11 Feb

Keen Spring


See those gorgeous Magnolias, blooming since early February in Primrose Hill. Meteorological spring doesn’t begin until the 1st of March, but they don’t care. Those pink flowers are a sight for sore eyes and make me happy. Like the Magnolias, I can’t wait for the lovely spring to come with its pastel colours and lovely scent. It’s my favourite time of the year in London.

Late February days; and now, at last, 

Might you have thought that 

Winter’s woe was past; 

So fair the sky was and so soft the air.

–  William Morris

30 Jul

BriBry do Iceland!

Bri and Candice are a young Irish couple visiting every country in the world. Iceland was the fortieth country they travelled to. This video they made is funny and spot on. I specially like it when they imitate the Blue Lagoon introduction video.

The Youtube ad revenue from this channel goes to an Irish cancer charity called The Ross Nugent Foundation.

15 Jul

Drink the tap water

Photo: Hörður JónassonMore guests are visiting Iceland than ever before. When you walk around central Reykjavík during the summertime  you hardly hear an Icelandic word. Each time I visit my homeland ten new hotels have been built and there are far too many ‘puffin shops’ downtown already. That’s what the locals call the tourist shops due to the popularity of the puffin as a souvenir.

Lonely Planet has published an article with 14 dos and don’ts when visiting Iceland. It’s pretty good and most of it is useful. You definitely should drink the tap water, wash properly with soap before taking a dip, stick to appropriate roads and take the weather seriously.

Generalisations about the nation always make me smile. Don’t take it seriously although there may be a grain of truth in it.

‘Icelanders are a generally hardy and open-minded group with a dry but vibrant sense of humour. They tend to speak impeccable English, and are game for a chat, or to tell you about their favourite places to go. Respecting local etiquette and laws (along with not whingeing about the weather, or how hard it is to get to the natural wonders) will go a long way in endearing you to them, and open opportunities for local connections.’



02 Jul

Strange days

11415470_10205826143266849_1252669487698795569_oThe internet didn’t melt away yesterday, nor did I. However, roads melted as the mercury clocked 36.7C, the highest in July since records began in the mid 1870s. The hotspot was Heathrow. Very fitting.

This has been a sad and strange week over here. In the sweltering heat yesterday the first bodies of the victims killed by a gunman in Friday’s beach attack in Tunisia were flown back to the UK.  Most of the victims were from here; it hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s likely that 30 of 38 victims were British.

It has been agonising to listen to the survivors speak about their ordeal. It brings back memories of the 2011 Norway attacks when Anders Breivik killed 77 people. Like then, people under attack in Tunisia tried to play dead as the gunman passed and many of them were calling home from hideaways to say goodbyes to their loved ones.   At the same time it’s moving to hear how people would selflessly put them self in danger while helping the injured and some even died protecting those they loved.

All of this is affecting the nation even more due to the fact that next week marks the 10 year anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attack. The stories from those who survived back then blend in with the stories from last Friday.

Meanwhile, news from Iceland about earthquakes and a possible volcano eruption near Reykjavik are scaring the living daylights out of me. For some reason news like that affect me more when I’m over here than when I lived in Iceland.

I guess all we can do is try to enjoy each day, each moment. One never knows.

25 Jun

‘Window weather’

11125322_10205854269889997_4702796378802884821_oI’m standing by the window and it’s a beautiful sunny day in Hampstead. I’m pretty sure it’s warm outside. Back home in Iceland, I would hope it was not just another day of “gluggaveður” which literally means ‘window-weather’. It’s when the weather seems great, when you’re looking through a window from inside, but is actually cold and not so great when you step out without a jacket.

In Iceland Magazine you can read about 10 words and phrases in Icelandic that don’t exist in English. At least not with the exact same meaning.

The article got so popular that now there is another one with more Icelandic words and phrases. My favourite is probably ‘hundslappadrífa’, but what I’ve most often missed not having here are English words for ‘sólarhringur’ and ‘mæðgur/feðgar’. Check it out!

29 May

Bad weather… really?

Mývatnssveit.This morning my neighbour moaned about the weather. The spring has been so different from last year and even the year before, he complained. He went on about how cold and windy it was and said he couldn’t wait for the summer, although he was beginning to think it would never turn up.

I’ve heard so many talk like this during the last weeks and usually I just bite my tongue so I don’t compare the spring over here to snowy Iceland. But this morning I couldn’t resist showing him a photo from Iceland on my mobile. June is almost here, but it’s still snowing from time to time and really cold everywhere.  It’s the coldest May in Iceland since 1979 and the third coldest since 1949 as you can read about in this article.  My neighbour smiled and told me he was slightly happier now with going for a walk in the rain.

I’m constantly happy with the weather here in the UK. But everything is relative. I can imagine how a person from Greenland feels when she hears an Icelander moan about the weather in Iceland.