Wednesday, 16 July 2014

ICELAND | 2014

With my GCSE exams finally over, I had a an extra 3 weeks of summer to kill and a new found freedom to celebrate (the absence of both exams and school in my life). It was my mum's idea I went to Iceland. The connection we have is a good Icelandic friend of hers and her family who I myself have known pretty much my whole life. Out of the family, it was Elín and Tomas I stayed with. The deal was I got a bed, food and an opportunity to see city (not to mention staying in the nicest little apartment just overlooking the sea) in exchange for taking care of their 1 year-old son, Ari (literally the cutest kid) with some weekly cash on the side. Seemed a bargain.

Altogether, I had the best 26 days. Admittedly, I was a little worried at first. I'd last been here as a five year old and evidently didn't remember much about the place and would have had a different outlook on it in terms of fun. Furthermore, 3-and-a-half weeks in an unfamiliar place, knowing barely anyone my age could have easily been passed not doing much at all and sort of wishing I was home. It was instead quite the opposite. It was Secret Solstice, a midnight sun music festival and one of the highlights of the whole trip, that seemed to be my ticket to an almost guaranteed successfully fun stay. I had my flight changed to four days earlier especially so I could attend and I am so glad I did. It was my friend Björk who invited me (whom my dad first perceived to be Björk the famous and internationally recognised singer... K dad), so this meant I was able to better get to know her as well as many other of her friends. (Seriously miss 'em so much).

If it wasn't for these three days of festival, I may have only gotten to know people later on towards the end of my stay which would have sucked. Baring in mind that I had managed to make these connections from the festival, I spent much of my time there going to parties, doing photo shoots and exploring the city. Most social activity was orientated around the evening which was mainly due to the fact that pretty much all Icelandic teenagers work throughout there whole summers (crazy, right?). Almost every evening I'd go have coffee or sometimes ice-cream(ironically quite a delicacy there) and then do something spontaneous after like drive to a shoreside hot tub overlooking the sunset or a suburban field with a bunch of abandoned trampolines (equal and opposite ideas of heaven). Oh, and I'm pretty sure we passed a Game of Thrones set at one point! I should also mention that driving for the sake of driving is also a thing that Icelanders do. Like going for a stroll... in a car. I did a bit of that. Cultural experience really.

As the days went on I became increasingly sleep deprived. This would have been due to the fact that I didn't see any night time for about a month as well as the fact that I got home late most nights. In spite of this, I still found the prolonged daylight to be quite beautiful in the sense that there was always some source of natural light as opposed to the depressing the depressing orange glare of a street lamp. While the 24/7 daylight may have meant no typically associated northern lights, still it meant later nights out in what is already a super safe city.

What I was maybe most struck by was the size of the place. I had been told already that Iceland had tiny population but I hadn't really given much thought to that. To me Reykjavik seems more of town but I liked that about it. To me it felt more chilled in comparison to London and also way easier to navigate. It was beautiful too. With much of the city centre situated on a hill there were often sea views overlooking mountains too and hundreds of varied in colour, corrugated iron houses. It's not really like any where else I've been. 

Fundamentally, I've learnt from this trip that people here are abnormally well-dressed and photogenic and that Iceland is bloody fantastic. Go.

(4 trips to the camera shop, 2 rolls of film and 1 disposable camera later):

Secret Solstice:
Anouk being a qt. We share the same birthday btw. Just thought everyone should know.

Schoolboy Q when my toe got stepped on real hard.

Bedroom window.

1am walk.

I also had the pleasure of going to Úlfur and Rebekka's wedding. Úlfur is the son of my mum's close friend so I have known him since forever. One of my few memories of my last time in Iceland is 5 year old me trying to wrestle my prettiest dress onto 11 year-old Úlfur. Unsurprisingly, I was unsuccessful but it was hilarious none-the-less. It was so nice to see him get married and also meet his new wife Rebekka and 1 year old daughter! The ceremony was all in Icelandic yet I was still pinching myself trying not to cry.

Another photo from the wedding.

When I bumped into Bjork on her way home from work.

 Ari. My fav little kid. It was so fun looking after this guy and also such a good way to keep myself both busy in useful at a time of day when I may otherwise not have been doing much at all.


The Icelandic countryside is somethin' else.

Violin-maker's studio

Artist at work

Bye we no longer have a functioning car and are spontaneously venturing into the countryside in our sheer determination to make it to the party.

 Dried rotting fish. My nose shall never smell again.

"It doesn't smell that bad."

Last night in Reykjavik.

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