Reykjavik is the Major City of Iceland with 150,000 inhabitants, about half of the island’s entire population. It’s a very nice city – not too big, not too small. A great many buildings are made of stucco and a delightful element of Reykjavik is the amount of artists that are allowed to paint murals all over town. There are tons of murals. The first one I saw was of a jacked-up looking bird pooping out a giant wad of string which wasn’t the best thing ever but many others were not a bummer.
Our apartment was pretty great. It was on the top floor of a house. I was not fond of taking several flights of stairs while hoisting luggage but the view was stunning and the door handle had a whimsical charm.
A bunch of random things I saw walking around Reykjavik – first, a selection of buildings. Who knew that corrugated metal could be a tasteful and lovely house covering? I certainly didn’t until I came to Iceland. Thanks, Iceland.
Sometimes the stores are tucked behind each other and in order to draw you in the store owners paint happy patterns on the sidewalk. I want to do that everywhere. It’s like the magical yellow brick road leading you places. Gets old never.
There are no Starbucks so the Dunkin Donuts look like fancy coffee houses. Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones playing over the stereo and everything.
It’s a pretty hippy-ish town. I passed several places that would have been totally appropriate in Brooklyn. Like the vegetarian restaurant right next to our apartment which had the weirdest choice written on the sign. “Ecstasy’s Heart-Garden.” They paid money to have that specific phrase, written in that specific way, put on their signs. I checked and it’s also on their menus. And their websites. As a design nerd this flummoxes and upsets me but if they’re okay with it I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.
This was the other Williamsburgian place that caught my eye. It’s perfect.
Many of the Christmas trees I saw were cleaved in twain. Like, split from top to bottom. I have a feeling that this is because Christmas trees are super-rare so if you split it and mount both halves to the front of your establishment you get twice as much tree for your buck.
Cool shingles that look like dragon scales.
Teeny-tiny adorable city garden.
Iceland loves the English phrase “and stuff.” I noticed it all over and it delighted me every time.
A painting of a lion on the side of a coffee shop.
Tiny building that does… something. Cricket and I stared at it for a period of time trying to figure out what it’s for. We came to no conclusions.
Window displays! Two dead giant taxidermied ravens. Not the only dead giant taxidermied ravens I saw as window dressing. They were not for sale. I was sad.
Cool authentic Christmas lamps. Also not for sale. I was less sad than the ravens, but still a bit forlorn.
Drawings made by children. The drawings, they were your standard kid drawings, whatevs, but two of the names caught my eye. Those are awesome names. I want to yell them out because they make me sound like a pirate. Try it. They have excellent mouth-feel.
Dorky Norseman statue.
Awesome painting on the front of a basement skateboard shop.
And a neato sticker.
I like this architect’s approach. “I want to put a window on the corner of this building but I don’t want to figure out – ah, screw it, I’ll make a flat bit and slap a window there, fine, good, time for lunch.”
And this guy’s idea. “I love the basalt columns of our country. We should represent them in the city. Where’s the best place to put a basalt column-inspired sculptu– oooh, I know! In the middle of the road where it is guaranteed to get smashed into by vehicles who were not expecting freakin’ rocks to pop up out of the road like mushrooms. That is the best idea ever.”
If you dig more than five inches into the ground in Iceland there is a chance you’re going to hit poisonous lava gases so this job site requires gas masks.
Finally, there was an Icelandic dog. I loved this dog. I wanted to pet this dog for forever.
Coming up next: NSFW museum and fancy fancy dinner.