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In Reykjavik, I stayed at the Icelandair Reykjavik Hotel Natura. It is not conveniently located*, but it did the job, and they always had skyr in the hotel lobby fridge.**
On their site, they go on at length about art in the hotel and the room’s unique themes. The hotel art mostly succeeded in making me do double-takes as I walked through the lobby, thinking that some kind of pale angular tourist was staring at me.
My room was sky-themed. This didn’t really extend beyond the sign on the door. Instead, this was the lone piece of art in the room, hanging over the beds.
The first night I was there, I saw an exhibit of the artist’s paintings. Tragically, this was not part of the collection.
Let’s take a closer look.
This painting was directly over where I slept. Let’s check that out.
I didn’t deliberately book the celibacy special, and yet. It’s like they knew I was a socially awkward person traveling alone! Good service is when a hotel is able to predict your needs before you can. So… thanks.
One last thing:
*”Not conveniently located” is what happens when you frantically book a package to Iceland when you’re still mired in post-Paris travel hangover. Eh, it was a 25-minute walk to downtown, and I like walking. Whatevs.
**Skyr is fairly close to Greek yogurt. The R is said in a way close to French – in the back of the mouth, beautiful and nearly impossible for me to say.
Laugavegur, the busiest shopping street of Reykjavik, is full-full-full of public art. Driveways lined with murals, walls splashed with painted patterns, mosaics and painted shop walls and clever knitting and just WOW. Like I said a couple days ago: 891 pictures. Only like a hundred of those are the Northern Lights, and then another couple hundred are of mountains and geysers and Thingvellir and things like that. But a majority of them? Art of Reykjavik, which really should be a sister city to Seattle.
So the delight above was captured about halfway down Laugavegur. I took this picture my first day there, after I took a magical late-morning nap that erased any would-be jet lag. I ate a lot of so-so veggie sandwiches there*, and I was on my way to my first one, which I would eat in a coffee shop atop a gift shop that overlooked the city’s busiest square. I was hungry and still a little sleepy and wondering if I was going to get into this whole traveling by yourself thing, which I’d done almost none of before this trip.
Then I saw this adorable thing, which clearly evolved over time – maybe a single glove on that fence, and then a couple, and then a few, and then that sign, and then even more. And I realized… this was going to work out just fine.
A couple days later, I saw the rural version of this.
This is what happens when you try to find love in less populated places. This is at the edge of the parking lot in front of Sólheimajökull glacier. Your odds are just better when you go to the denser spots, good sir glove.
Or, you know, you could get the internet involved.
*But no hakarl, dammit, due to a badly timed sour belly.
I’m slowly making my way through all 891 (!) pictures I took in Reykjavik. Here’s an early favorite. Overall, I found the city so much more Seattlely than I expected. One way was the color palette – the houses were often the muted blues, greens, and greys you get in neighborhoods here. But then there was this one, the wasabi house. That is where I would live.
Well, one of the many places. I’ll show you more later.
I think I’m going to New York in April (whee!). Thus, I shall be clipping and saving this.
Did yesterday feel like a bit of a letdown for you? Did you find yourself turning corners and looking into the sky, waiting to see something bigger, brighter, more… apocalyptic? There are reasons for that.
Excuse me, I seem to have swooned. One moment.
The dream of the 90s is… aches and pains, physical adaptations to our degrading bodies, time traveling through sets of friends, and being far from the active core of people who make the world run.
It’s easy to spin your wheels. It’s a lot harder to actually DO something. Be Less Crazy explores getting ready to get ready, this strange circling state between intending and doing – and how long it can actually be.
And I’ll leave you with a little exploring. From Messy Nessy Chic, London’s secret underground veg farm and some achingly beautiful hotel luggage labels of decades past. (This last one allllllmost sent me into an eBay k-hole, but I resisted.) And from Untapped Cities, another exploration of a secret club (because New York is lousy with them). In this installment, we explore the Grolier Club, a swank off-limits space dedicated to the book arts.