Reykjavik: History, GoKart Races & A Drunken Pest

May 30

My morning was filled with writing, a powdered latte and a quick visit from Stu and Jo when they brought over a few suitcases since Stu will be moving in with Sigrun and Andy for a couple weeks until his new apartment is ready.

I have begun to feel like I’m wasting the day away if I don’t at least stroll downtown for a few hours. I know I’m going to miss Reykjavik like mad when I go home so I keep trying to soak in as much as I can, always finding new art and shops during each trip I take. While I was out I visited the museum Reykjavik 871(+/-2) and it was fascinating! In 2001, while constructing a new building downtown some old artifacts were found. Construction ceased and careful excavation begun. Check out the above link for further information, it’s pretty cool. When I visit old settlement sites I always have an intense reaction. Regardless of if I’m walking through a grain factory from 1893AD or Egyptian tombs from 1300BC – it’s still amazing to me that I am witnessing bits of my ancestors’ lives.

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When I came out of the museum I could hear hundreds of children yelling and cheering. I followed the sound over to a public square that is normally filled with skateboarders. Today it was filled with primary school children dressed in 4 distinct team colors. There was an announcer dressed as a cow and all the teachers/coaches were wearing superhero capes. Everyone was screaming and cheering. It took me a while to understand what was going on but once I saw the make-shift go karts I realized it was a race. The children all had their own team chants and were all impressively in sync with one another as they chanted their little songs.

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After I’d had my fill of screaming children (it didn’t take long, haha!) I headed South of the square and found a charming cafe. It was a Te & Kaffe (which seems to be the Icelandic counterpart to Starbucks). I ordered a mocha latte and quickly understood why it was a popular joint. It easily made the top 3 lattes I’ve had in Iceland. I daydreamed in the comfortable cafe and watched the rain pour down for about an hour before heading out into it again.

On the way home I snapped images of more street art, then finally stopped by a bakery. Every single one I walk by is so enticing that I finally caved and bought a big round loaf of bread and a gorgeous little creme-filled pastry to share with Sigrun and Andy after dinner.

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I headed home and got started on making another quiche, by request. It makes me so happy everyone has liked my recipe! Sigrun and I chatted while I worked and by the time Andy got home we were ready for dinner. I absolutely love cooking while I’m here. It makes me feel so at home.

After dinner we took a walk down to the old cemetery that I had told them about a few days before (I couldn’t believe I was introducing the locals to something new in Reykjavik, woo hoo!). It was so interesting to look at the names and dates of the gravestones. So many long lives, and so many short lives. We found one unique mosaic headstone for an artist who had died at 33 in the 1890’s, and several infant gravestones for kiddos who never made it past their first year… so sad.

After our quiet walk we stopped into a pub for a brew. We were enjoying our drinks and discussing travel and movies when a man who had already pestered Andy when he went out to smoke came in and started trying to chat up a group of young women sitting near us. They were clearly annoyed by him and he was completely oblivious. He eventually got the hint and wandered away. We shook our heads and kept talking. We were deep into a conversation about the most effective teaching methods we had enjoyed as kids when someone pulled out the chair next to me and sat down. It was the Drunken Pest. He immediately started asking me questions. Where was I from? Was I Mormon? Why am I in Iceland? I knew he was intoxicated so I mostly returned his questions with the same questions about himself but he refused to answer any of them – or did so in a cryptic manner. I quickly decided to show him my mean face because he sat down, uninvited, and interrupted our conversation with his questions while never answering any of my returned lobs. Sigrun thought my mean face was pretty funny and said she’d have to remember that one. I felt bad for being cross with a stranger but he was far too aggressive and I’ve learned if you’re nice to people who already aren’t respecting your space it never ends well so it saves time to nip it in the bud. ;P

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