Up and down

When we lived in Reykjavík last year we didn’t have much of a winter, it just didn’t want to get very cold so that resulted in very little snow. Up in the north on the other hand winter came as early as September with snow and cold weather.

So when we moved to Akureyri I was expecting a “real” winter with cold weather and loads and loads of snow! It has snowed quite a lot here, but for some reason the temperature keeps going up and down. This week we’ve had days when it’s been very cold and then days like today when it’s 6-7°C outside. I can’t seem to get used to this, having it cold one day and warm the other, it’s just so weird and at times uncomfortable. At home we keep turning up and down our radiators, as the weather shifts.

So this isn’t really what I was expecting when I moved here. I wanted winter to come in October-November something, with snow and cold-ish. But the snow keeps falling only to melt away again a few days later. Some days the ground is just covered in ice, like this morning when I almost needed skates to get to and from the car.

But winter here isn’t all bad, we do have days which are just perfect!

View from Vaðlaheiði

View from Vaðlaheiði, isn’t it beautiful?

Sunset at Vaðlaheiði

Sunset at Vaðlaheiði

I’m the Grinch

Winter is here and soon so is Christmas. For me this will be the first Christmas I spend in Iceland, so I’m looking forward to it! Icelanders are kind of famous for loving Christmas. They put up a LOT of lights and decorations and they start a bit too early for my taste. Since it’s a bit dark during the winter I do enjoy lights and all that, but I still feel like they start a bit too early. It’s only the middle of November now and still there are quite a few which have put up their lights. Why does Christmas preparations have to start so early? Are they afraid they won’t make it in time? I don’t want to start putting up light and other decorations until the beginning of December, or I might get tired of it before Christmas is even here. So this year I’m a bit of a Grinch 😉 Or maybe I’m always a bit of a Grinch, I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Christmas, but at the same time I think people make too much out of it. they start earlier and earlier for every year. I mean the stores start selling Christmas things as early as middle of October. But I guess I just need to get used to it. I mean there are a lot of good things too about it. One good thing about everybody putting up lights is of course that it’s less dark, and that’s always a good thing. Since we have snow now it does feel a little bit like Christmas is on it’s way 😉

At Dimmuborgir the Icelandic Yule lads have started to come out and greet the tourist. I think this is a very nice tradition. But since they’re not suppose to come until 13 days before Christmas, I think it’s a little early to start showing up at Dimmuborgir now. But I will for sure go visit them in a few weeks or so, since I’ve never seen them before.

Icelandic Yule lad Gáttaþefur

Icelandic Yule lad Gáttaþefur

World’s Must See Churches

The church “Hallgrímskirkja” in Reykjavík is on the Buzz Feed Travels list of “The 11 Unusual Churches You Have to See Before You go to Heaven”.

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík

Hallgrímskirkja is a very special church and I quite like it, except for the interior. On the inside the church is much to plain for my taste. I love old churches with the coloured glass windows and all that. Even if I’m not a religious person I still have a thing for churches. They are often very beautiful and special buildings, and like in Reykjavík it’s a “monument” for the city. It’s like a navigation point in the city 😉 The church is tallest building in Reykjavík. It’s suppose to resemble flowing lava from a volcano. One of my favourite things about Hallgrímskirkja is the fact that you can go up in the tower and from there you have an amazing panorama view over the city.

On the “World’s Must See Churches” list were many very special and beautiful churches, some of them I would love to go see. For example the number 9 on the list “Church of St. Jean (12th Century) — Aubeterre sur Dronne, France”. That one looks like something very special and I hope I will get to see it some day.

Here you can find the whole list of World’s Must See Churches.

Old houses

Since I have a great interest in architecture I find it quite interesting, that just 100 years ago half the population here in Iceland were still living in turf houses. To me this feels very old fashion, but it all makes sense in a way. Since there isn’t much wood here it’s of course been hard for Icelanders to find a different way of building. And also the turf houses were working, so why change?

Old turf houses at Baugasel

Old turf houses at Baugasel

In the 1960:s there were almost no one living in turf houses any more and many of these old houses disappeared. Icelanders had by then realized how old fashion this was, and most people wanted to live more comfortably. But it’s a huge shame that there are so few of these houses left, since they hold so much history and not just for Icelanders but for all of us.

The turf houses at Laufás are really nice and very interesting for me, so I didn't mind going here a few times during the summer.

The turf houses at Laufás are really nice and very interesting to me

Luckily there are a few of the old turf houses that has been preserved and some of them are now being used as museums. I personally love these houses, they are so smartly built and the often look really cool 🙂 So I’m very happy that there are still some left, and that there are some very close to where we live. My favourite ones are probably the ones at Laufás, they are in a very good state still so you get the feeling of being transported back in time. The ones at Baugasel are also nice, but there some of the houses are gone and there’s just the foundation left and it’s being taken over by the vegetation. But still I find them very fascinating.

 

Is it worth it, part II

Last week I wrote about that it will cost a fee to visit some of the more popular nature sites here in Iceland. According to a survey done by the news paper “Fréttablaðið” and the TV station “Stöð 2”, 70% of the Icelandic people support the fee. That’s a much higher number then I was expecting. The survey also showed that more men than women are for it.

I'm guessing Þingvellir will be one of the places that will have an admission fee.

I’m guessing beautiful Þingvellir will be one of the places that will have an admission fee.

The minister of tourism wants there to be a so called “nature pass”, which is a much better idea then to have to pay an admission at the “gates” of the selected destinations. This will all be decided before next summer. So if you’re a tourist you will have to remember to buy one of these nature passes before you go out exploring the Icelandic nature!

The cold makes it beautiful

This morning when I was going to work it was -8.6 °C. Needless to say that it was pretty chilly. We even had to scrape the inside of the windows in the car, and that’s not something you do every day. When I say “we” I of course mean Doddi 😉 If I had to help with that I would have been late for work. I’m not a morning person so waking up early is not something I enjoy. Therefore I wake up so I have just enough time for my morning routines and then be at work at 8.00. Most days I make it, but during the winter time when you have to scrape windows it does happen that I’m a bit late, like most people I work with 😉 Then it’s good to have Doddi who drives me to work, when the roads are slippery like today or when there’s too much snow on the roads.

But the cold morning did give us something nice, it gave a very beautiful sunrise! Looking at a lovely sunrise like this one almost makes you forget how cold it really is 😉

sunrise 2sunrise 1