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Springtime in Reykjavik, with Pretty Blooms and Hints of Blue Skies

(This post is published solely on If you've found it reposted without permission on a click-bait blog with any other title or a URL that doesn't include the words IcelandEyes, please do yourself a favor and visit the original Iceland Eyes website instead:)

I'm reposting a retro Iceland Eyes photo from 2009. 

I really enjoy this shot, and felt lucky to have gotten it when the daffodils were just beginning to wilt after their early spring bloom. That meant that they didn't look so tall and wonderful anymore from a distance but instead drooped from their box at the top of a flight of stairs, seeming to smile a last bit sunshine down towards me as I got up close.  

I'm also glad I got a shot of this iconic large old wood and corrugated-iron house, probably built
around the turn of the last century and located just at the top of Frakkastígur ("Frenchman's Lane," named after the hospital built by the French for their seamen.)

If you're a sucker for history and maps like me, you'll enjoy this report which highlights the history of the block this house is on. It's one of a series commissioned by the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland, and is a detailed, fascinating glimpse into the development of Reykjavik and other regions around the country. Another fun website (if you're a cartography nerd like me) is Borgarvefsjá, an interactive map of Reykjavik with all sorts of options under the Opna valglugga button at top left.  

(An aside: The text and sites I linked to are in Icelandic, but don't let that stop you! For the websites, if you're using Chrome on a desktop just right-click on the text and select "Translate to English." For pdf's you'll have to copy/paste the text into Google Translate. It won't be perfect, but what is in this world? And considering that Icelandic is so rare, it's a miracle that Google offers it at all. Actually Google started having work done on translating between English and Icelandic as early as 2000. Why? Not sure, but I know the woman who was doing it for them out in Mountain View. Now there's no excuse not to get your Icelandic on!)

I'm sure many if not all of you who've come here have walked past this house on your meanders through Reykjavík. It's just around the corner from where we live, and for as long as I remember it's been in this lovely, yellow, weathered dress. Even Google Maps shows it that way. Finally, though, the owners had to change the cladding, switching out old yellow for new plain grey. Maybe they'll paint it again, but corrugated iron needs to weather for a few years before it's coated with color, so for now it is as it is. 

Anyway, the text for the original post was written when we were just beginning to feel some hope that we'd survive as a nation, post-crash. So much has happened in the meantime that the sentiments I expressed back then seem a little naive, especially as our path seems to be leading us eerily closer to where we were ten years ago. 

There's a phrase here, which came about after the global financial collapse, where we say that something is "so 2007" - as in it's ridiculous, expensive, gaudy, consumerist, short-sighted, elitist and greedy.  I think we can all agree that the consequences of our góðæri (boom, or "good times") were barely worth the risk. I certainly hope this time we can manage to avoid the profit/græðgi-trap and cool our heels, keeping our hearts warm and compassionate so that we can one day really create the egalitarian society we so hope to be...

From 2009: Springtime in Reykjavik, with pretty blooms and hints of blue skies, is finally here after our long winter of discontent.

New life is pulsing, quickening, in the warming earth and in our hearts. Elections have brought hope to many that our little island nation will survive our recent disgrace and grow again, if ever so humbly. We can't escape our pasts but are forced instead to review missteps, misdeeds, selfish living and a collective disconnect from the land we live on. But Nature, in her wisdom, always grants a new spring, a new chance to plant and nurture, sow and reap. The lessons never go away. They are revisited on us until we get them right, until we learn to cherish, selflessly, all that truly matters in our lives. What we run from comes back to us in ways we never imagined, offering new chances to bloom, and to grow.

In closing, I'd like to wish everyone around the world gleðileg vor! (happy spring!), from our home to yours 🌺 


Jono said...

A lovely sign of spring! Sometimes I will dance out in my pastures so that only the horses see me. Anyone else would think I was nuts, but the horses are so non-judgemental. At least that's what they tell me.
I love maps and using them with my memories and imagination.

DiaKL said...

Beautiful shot, Spring must be a really nice time to visit Iceland :)