was back when it was frozen solid. I found this really exciting and ran around a lot. When I was well and truly chilled to the marrow, I went home to bed. Woke up the next morning feeling pretty ill. But it was worth it.

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