Easter in the West Fjords

This year, like last year, I spent Easter up in the West Fjords. I went with Grétar, and we stayed in a guest-house in Bolungarvík, which is a little place quite close to Ísafjörður. There is a tunnel that goes through the mountains connecting the two towns. Grétar's friend Símon and various others were also staying in Bolungarvík, in someone's grandmother's house. Grétar and I drove up on the Friday (föstudagurinn langi, or the long Friday, as good Friday is known is Iceland), stopped in Reykjanes to go swimming again, and made it to Bolungarvík about an hour before the Aldrei fór ég suður music festival started. It was in the same warehouse as last year, biggest names playing were probably Mugison (who we missed), Retro Stefson, Sykur and Páll Óskar. Those are moderately big names in Iceland, honest. I also missed Snorri Helgason, which I was annoyed about. We were sheltering in the car from some country and western band from America, and I think he was playing right after them.

It was a lot of fun, although on the Saturday night we managed to go through the tunnel no fewer than four times. We drove into Ísafjörður and had dinner there, before heading to the Aldrei fór ég suður warehouse. An evening of music and gin and vodka, before we found our way onto the shuttle bus and arrived back at the guest-house to discover that we didn't have our keys. Grétar rang the guy who ran the place and he said he'd be there at some point in the future - I don't remember how long he said but it seemed like a long time. Some American girls were going into the same guest-house, and offered to just let us through the outer door - then we could have waited inside. In a cloud of drunken confusion though, we thought the keys were probably in Grétar's car, so got a taxi back to Ísafjörður, where we failed to find the keys. So we got the shuttle bus back to Bolungarvík, and the man let us in. Then we found our keys on the chair inside our unlocked room. Skills!

To be honest, we didn't do an awful lot other than the music festival. Some pretty serious napping took place, we mooched around Ísafjörður a bit, ate Easter eggs, and one day we went to the Natural History Museum in Bolungarvík. It had a stuffed polar bear and a flamingo which had apparently come over to Iceland with a flock of swans, in some fit of confusion. I suppose the Icelanders were so surprised that they immediately stuffed it and put it in a museum. But that was pretty much it, because the weather was much, much worse than last year. Mostly it was just cloudy, with occasional rain, but on the Sunday night the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and it began to snow. By Monday morning the weather had reached a point where it was considered inadvisable to drive over the heath. We went over to the house where Símon and co were staying and weighed up our options. Finally decided to just go for it around four in the afternoon. Símon was driving a jeep, and we went behind in Grétar's Honda Civic. It was probably not the best idea in the world, the weather was so dreadful up there. There are yellow poles along the sides of the road to help in such conditions, but we could only see one set at a time through the gale and snow. We went veeeery slowly, following the vague grey shape of the jeep and luckily made it down the other side, and eventually back to Reykjavík, unscathed. 

Now I Remember...

Sometimes it's all too easy to forget why on earth I would want to live in Iceland, especially in the cold, dark winter months. And then we have days like this.

Stacey and I bought sandwiches downtown and came to Heiðmörk. As you can see, the weather is impossibly perfect. And it's been like this all week!
Spot Hallgrímskirkja. And Snæfellsnes in the background - visibility was amazing.
Nice clouds.
I think I am wearing this same shirt in almost every picture of me that I have put on this blog. This is merely coincidence! I do own other clothes.
Spot the Seltjarnarnes lighthouse.
6° and sunny is totally ice-cream weather in Iceland!
After the ice-cream stop in Garðabær, we headed to Álftanes to see the President. This is his house, Bessastaðir. It has an OK view, I suppose.
Good old Reykjavík.

This evening Árni, Kevin and Christina are coming over for dinner. Life is pretty amazing today. It doesn't take much to make me happy, just sunshine and friends and mountains really. Beer and ice-cream help also.

Mall Work

I thought I'd let you all know what it's like working in an Icelandic shopping mall. Mostly terrible, you will not be surprised to hear! I mean, clearly I am unsuited to the service industry. I knew this before I started, as did all of you who know me, I'm sure. Looking on customers as irritations who have come to bother you right when you were in the middle of doing an experiment with the different teas is surely not the best attitude. I started off with better intentions, and to be honest there are people who I don't hate - it is a hundred percent to do with how they treat us. Sometimes people come in who are nice, polite and manage to interact with us without making it clear that they consider us inferior, and then you actually feel inclined to do things for them. Most of them seem to regard us as not quite real people, though, judging from their manners. Then you feel like you really don't want to do anything for them, but you still have to, and that kind of breeds resentment. 

There are many, many things which annoy me about the sort of people who have the audacity to come and try and buy things from us. Probably top of the list is: why do they need to take about fifty paper napkins, no matter what they are having? I manage to consume almost all of my food and drink simply by putting it my mouth instead of on other parts of myself or my surroundings. Everyone puts food on themselves sometimes. These things happen, I understand. But it's the exception, not the default. If you regularly require a fistful of serviettes every time you tackle a cup of coffee or a plate of salad, I don't know, it might be time to sign up for some sort of soup-eating course at your local community college. Fuck's sake, guys. I don't actually know why this irritates me so much - it's not like I'm paying for them. It just really gets on my nerves. 

I could write a lot more on the subject of annoying things about my job, but I'll save some for another time. Luckily, everything else in my life is pretty fantastic. I recently applied to do an MA in Translation Studies at the University of Iceland, so hopefully by the autumn I will be returning to the role in which I feel happiest - student! Being a real person is so over-rated. 

Gleðilegt sumar!

Today is the official first day of Icelandic summer! Unlike last year, when it snowed on our way to Ísafjörður, this year the weather has been co-operating. My mother also sent my camera charger which I left behind in the UK (amazingly it seems to have passed through customs without a problem), so I am able to provide evidence. Happy summer!

On Ingólfsstræti, outside Bónus where I went to get some vegetables.



The parliament building.

Ráðhús and Tjörn.

Til Ísafjarðar

Sorry I haven't written anything in ages. I don't really have an excuse, just couldn't be bothered. I am rubbish. Anyway, I'm off to Ísafjörður today for Aldrei fór ég suður. The weather forecast is terrible, but hopefully it should be a fun Easter anyway. I'll write about it, and all the other things that have been going on since I last posted, when I get back. In the meantime, gleðilega páska everyone!