There used to be a bench here at the intersection of Óðinsgata, Baldursgata and Nönnugata. As in yesterday there was a bench here, but now its gone.
The bench was always kind of odd because it raked slightly downhill which made you slip while you sat. It wasn't a very popular bench, but it gave you the feeling that this wide intersection had once been, or should be, a gathering spot of sorts. As a matter of fact, up until just a few years ago a popular neighborhood shop called Maggabúð had a home behind the two farther windows shown in the photo. I used to go buy milk for my amma at Maggabúð when we came to Iceland for visits when I was little and I know my mother and father, who were both raised within yards of this corner, have their own memories of the different businesses that used to flourish at this intersection including, I believe, a licorice factory. This used to be a thriving location, a gathering spot of sorts for the wider residential neighborhood. Now every one of the old store fronts has been turned into an apartment and we drive to supermarkets to do our shopping. A shame. Only one local specialty store has survived, aside from the very popular Þrír Frakkar restaurant, and that's the fish market on Freyjugata at Óðinsgata, owned and operated for years by a dedicated couple, of whom the husband happens to be my cousin. Oh, and right next door to them is the Venus sex shop, but that doesn't count somehow.
No, this bench wasn't very often used, and in the fall leaves would gather at its feet to rot over the winter. But there were a few old timers who sat there nearly every day, who met at the bench to chat and to watch the activities of the neighborhood take place around them, the children skipping and laughing, the tourists wandering by wtih their maps, well-dressed surburbians drive up for lunch or early dinner at Þrír Frakkar across the street.
It seems like, with this bench gone, an era is finally ending.
Posted by Iceland Eyes on September 16, 2005