Day 2, Tuesday 26th July

Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2eq): 361 kilos
Sigurðar saga fóts: 62/252 (still…)

Though of course the hot water still smells of egg.

The promise of my sunny arrival dissipated into clouds slouching over the mountains, a cold wind, and rain spattering the windows of the National Library. I even considered regretting that fact that I was wearing shorts; but reminding myself that I am an Englishman abroad and that it is, rain or no rain, still July, I pulled myself together. And in a way I was glad. Trying to shift anything that involved actual paper off my desk in Leeds had kept me busy before I left for Iceland, and I was glad to have a quiet day in the library trying to rein in the electronic demands on my attention, in the comforting knowledge that I was warm and dry and that there was no point going out. I had lunch with one of my Icelandic friends, whose recent visit to Leeds acquired him the rather unprepossessing sobriquet of Bike Guy in the Burley Road household, on account of me trying to cadge a bike for him off various people, and as always it was edifying and entertaining in equal proportions. The lunch, not the bike-cadging; poor Bike Guy totally deserves a better epithet. I might drop in the skaldic praise poem I composed for him at some point, to try and make up for it; but bad verse perhaps risks being seen more as mockery than praise, so I am hesitant on this point.

After the library, I had the first (Deo volens) of the free dinners on my trip. Woo! Back in 2009 I posted on this idea that planted itself in my mind from The Hobbit about homely houses. And there’s one here in Reykjavík, on Bergstaðastræti. I’m not sure what one’s supposed to call the inhabitants of a street in Icelandic, but maybe it should be Bergstaðastrætingar. (Corrections welcome!) On more occasions than I deserve, on long light days and long dark nights, the two noble Bergstaðastrætingar have served up hot food and fine conversation; and I was honoured to be the recipient of their hospitality once again.

Despite the best efforts of the rainclouds, it still feels odd it being so light here. It turns out that in my imagination, Iceland has stayed more or less exactly where I left it on my last visit: the winter solstice. Which was not only inherently cool, but, when day finally dawned, a beautiful day. I guess this reminiscence means I’ve finally found a use for this video:

AND there was a LUNAR ECLIPSE! Which hung portentously in the sky before me as I walked into work that morning. Brilliant! So yeah, seeing the Bergstaðastrætingars’ flat in proper daylight was sort of disorientating. In my mind its cosiness came hand in hand with darkness outside; or with the sun only just peeping over the horizon, the warm light Christmastastically at odds with the freezing weather. And coffee time at the Árnastofnun, at 10 and 3: when I left, coffee was something you had a bit before dawn and just after dusk, with tealights burning. Who’d have thought I’d miss the Icelandic winter? But enough of this churlishness. Daylight is great! And if the sun ever comes out, it’ll be double great!

About alarichall

http://www.alarichall.org.uk
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One Response to Day 2, Tuesday 26th July

  1. Pingback: Innipúkinn! Which actually happened on Day 7, 31st July | alarichall

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