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Reykjavík, day five

August 29th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Back in town after waking up rather late. Hildigunnur invited me to her house to dine with her husband, Jón Lárus Stefánsson, so yesterday I went there and was served Tagliatelle Bolognese (the real one from Bologna, not the common restaurant one, she underlined) and wine (starting with very good chianti, ending with a brilliant French one (don’t remember its name). Good food and good wine and very good company – a night to remember. Now, having eaten a very late breakfast (egg and bacon and bread and caffé latte – the Prikið folks know how to make a good caffé latte), I’ll be heading down to the weekend marked Kolaportið held on weekends to see if I can find some more harðfiskur and perhaps some hákarl.

Íslendinga sögurBack at the hotel after being to Kolaportið, I’m still amazed by the place. It’s a true mess, somehow like the bookshop I mentioned the other day, but this place has everything. Second hand clothing, books, toys, junk, more junk, fresh fish, harðfiskur. I didn’t find any hákarl, but I’ll walk by tomorrow if they’re open. I bought a bunch of dried steinbítur – seawolf and some other types, a some old postcards for my colleague Alice (she collects them) and a three-volume collection Icelandic sagas, way more than the old ones I have back home. Seems I’ll be needing another course in Icelandic to get through them, but anyway, they look good, which is half the fun. This market really doesn’t fit into the western Europe as I know it, but then, neither does Reykjavík, so I guess it’s about the same. So, now, with enough dried fish to feed a small family and sufficient enough to scare half of western (read posh) Oslo’s population, I guess it’s time to stop blogging and get out in the sun while it’s still up. Yr.no reports 1o-ish degrees and a fresh breeze of 9m/s.

Oh, by the way, last night I saw some TOURISTS dressed like it was December or January, wearing thick winter jackets and gloves. And it wasn’t one or two, it was like a travelling group. It was windy and perhaps 5-6 degrees, but I’d love to see those tourists up here when the winter comes around for real. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera up then – it really was hilarious. I guess you must be from the southern US or something to dress up like that.

A small note should be given about the “open” Internet hotspots in Iceland. The ones hosted by Vodafone are open only for certain types of traffic, like HTTP, IMAP, POP-3 etc, and the traffic seems to be proxied through hotspot.vodafone.is,, meaning all traffic is probably logged somewhere. Traffic to typical proxy ports like 8080, 3128 etc is blocked. For those out there that dislike others reading your email, I’d recommend tunneling traffic through ssh or using other encrypted links like SSL or TLS. Don’t trust governments or Internet companies, even in small countries full of honest people.

Another thing needs to be said. Reykjavík, in my opinion, is certainly to be named a city. Not by its size, 120 000 inhabitants or 200 000 in the greater Reykjavík, but for its cultural income. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, once said that Tromsø is Norway’s smallest storby, literally “big town” in Norwegian, but meaning city. Tromsø, with its 65 000 inhabitants should hardly be regarded as a city by international standards, but because of its cultural importance and perhaps just the feel of the place. So long that the same rules apply to Reykjavík, it’s definitely a city. (Perhaps not the most important of blog texts, but I just wanted to say it…)

See the gallery below for some pictures from the market.

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  1. gamlingen
    August 29th, 2009 at 17:56 | #1

    Bror min var ein og annan tur til Island, tok naud-hamn der når veret vart trugande. Og han meinte at ei blanding av eldre nynorsk og vestlands-mål var det som skulle til for å kunne fara omkring på øya og halda seg med både mat og drykk. Har du prøvd det?

  2. August 29th, 2009 at 18:38 | #2

    Det kan hende det kan funke, men jeg kan ikke den dialekta. Gammelnorsk – http://kurl.no/nwQf – er svært nært islandsk, og islandsk kan jeg jo litt av. Jeg vil tro grunnen til at han kunne ta seg fram så greit på norsk, var at man fremdeles lærer dansk på skolen på tross av at det er 65 år siden de ble selvstendige.

  3. August 29th, 2009 at 19:30 | #3

    vi skal jo lære et nordisk sprog, der er så mange som studerer i Norden, dansk er vel det nemmeste – og desuden ville det være vældig dyrt at skifte sprog. De fleste af os er ikke særlig gode til dansk udtale, så det lyder som en slags mellemnordisk noget når vi snakker dansk 😀

  4. August 29th, 2009 at 19:32 | #4

    (and it was actually Tagliatelle bolognese, not spaghetti… 😛 )

    hmm, á hvaða máli á ég annars eiginlega að kommenta hér?

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